PARIS: Copenhagen and Stockholm are often touted as serious candidates for the title of new fashion capitals, but one shouldn’t forget that Scandinavian ready-to-wear goes beyond these cities.
Increasingly in the fashion press, for both its collections and the street styles seen outside each show, Oslo Fashion Week has been gaining in popularity for several years now, with a wave of designers whose fame goes well beyond Norway, such as Fam Irvoll, Veronica B Vallenes, and Eva Emanuelsen. And this is just the beginning.
With the opening of the International Library of Fashion Research (ILFR), a library unique in its kind throughout the world, Oslo proves that it deserves a place among fashion capitals.
This new-style library, which is home to no less than 5,000 printed fashion documents, is the work of the precocious Elise By Olsen. At just 22 years old, the young woman is a fashion enthusiast as well as a savvy entrepreneur, who isn’t content to rest on her laurels.
After starting her own blog at the age of eight, she became one of the youngest editors in the world at 13 with her own style magazine, “Recens Paper”. But her exceptional career didn’t stop there; she is now behind the opening of the ILFR, which brings to light an impressive collection of fashion documents, a far cry from the dematerialised – or brand-oriented – archives that can now be found all over the world.
“Fashion is one of our most significant cultural artefacts – an expression of our values and fascinations, and an impression of a moment in time with social, political, and economic dimensions,” reads the website of the brand-new establishment.
“Yet, because much of its printed matter is created for commercial or informal ends, it rarely receives the thorough study it deserves.”
It aims to become “the world’s most comprehensive repository of specialised fashion research and contemporary fashion publications”, accessible to all – researchers, professionals, and fashion enthusiasts, free of charge.
A city of culture and fashion
Located a few steps from the new National Museum of Norway, which opened in June, the ILFR has found its home in a former train station. The minimalist style, in contrast to museums, galleries, and other places dedicated to fashion, gives pride of place to two spaces: a study space, and an exhibition space.
To inaugurate the library, the first exhibition, “For Immediate Release: The Art of the Press Release”, focuses on a selection of press releases and promotional texts from several fashion players, including Alessandro Michele, Comme des Garçons, Dries Van Noten, Maison Martin Margiela, Prada, Virgil Abloh, and Vivienne Westwood.
Often overlooked in favour of Copenhagen and Stockholm, two cities that already shine on the fashion scene, Oslo can, with this new kind of establishment, quickly catch up and impose itself among the great fashion cities of the world.
There is no doubt that fashion events will flock to the capital in the coming months.