The DesignMarch festival that took place at the end of March was a glorious feast of inspiration. One month later, all the images, sights and sounds from those busy few days in Iceland are still whirling around, and the realisation has set in that the true impact of this experience will take time to galvanize.

Coinciding with the Reykjavik Fashion Festival, DesignMarch put fashion high on the agenda during the event, and it is also the main focus of this recollection – along with textiles and talismans. Featuring highly in the fashion world also were creative collaborations, which was something that was picked up on in my initial review of DesignMarch (see here).

Design collectives incorporated pieces into their exhibitions in the finest of manners (OrriFinn x Muses), jewellery designers created exclusive pieces for catwalk shows (Fiona Cribben x Sigga Maija), and students worked with designers to create printed textiles to use with Aurum's jewellery items. Inspiration came from nature (stingrays, beatles) and incorporated natural materials (found pieces of reindeer horn).

One of the very first official events of DesignMarch was the fashion project Muses, which was a static exhibition curated by a fashion designer with an artistic vision (Magnea Einarsdóttir) who was not showing work in the exhibition but did have a catwalk show a few days later (see below). It was at the Muses event that I realised black was the colour everyone was wearing in Reykjavik (as I stood out in my colourful knitwear), and it was also where I bumped into a few people I had written about but not met before (Ingimar Einarsson and Þórunn Árnadóttir). The festival had started in a means by which it would go on, as happy discoveries were made and awe-inspiring people were met, left, right and centre. Mark the dates for next year already – missing this design festival is one fashion faux pas you do not want to make!


My fashionable recollections include:

-Muses: A total of 18 artists participated in the exhibition at Kex Hostel orchestrated by the Icelandic Association of Fashion Designers exploring the ways in which fashion/accessory designers’ and musicians’ work influences each other. Alongside the final pieces that came out of these unique collaborations, visitors could listen to selected tracks from the participating musicians.

-OrriFinn, the jewellery designers Orri Finnson and Helga G. Friðriksdóttir, participated in the Muses project and they teamed up with the musician Fura. The design duo displayed their collections Ziska and Scarab, which draws its name from an ancient Egyptian talisman (and was officially launched during an amazing performance later in the week).

-Magnea Einarsdóttir creates knitwear like you've never seen before. Having finished her design studies at Central Saint Martins in London 2012, with an emphasis on knit, she creates delicate, handmade garments made from unique textiles that are a combination of wool and rubber.

-Fiona Cribben brings back to life found pieces of reindeer bone and whale teeth and incorporates them into edgy accessories. For Reyjkavik Fashion Week, she was specially-commissioned to create bracelets for designer Sigga Maija.

-You can't go to Reykjavik and not see the traditional Icelandic lopi jumper. This is very true. Would you expect to see it being adorned by a contemporary piece of furniture though? Tindur (which translates to 'summit') is that very chair, designed by Birkir S. Einarsson, and I discovered it on display at Harpa as part of the Made In Furniture exhibition.

-Aurum in Textile: Students at the Reykjavik School of Visual Arts exhibited their collaboration projects with Aurum and Textílprentun Íslands. The disitally-printed textiles were developed with Aurum‘s jewellery pieces in mind under the supervision of designers Þórunn Árnadóttir, Sigrún Halla Unnarsdóttir and Andrea Fanney Jónsdóttir.


DesignMarch next year will take place on 12–15 March. More stories from this year's event can be seen here and here.

Photos courtesy of Iceland Design Centre.