Sunday, May 30, 2010






Words/Images Judith Ecochard


Winter 2010/2011 felt a lot warmer after spending some time in the Scandinavian Village area of the massive Outdoor Retailer show.

And it wasn’t just the fab java or yummy happy hour liquids that packed in the buyers (and other exhibitors too).

It was the top-notch STYLE savvy, technically proficient brands at this nordic enclave... that are making major inroads, sales wise, into the States. A larger crowd than the year prior turned out, for sure.

From Iceland, 66° North, is a major historic (since 1926) brand that's is a massive label in certain parts of the world.  We gravitated towards the trendy apparel from a group deemed “Icelandic Living.” 

A bunch of looks, we thought, were some of the most stylish (and seriously toasty warm) pieces of outerwear and we saw all week.

Made in their own factories (mostly) the quality is 100% primo…as “…creating clothes that help you manage dramatic conditions has become second nature.”


The Gola Jacket (Women) is a wool blend bestseller…tech & eye-catching, with a windproof membrane, brushed fleece lining…and…articulated elbows. Two hand-warming pockets and inside PDA one too!

Retailers also liked the Kaldi Women’s Sweater (MSRP $220) with tech proof wool warmth and an eye-catching abstract take on the classic Icelandic sweater patterns…. PLUS, articulated elbows (slimmer fit, FYI) and a fleece lined collar for comfort.

Mid layer warmth that we felt could work as outer layers in the lower 48 include the pretty/handsome Frosted Hood jacket W/M ($180)…made with Polartec® Classic® 300…a mucho warm fleece. Zipped pockets with laser cut micro suede trim and Chevron embroidery…plus articulated elbows and thumbholes on the cuffs…make for warmth without the bulk.

Hard and soft shell insulated favorites we liked...the Langjokull Primaloft Jacket…a snug fitting, guys jacket with high ribbed knitted collar, and plenty of pockets. Super light too.

The bold zipped Vatnajokull Primaloft Jacket for women ($380)---with an outer of nylon rip stop with DWR/Pertax Quantum face fabric…is multi-purpose at it’s best. We can see wearing this backcountry or walking down Broadway.

Vests are always in demand as layer easy pieces…and the 66° North W/M's version---the Langavegur Down Vest ($190)…is warmth without the down bulk in a classic old school style. A dual zipper front, inner zipped pocket, and two zipped front pockets are the details that put this item into the must have category. And a 2D pic doesn't show it...but there IS a HUGE difference between a well made down vest of primo fill...and the disposable fashion type one can buy at the BIG BOX stores. Get the former if multi year use and true warmth are key ingredients...

BONUS: 66° North is actively involved in protecting the environment up there---as Iceland is a country made up of 11% glaciers “retreating at an alarming rate…” (Nearly- nine Central Parks NYC in size annually!).


Hello---can you say North Face of Norway? That is how HUGE Bergan’s is in that section of the world...where when we were there...just seemed like everyone was amazing looking. Like the Vikings killed off the ugly ones.

This is the second going for us of this label...and we feel this season’s selections that we saw (a tiny portion of what this company has to offer)…was definitely a bump-up, fashion wise for the American market.

A wide variety of colors, prints and styles…are available. One we particularly liked was the Myrull---an oversized snap button black ‘sport wool’ coat that hits mid thigh. It’s waterproof, seam sealed (really water proof).

Basic styles we like benefit from high tech fabrics that render the garments waterproof/breathable--- and with three or two ply construction,  super warm---- (the plaid Dyna Down Jacket, the Oslo belted coat/jacket, the printed Sekken (means sack) Lady Jacket, and the hard core Roros jacket)

…most came in different color waves (Red/Dusty Blue, Emerald/Cherry, Indigo/Powder, Café/White, Pink Rose/Lavender).

Details...side arm pockets, articulated elbows...

Primaloft insulated selections too…

There was also a whole series of shirts, tees and hoodies we didn’t even have time for…

PLUS---expedition quality outerwear, hats, and packs.

NEXT TIME…we need more time.

Woolpower AB (from OSTERSUND, SWEDEN) has the tagline:

“When going indoors is not an option.”

The wool is from various sources…especially Merino wool that has positive inherent properties AND IS ANTI-BACTERIAL/ANTI-ODOR…

It all gets blended with polyamide/polyester and air (!) for the performing and proprietary Ullfrotte Original separates… developed by Woolpower AB in the early 1970’s.

We like the exposed flatlock stitching on the shoulders that good for those hauling their backpacks around--- as the lack of inside seams means no chafing.

ADDED PLUS---Machine washable and durable. Tough to burn (via open flame).