words Daniel West
A seal-shaped bodysuit is just one of the eccentric pieces in a collection of woollen products by Icelandic design studio Vesurgata 17.
Like other products in the Vik Prjonsdottir collection (which translates as “Vik, the daughter of knitting”), Sealpelt is inspired by Icelandic mythology – according to myth, seals are condemned people.
The Beard Caps are based on the traditional balaclavas worn by farmers during Iceland’s heavy snowstorms, while the Twosome Blanket acknowledges the custom of sharing bedding to keep warm. Other products reference Iceland’s dramatic and inhospitable environment. The Regional blanket, for instance, is decorated with the image of one of Iceland’s largest glaciers.
The project is a collaboration between Vesurgata 17 and Icelandic knitwear producer Vikwool. “[Vikwool’s] manager is an old friend of the family and used to live in the neighbouring town,” says Hrafnkell Birgisson of Vesurgata 17.
“The wool industry in Iceland has a long tradition of hand knitting and pattern making, but a very stagnated image,” adds Birgisson. “The majority of wool clothes are for tourists – there are many replicas of traditional local clothing sold as souvenirs but there is a definite lack of collaboration between young designers and the wool industry.”
The Vik Prjonsdottir collection was presented at Hönnunardagar, Iceland’s design week, last November and will be shown at Design Days Hamburg in October. The collection also includes a woollen “guardian angel” based on the mythical Nykur horse, which lives in lakes.