There’s a reason that a tiny volcanic island at the edge of the Arctic Circle has produced some mesmerizingly original minds, whether in music (Björk, Sigur Rós), art (Steinunn Thórarinsdóttir), or even food (Siggi’s Skyr). Cloaked in darkness and frigidity for half the year, it’s as if creativity shields Icelanders from their harsh but beautiful home.
Launched in Reykjavík in 2011, the dark, minimalist, leather-heavy womenswear of Kalda represents a bit of a departure from typical Icelandic lines. No patterned woolen sweaters here, just simplicity and a few well-placed details. “I’ve always been attracted to opposites in life,” explains designer Katrin Alda about her process. A black lambskin motorcycle jacket from Spring 2014 sold out almost immediately.
Now operating out of London, the line is sold at the posh Liberty department store and may expand to include fifteen stockists next year. But Iceland’s independent spirit is always a source of inspiration. “Being so isolated from everything is great, for the fact that we don’t depend on other people’s approval, but create our own set of rules,” explains Alda. “The bad thing about it is that it might make us less prepared for the fight in the global market.” But win or lose, their style offers a serious smackdown.
Kalda is available at Liberty, London. For more information, please visit Kalda.com. Photography by Silja Magg.
Elisa Mala is a New York-based writer who has reported from over twenty-four countries for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Associated Press, T, Monocle, Rolling Stone Bulgaria, and others.