Norwegian Knitting Becomes Million Dollar Success

Norwegian Knitting Becomes Million Dollar SuccessArne Nerjordet (left) and Carlos Zachrison was recently in Washington DC to sign their knitting books. (Photo: Cark Alfred Dahl / Aftenposten)

The Norwegian fashion designers Arne & Carlos just signed a long-term agreement with the world’s largest yarn manufacturer Coats. Four tons of yarn were sold before it arrived the stores.

In a shop in the Georgetown neighborhood in Washington DC, two Norwegian men are knitting and signing books. The room is full of yarn in all colors and many women (and a few men) have come to meet their idols.

Arne & Carlos, consisting of Arne Nerjordet and Carlos Zachrison, has become world famous for their traditional yet updated and contemporary knitted products. They have made great success both in Norway and abroad.

Since 1999, design teacher Arne and political scientist Carlos have knitted countless stitches, from Christmas ornaments, to clothes and celebrity dolls.

Success – Except in Norway

While all aspiring fashion icons tried to look like they were French and Italian, the two turned towards Norwegian knitting traditions. It proved to be a wise decision.

– It was a success in fashion stores all over the world – except in Norway. It took four years before Norwegian knitting came to Norway, says Arne Nerjordet to Aftenposten.

– But we were not offended, Carlos Zachrison adds.

In 2010, they published a book about knitted Christmas balls. It sold 60,000 copies in Norway (Editor’s note: Which are incredible numbers in Norway!) the first year. The book was later launched in the US, Germany, France, Netherlands, England, Denmark, Sweden, Iceland, Finland, Spain, Italy, Estonia, Russia, South Korea and Japan.

Taking Back Time

After the very positive reception, Arne & Carlos had planned to take a break from knitting, but the fans did not accept it.

– We could not see the end of it. However, what we saw was that with social media people got an increased need to meet each other because everything happens on Facebook. Now, it is common for yarn shops to arrange knitting cafes and courses. It gives people the opportunity to bring their knitting and sit down to talk with real people. It may explain part of the wave, Carlos says.

– It is not really about knitting, it is a lifestyle about taking back time, Arne states.

Now, the two guys have sold around 500,000 copies of all their books. The Norwegian editions represent about one third.

New Order

The British firm Coats, with a rich heritage dating back to the 1750s, is the world’s leading industrial thread and consumer textile crafts business. Arne & Carlos has recently designed Coats yarn with colors inspired by old Norwegian knitting – and paintings by Edvard Munch. During November and December, they sold four tons of yarn, despite the official launch in February.

– The first collection was so successful that they have already ordered a new one, before the first came in stores. So now, we are heading home to design even more products, Arne and Carlos concludes.

Visit Arne & Carlos’ homepage.


Text modified by: Anette Broteng Christiansen, ThorNews

Categories: Culture, Design, Knitting

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