Kiosk Collective

 

 

 

 

 

With the hotbed of creative talent that bubbles below Iceland’s frosty surface, it was little surprise to find that Reykavik, despite a fairly minuscule population of about 120,000, is not without it’s own impressive cultural hub. However, to find that the fashion scene has really taken the creative front seat was enough to set my heart on fire.    

KIOSK, a shop co-owned by nine designers, has much to do with making Reykavik the fashion epicenter of Iceland. The ethos might seem boringly simple; to act as a platform for young Icelandic designers. Yet the offering is anything but, with an diverse array of design-led collections.  Whilst the fact that the designers also take shifts working in the shop, gives customers the unique opportunity to meet the makers behind the wares.

Last month I had the privilege to chat with Helga Lilja, one of the KIOSK’s creative talents and designer of her label Helicopter. As someone who never seriously considered her creativity as a career option, her story, like her collections, is well worth talking about….

Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into fashion?

Since very young age I have been sewing and creating pieces but never thought of taking it any further. Now I’m very glad that I did! When graduating from college (you graduate from that at age 20 here in Iceland) I was completely lost in terms of what to do next. Luckily I have an older sister who give me great advice and suggested that I should check out ‘Academy of the ArtsSince my graduation 2006 I have worked in different fields within the trade, but since 2010 I have solely been working with my own brand Helicopter- and loving it!

How would you define your style?

I think is really important to wear clothing that is easy and comfortable, clothing that follow you not the other way around. I also love playing around with colours!

What triggers your inspiration?

Family and the Icelandic nature has been a huge source of inspiration for me. Iceland, my mother and a book based on American native Indians given as a present from a friend – inspired my first collection. My grandmother is a composer and I live in her apartment. Her music and home has also put an tremendous input on me.

Tell us more abut how your co- start up ‘Kiosk’ got established?

Kiosk is a co-owned store by nine designers. We were established three years ago but now there are only three of left of the original team. The store was created as a platform for young designers. Since fashion design has only been taught for a few years here in Iceland, platforms that can help young graduated designers working for themselves are unfortunately limited. Therefore Kiosk is important for new Icelandic design and I hope the collective will live for a long time to come.

 What are the pros and cons of being an independent designer in Reykjavik?

Like I said, fashion design is a young and upcoming trade here in Iceland. Being part of that transformation is a real privilege I think. Most of the fashion graduates from the Acedmy are friends and we try our best to help each other out as much as possible. The cons are however how limited our fabric range and manufacturing possibilities are. They are really minimal and after the crash the Icelandic króna is in bad shape. It makes everything very expensive and harder to manage.

Future aspirations?

Cliché as it sounds I want my company to grow to the point where I can have a few happy employees. Take part in trade-shows every season and grow steadily. Is not my intention to become the queen of Sheeba – I just want to be able to make more of the company so it can be use for others, as it is for me in the present. 

In a fast moving fashion industry, what do you think is important today to communicate as an independent fashion label?

Be a creator of your own style and be open to ideas. There is a strong tendency within the industry today copying the person next to you. To maintain a personal approach to style is very important. This is why I don’t manufacture on a large scale. I want people to feel they’re buying something unique made exclusively. Not mass produced by made by another empire.

 

 

 

 



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