I remember a very special day three years ago. My mother and I went to our local folkcostume maker to get a fitted laskatrøye for my Fanabunad. Whilst being there I asked her; does the bunad fabrics originate from Norway? Yes she said – that’s why it’s so expensive! Norwegian textiles, and norwegian production. My mind started racing. Norwegians are very proud of their bunad, but only use it like once or twice per year for weddings or christening and such. Why isn’t there a way to communicate all the rich cultural inheritance in the bunad through clothes one can wear every day – or out partying? I found that I’d like somehow to wear my identity more often, and make a conscious choice to support the norwegian textile industry and production.
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I figured it was best to start learning more about our cultural inheritance before I proceeded any further. First I was mesmerized by the Brystduk collection at Hordamuseet. They had gathered ancient pieces of cloth from different bunads, and some of them actually looked like they were made in the 70’s. When actually created in the 18oo’s. Wow! The interesting thing about this exhibition is that the bunad and brystduk pieces they were showing, the people who owned them had made them from different textiles. I learned that craft techniques were also quite different from area to area, and I enjoyed the idea that different cities had different ideals of beauty. Today the bunad is very standardized and based on a set of rules – what goes with what and so on. What I learned from the exhibition was that people make their own very cool things, and they’ve done it since the dawn of time. I also learned about the trend setter Hulda Garborg and her own customization of the bunad.
After sorting all of the new impressions from this exhibition I met Stine Berg – a superduper talented graphic designer who I’d worked with earlier – during my Kaibosh days. From my experience a brand is nothing without a solid brand identity and the graphic design to communicate it, Stine was a perfect match! A few months later, after thorough research we were so lucky to meet fashion designer Viktoria Aksnes very randomly! I saw her sister Aurora on TV in the most wonderful two piece, and I thought – I really need to talk to her! Through a friend I connected with Viktora, and she’s been an invaluable part of the company since with her exquisite design and sewing skills.
As we progressed together I signed up for a brilliant course at VKA with textile chemist & professor Lise Finne from KHiB. At the course I learned about all the ancient norwegian and also international craft techniques. We also dyed with plants in the summer at Voss – it was lovely. We had visitors regularly, like Siri Benjaminsen who does smøyg – and a very fun spinning class! This knowledge truly was invaluable to me, it allowed me to locate contributors who where experts in their field!
Then, the rest is history! On the 10th of march 2017 Fårikål launched our very first collection – 7 outfits made exclusively from norwegian materials by norwegian mills Krivi Vev and Gudbrandsdalen Uldvarefabrikk, containing 5 different hand-made craft techniques contributed by Fana, Stord, Fitjar, Bømlo husflidslag and Siri Benjaminsen from Årdal husflidslag doing smøyg technique. The yarn used in smøyg was dyed with Phragmites australis (takrøyr) by @spotahuse. Osterøy Museum made us Varafell sleeves, which is an ancient form of raincoat used by the vikings. The top wool they got from my friend Berit – she is a sheep farmer at Osterøy. Since the wool contains so much lanolin the water is repelled. Last but not least, we’ve had so much fun with Lone Tepper. They’ve been such a joy to work with! The floss sleeves are made of Hillesvåg yarn.
The show was absolutely amazing, Viktorias father Jan and our architect Mathilde built us a runway, bar and pop up interior. Kasper from Ujevnt crafted a unique cocktail called Ulv i Fåreklær just for the show, using Bergens Aquavit from Arcus. Torjus from Landmark made the most mouth watering Fårikål canapeés whilst Eirik Hunnes projected his amazing visual! Fridtjof and Ådne (in my next door studio) created a unique soundtrack for us which I’m still in love with. It kinda made my intestines bounce around – in a good way! Hahaha! Also, our models did a wonderful job, along with Adam & Eva who made their hair pop – and Miranda Aksnes on makeup <3 A big thanks to Aurlandskoen too.
The weekend after the show we had a pop-up shop at Pamflett, situated on the first floor of the building where I have my studio. We sold our only non-norwegian item – the fish leather chokers! The fish leather is from Iceland, and it’s so strong. We’ve also created how-to guides on two of the techniques used in our collection, hedebo and nuperelle. Stine has made the most beautiful design – and the instruction leaflet is riso printed!
We’ve started developing something for commercial production together with Lone Teppeveveri AS. We also have a couple of other things up our sleeves, but for now you can buy made-to-order fish leather chokers and The Fårikål craft kit – Nupereller or Hedebo. Sign up for newsletter at farikal.com to stay in the loop!
Last but not least, a huge thanks to Elin Sander and Bergen Kommune for providing our funding. Couldn’t have done it without you!