Photography by Saga Sig
Icelandic fashion is more than chunky wool sweaters and wacky swan gowns. Although Reykjavík’s apparel industry remains embryonic — last March, only eight designers were represented at the city’s annual Fashion Festival — that also means it’s easier for young talent like 27-year-old Guðmundur Jörundsson to stand out.
In just two years, the slender, handsome young man has become one of Iceland’s most talked-about creative forces. “There’s no rule in Icelandic style, and that’s what’s interesting about it,” Jörundsson says. A college dropout, he generated heat after designing a collection of suits for the store Kormáks and Skjaldar, where he was a salesperson. “That’s how I got interested in menswear,” Jörundsson says. His pieces were so popular that, in 2012, Jörundsson found an investor to launch his own label, Jör, with a shop a few blocks from his former employer.
While most budding designers would spend years in the comfort of their menswear niche, Jörundsson has already debuted his women’s collection, although he’s not sure where one ends and the other begins. “I’ve been blurring the lines between the sexes, so you don’t really know if it’s a dude or a girl,” he says, citing Rick Owens’s goth aesthetic and Alexander McQueen’s tailoring techniques as inspirations. “I think it’s interesting to mix the classic tailoring stuff with dark influences, but I’m not focused on that being the identity of the brand. Androgyny is fun.”
Jörundsson also wants to make his label accessible. “From the get-go, the plan was to export the brand abroad,” he says. You can already buy Jör’s line of ties and socks on Icelandair — a sign that the country’s ready to boast about its promising new export.