Layers of wool, knitted corsets, and advanced, sculptural dresses: This is how foreign design students have interpreted Norwegian fashion through history. ESMOD Fashion School in Oslo has recently collected the best knitted artworks in the exhibition Norwegian Spirit.
Over 1000 students from Japan, Brazil, France and several other countries participated in the competition, which is a collaboration between ESMOD in Oslo, Norwegian Museum of Cultural History (Norsk Folkemuseum) and wool producer Dale of Norway. They studied Norwegian history and culture, and created a product made from wool yarn.
Each school named a winner, and the winning garments are now on display at the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History in Oslo.
– The main goal is to create something extravagant and spectacular rather than making garments for everyday use, says headmaster of ESMOD in Oslo, Geir Nordli.
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Norwegian Spirit is Nordli’s concept. The idea is to inspire both Norwegian and foreign designers, but also to promote Norway in a modern and alternative way. He aims to show that Norwegian cultural history is more than just Vikings and trolls.
The selected garments contain fashion elements close to international haute couture – and perhaps we will see some of them on the red carpet.
– I think Lady Gaga would love this one, says Nordli, while pointing at the exhibition’s centerpiece – a dress made up of hundreds of knitted pieces sewn together and a square hat. It kind of resembles a knitted alien.
More casual garments are also presented in the exhibition.
– All the products have very high quality. They have impressive details, and it is exciting to see our own traditions from another perspective. Maybe we are a little blind, and that we ignore the potential of our own heritage, Nordli says.
Students who participated in the Norwegian Spirit contest had access to the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History’s digital library containing over 30,000 old photos, and information from Dale yarn factory located in western Norway. Since 1879, Dale has maintained, developed and produced a significant number of high quality knitting designs. Dale has also donated the yarn to this competition.
– Wool is a material with many great qualities. Fashion designers who use their own roots and traditions create a unique expression, and those who have received international acknowledge have all been inspired by Norwegian tradition, for example Per Spook, Moods of Norway, Arne and Carlos and Peter Dundas, says Nordli.
The exhibition Norwegian Spirit will be on display at the Norwegian Folk Museum until 15 August.
Text modified by: Anette Broteng Christiansen, ThorNews
Photos: Norsk Folkemuseum