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Opinion

”The ’new’ Oslo city makes me proud”

Design company Northern’s Head of PR & Marketing highlights a new innovation for paper-lovers, the best coffee places, where to find the best local fashion, and much more.

My favourite thing that makes me proud of Oslo: 
The ”new” Oslo city! The city has transformed in just a few years now, not only by the look but also the mood. The eager new interest in organic, sustainable, and local food and drinks has led to the birth of several new restaurants, bars, and hangouts. The city frontline harbor has transformed into a new district with new and contemporary architecture. Casual meets business. New meets old. A rare mix that I embrace and makes me proud of my city.

My favourite weekend routine: 
A good brewed coffee Saturday morning in one of Oslo’s many coffee places, such as Tim Wendelboe and Fuglen.

Fuglen

My favourite cultural spot: 
Deichmanske library. This amazing building is located next to the Opera House in Bjørvika in the center of Oslo. I am not so fond of the outside, but when you come inside, you can immerse yourself in all kinds of books and discover the amazing architecture and light together with its interior. Try the fifth floor where you can relax in a lounge with one of the best views in Oslo.

My favourite place for dining out: 
Wow, it’s not one answer here, there are so many nice places in Oslo. I am waiting for a table at The Vandelay, the new restaurant is famous Maaemo’s little sister, so I have big expectations. I love when restaurants use sustainable ingredients and take responsibility for our future, Brutus bar is still a favorite, among others.

Deichmanske library. Photo: Jo Straube

My favourite place for a creative or business meeting: 
Sentralen Kafé is open from early on and offers lots of good things for breakfast. Here you can get a good start to the day, hold a meeting and sit down to work in the spacious café.

My favourite breakfast place: 
Oslo Raw fresh and colourful vegan food or Kumi — also with organic and plant-based food, but with a perfect fusion of Scandinavian and Japanese design.

facebook.com/Sentralenmat

My favourite city escape: 
My hometown Alta, in the far north of Norway. I love the beautiful light — both summer and winter and the landscape, the powerful sea in the coastline — all together make me calm and a perfect city escape.

My favourite local entrepreneur or creative I want to promote: 
Sorgenfri, a new multi-level shop space and concept gallery in Oslo, curating art, design, and culture.

sorgenfri.store

My favourite hotel for a staycation: 
The Thief, a nice view of the Oslofjord, a spa, a comfy bed, and a really nice breakfast.

My favourite route for a run or walk: 
To run the harbour promenade is a great way of exploring Oslo. It’s 9 kilometers long and will take you along all of the city’s seafront from one side of the city to the other.

My favourite place for fashion: 
Take a look at Kvadraturen in the city centre with a lot of nice concept stores and high-end brands. I like to shop for Norwegian design, so stop by Prinsensgate 6 at F5 Concept store.

My favourite space for great design:
— I love Northern.

My favourite example of tech innovation in Oslo: 
Remarkable tablet, which is designed to replace paper. So now you can replace your notebooks and sketches with this tablet that feels like paper — perfect for designers and paper-lovers.

My favourite local media: 
— Dagens Næringsliv’s D2. A nice combination of good and interesting story’s, architecture, design, and fashion every Friday.

My favourite thing at home: 
— My coffee dripper — I love coffee!

Wendelboe

Categories
Opinion

”It has to be long term, and it really helps to be family owned.”

You’re running the company with your sister ­Charlotte who is the lead designer. What are the strengths of a family-owned brand? 

— The biggest strength is the independence. You’re able to take decisions based on what you want for the long term, instead of making some investors happy in the short term. And when you’re building a luxury brand, it has to be long term, and it really helps to be family owned. 

What’s it like to work with your sister?

— The key word in our relationship is respect. We respect each other’s differences. We’re a design driven brand. I think if you ask anybody in the company, many would say that Charlotte has more say as a designer than I have as the ceo. Which is unusual, but I don’t mind. It’s very rare that we disagree. 

Can you give an example of when it’s beneficial to be a family run company?

— My favourite example is when Charlotte spent 400 hours developing a tiara for a small exhibition in the royal castle in Copenhagen. Rationally, it was a bad idea, but we went along because Charlotte wanted to to it. Later, the Crown Princess Mary decided to wear it and we developed new techniques that we used for other products that we sell today. We ended up making a lot of money on that ”silly project” and it became a perfect example of the benefits of having a family owned company.

Julius, a stamped cuff bracelet, was originally designed by Charlotte Lynggaard as a gift to her son. It is designed with five tiny stamps, each carrying certain meanings that subtly greets one of the men in the Lynggaard family. 

Your father Ole is still present in the company. Is he more of an advisor to the business or the design part?

— The whole reason for my father to start this company was to design. His passion is for designing, not for running a business. When you ask him what he does, he always says he’s a goldsmith or a designer, never a ceo or an entrepreneur. At 84, he is still very active in the company. He likes to hear what’s happening, but he doesn’t interfere. It’s very important for our culture. 

How so?

— We have this saying called ”disagree and ­commit”, which is really important in the structure of the ­company. Of course, there should always be discussion, and people might not always agree, but once we make a decision, everyone is onboard. We can’t move forward if someone is still talking about how they disagree with the strategy. My father is an expert on this. He would never say ”I told you so”. It makes it easier to make tough decisions.

You recently launched a few pieces that you label men’s/unisex jewellery. Why now?

— Our two designers have been very much focused on women’s jewellery. My father always designed for my mother, and Charlotte always designs for herself. That’s the way it’s been working for the past 60 years. We’ve always made a few cufflinks but when Charlotte’s husband and son started wearing jewellery, they came into her mind. The names of the new products are the names of her husband and son, Michel and Julius. So the story is still about family, but it’s also the world that’s moving. I think the new products will be used by women as well, just like we see more and more of our women’s jewellery worn by men. Things don’t necessarily have to have a gender attached to it.

Visit the Ole Lynggaard website.

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Opinion

”Thanks for joining the conference — now the work begins”

It began with a gruesome wait. I have to admit that the technical difficulties that plagued the beginning of The Transformation Conference last Thursday, are amongst the toughest moments in my professional life. Eight months of hard work culminated in that moment. Eight months of building the Scandinavian MIND brand. Eight months of going from pandemic freeze to platform launch.

I was finally going to unveil our first print issue, and welcome the +300 digital guests to the first edition of our new concept The Transformation Conference. 

And then: technical failure. We couldn’t start on time.

I’d like to take a moment to apologize and offer a huge thanks to all of you — most of you who had signed up, actually — who sat patiently and waited for the event to begin. 

Once we were rolling, things progressed much smoothly. We unleash our four panel discussions both via Zoom and with speakers present on stage at our favorite movie theatre Alma’s Park in Stockholm. My fellow moderators Fredrik Ekström and Roland-Philippe Kretzschmar did an excellent job stearing the discussions with some of the leading minds within sustainability and impact investment. And you, dear participants, proved to be an engaging group, with many questions coming in for the panelists. 

I had so much fun doing this conference. The event was produced in collaboration with Nordic Talks, and I’ve been really proud that the Nordic Council of Ministers had decided to partner with us. The Nordic Talks project exists to be a platform to address the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Their motto is to ”inspire each other to act – for a better, more sustainable future”. In terms of shared values, I couldn’t have found a better partner for the launch of Scanadinavian MIND. 

Our talks can now be viewed on our website, and in the coming weeks we will republish every talk on our upcoming podcast, with additional analysis and commentary from me and my fellow editors. Sign up to our newsletter to get early access to this content and upcoming events. 

Let’s keep the conversation going!

Miss the live stream? Watch all the panels and conversations here.

Categories
Opinion

”Changing the norm cannot be done by the people outside the norm alone — it requires everyone”

Ervin Latimer is this years winner of Young Designer of the Year in Finland. His winning work draws on drag culture and highlights the different kinds of minorities in society, who are generally under-represented in Finnish fashion catalogues according to Latimer. The Helsinki based designer is also the host of P.O.C. queer club My Neck My Back, the first of its kind in Finland.

You recently won Young Designer of the Year in Finland. What message did you want to deliver trough the winning collection?

— My mini-collection discusses the spectrum of gender and the norms of Finnish (and Nordic) fashion at large. The assignment was to design hybrid clothes that have multiple ways to be used. I designed a collection that consists of very gendered pieces such as a masculine wool suit or a feminine lace dress. Each of these designs is constructed so that they can be dismantled, mixed and reassembled as the user wishes, thus offering a sort of spectrum between masculinity and femininity. With these mixable pieces, the user can then place themselves on this spectrum wherever they wish regardless of their gender identity or personal style.

Why is it important for you to highlight various minorities in the Finnish society?

— As a queer person of colour, I represent two intersecting minorities myself. You don’t see a lot of that kind of representation in countries like Finland, so it’s important for me to try to provide that as much as possible. It’s a common misconception that the yearning for representation is something new, something that we millennials made up with social media. However, queer and Brown people have always been here in this young nation of ours, so it’s important that people like me feel seen too. And not just people like me – other minorities like marginalized bodies, gender minorities, disabled people etc. deserve to be represented in fashion as well.

Do you think that the Finnish fashion industry is a good place to make way for ethnic minorities?

— Interesting question! I think any fashion industry or scene should be a fitting platform for minorities, regardless of the location. I think another way of asking this question is asking whether or not marginalized people are part of the norm in Finland. To this, I would say not yet. At the moment the norm for, say, a fashion model in Finland is white, skinny and cis-gendered and although I’m glad to see some change in this representation in the past seasons, there is still plenty work to be done. This includes me reflecting my own work as well. However, changing the norm in a situation like this requires a lot of time and persistence and it cannot be done by the people outside the norm alone – it requires everyone.

Do you have any role models for your line of work in Finland?

— In my line of work, not really, however, there obviously are tons of people who I admire and who’s work I respect. But for actual role models in fashion, I would have to look abroad. Three women come into mind: Martine Rose, the creative director of her namesake label, Grace Wales Bonner, the creative director of Wales Bonner and Priya Ahluwalia, the creative director of Ahluwalia Studio. All three represent unique values, aesthetic and a take on (brown) masculinity that I really wish to embody.

”However, queer and Brown people have always been here in this young nation of ours, so it’s important that people like me feel seen too”

Tell us about My Neck My Back, what is it?

— My Neck My Back is a club event for queer people of colour that I host as my drag alter ego Anna Konda. It premiered during Helsinki Pride a couple of years ago as Finnish pride history’s first-ever event for queer people of colour. It’s a sweaty, action-packed party where we play Black gay music that you wouldn’t normally hear in Finnish gay bars and see performances from Brown queer artists. We’re lucky to always have a full house and you truly never know what’s gonna happen: one moment you’re dancing to Aaliyah, the next you’re watching a vogue battle. Before you know it a drag queen is performing and shooting glitter from their chest – it’s amazing.

When can people party with Anna Konda again?

— Hopefully soon! The pandemic has scratched all of my plans for the party so we have to wait until it is 100% safe to have people sweating against each other on a full dance floor. As much as I miss the party, the safety of the performers and guests is an absolute priority.

Do you want to shout out anyone or anything?

— Yes! I wanna send a shout out to the completely renewed Tulva magazine by The Feminist Association Unioni, to everyone who worked for the latest issue of Ante Nouveau magazine, a small, independent and extremely inspirational platform for critical thinking and artistic expression and to all of my amazing colleagues at Ruskeat Tytöt Media.