A few weeks ago, Brenna Barks took us on a lovely virtual tour of the 2011 Nordic Fashion Biennale at the Nordic Heritage Museum in Seattle, Washington. Ever since, I’ve been dreaming of the gorgeous knitwear and researching contemporary Nordic designers. This has been easy since the Nordic Fashion Biennale has a Facebook page, and “likes” many designers.
The museum and Biennale wanted to generate interest in Nordic fashion, but also to engage emerging designers on the West Coast. To do this, they held The North by Northwest (Nx NW) design competition. The challenge was to be inspired by Nordic design, and create a wearable garment or accessory.
The winners were announced today. Sarah Borruso, a native of San Francisco, won the juried section of the competition. Borruso studied fashion at Parsons School of Design. She currently lives and works in San Francisco, where she launched her own women’s clothing line, Stars + Ravens.
Each contestant was asked to describe how their entry was inspired by Nordic design. Borruso wrote, “This three-layered silk dress was inspired by a textile design called Play of Lines by the Finnish designer Dora Jung. Her textile—which won the Grand Prix at the 11th Trienniale in Milan in 1957—literally inspired me to “play with lines.” While Jung’s piece played with black and white lines on the warp and weft of her loom, my piece involved cutting lines free from cloth. The ultimate effect is a bit of an optical illusion—razor-cut transparent black lines overlap and intersect to create various shades of grey, grey-green, black and turquoise on the surface of the dress.”
The winner of the People’s Choice Award was Meg Lord. She created the Felt Jacket of un-dyed merino wool, which she hand-felted. Lord, who is based in Portland, Oregon, is a senior studying Apparel Design at the Art Institute of Portland. Lord wrote, “This garment was inspired by the Oseberg and Gokstad Viking ships. The craftsmanship is inspiring not only for the wood carvings on the front keel but for the beautiful overlapping oak shell that curves around the frame and comes to a point at the stern and bow. I incorporated the strips of felt to curve around the body and arms in the same fashion. The use of wool and felting has a very strong history in Nordic culture and with wool being a renewable resource; it is immensely versatile and sustainable.”
Borruso and Lord each won an all-expense-paid trip to Reykjavik, Iceland for the 2012 Reykjavik Fashion Week. For more information on the contest, please visit www.nordicfashionbiennale.comGHTime Code(s): nc