Nordic fashion gains ground in North America

Scandinavia is making a name for itself in the fashion world abroad with stylish, practical and environmentally-friendly designs, according to The Canadian Press.

Previously unknown labels are beginning to gain popularity abroad as North Americans become more conscious of the environment. Nordic designers have traditionally worked in natural materials, giving their clothing a new appeal.

Ann Watson, fashion director of Nordic designers at Henri Bendel in New York, cited Elise Overland and Phi as two up-and-coming labels. “They have a natural tendency to work with natural materials,” Watson said.

Jen Ford, Lucky magazine’s fashion news director, commented on the unexpected sexiness of Nordic fashion.

“No one thinks about Nordic designers doing a beautiful suit or a great little black dress, but they do,” Fod said. “They do oversized things and asymmetrical hems. You also might find colour blocking or exaggerated buttons – all additions that ramp up the style of warm, practical clothes.”

Designer Overland says that function is a must in Norway, where clothes need strength. She says her childhood ski clothes serve as an inspiration for her designs.

“My cut is very similar with a lot of zippers and buttons,” Overland said. “Even though I ended up working in leather and all those other things, the base is sportswear. If I can’t be comfortable and move and walk in it, there’s no point for me to make it. I wouldn’t put snaps in the back of a dress that I couldn’t open myself.”

Affordable prices also help these labels gain popularity. Because of the weak dollar and cost-cutting tactics by Nordic designers to attract the US market, Americans are finding Scandinavian fashion much more affordable than French or Italian equivalents.

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