A journey into the unique landscape of Icelandic Fashion Design
Reykjavik Fashion Festival has been turning heads in the fashion industry since its first edition back in 2010. Established with the intent to give Icelandic fashion designers a platform to connect with each other and create a foundation for the Icelandic Fashion Industry over six years it had claimed its spot among the fashion industry of being a different and unique experience well worth a visit. In 2016 it was time for new momentum and fresh ideas after the festival had been on hold for a year. Kolfinna von Anardottir saw the opportunity to give the festival a new spark and took over. This is where our story begins.
November 2016, Friday Night after an intense day of meetings and negotiations our first full-on branding project as a Serious Business had been confirmed. Time to pop a bottle, if it wasn’t for last minute booking action 2 days before taking off. 48 hours fast-forward we find ourselves sitting in a plane to Reykjavik for a week of darkness, ice, and workshops.
Our key ingredient to every great branding project is a thorough set of workshops. On the first day, we took a light start together with the core team of Reykjavik Fashion Festival. A meet and greet mixed with a talk about goals and expectations and spiced up with the collaborative creation of a project timeline which would define the course of the project with all its milestones and deliverables over the next 4 months. Rounded up with an amazing dinner and an immediate connection to our client.
The second day it was time to step things up and talk about purpose. As the team had just gotten started to work on the future of Reykjavik Fashion Festival it was time to figure out a direction for the festival together. Going through different values exploring the purpose of the festival, learning about different target groups, discussing the vision and mission of the festival and evolving the values that the new team stood for we started to see a silver lining. We kept coming back to the point that Reykjavik Fashion Festival was truly unique and different from all other festivals out there which very much relates to Icelandic Fashion Design itself. As we kept digging deeper and interviewing fashion designers around Iceland we discovered that there was a strong connection and inspiration drawn from the raw landscapes as well as a strong awareness for people, planet and materials. The excitement in the room was electrifying when we all realized that we felt strongly about building a brand as a conscious fashion festival.
With a great dose of motivation, we started into the third and last day of the workshop to round up our discussions around the brand’s personality and creating a mood-board as a starting point for the visual direction. It was time to experience the unique Icelandic landscape for ourselves in the remaining two days before heading home to Munich with a clear sense of direction for the coming weeks and months. The new brand for Reykjavik Fashion Festival had been born.
The next step was to define the brand strategy. Copywriting was on the menu. The idea of the brand and the festival mostly existed in our heads and on raw post-it’s from the workshop at this point. Time to sit down and draft clear statements that would capture the essence of Reykjavik Fashion Festival and could be used to deliver the brand’s message. With the mission of bringing Icelandic Fashion design to the world and encouraging designers to bring consciousness into fashion by using creativity as a tool we had a strong feeling that the values could play a crucial role in delivering the new brand message for Reykjavik Fashion Festival. After countless drafts we ended up with a manifesto and three values that perfectly capture the essence of the brand:
We are different by nature
We embody Iceland. We don’t follow trends, we strive to shape a culture that enables a better future for new generations.
We are proud to represent our heritage driven by a strong sense of craftsmanship. Evolved in the unique environment surrounding us. Shaped by natural forces: raw, pure, mysterious and colourful in it’s own way. We are different by nature.
Consciousness meets creativity
We use and promote creativity as our tool to bring consciousness into fashion. We believe future high fashion is born through the fusion of sustainability and creativity. We bring diverse art forms together that shape a colourful, unique and enriching experience for everyone. In everything we do, we strive to bring new creative ideas into RFF.
We draw our inspiration from natural elements and have a genuine respect for planet & people. We are confident and positive that we can change our future for the better.
Every design has a story and we see it as our responsibility to responsibility to raise awareness among consumers and encourage them to reduce the impact of their consumption. We strive to showcase how fashion design can be conscious in many different ways.
We like to break the norm, we don’t play by rules.
Connecting Iceland to the world
What unites us is the shared goal of supporting the Icelandic fashion scene.
We inspire fashion designers to communicate their conscious approach to the world and ultimately strive to enable them to make a living.
In our belief the key is to bring people from all across the world together to create global media attention and facilitate our vision.
We believe in the power of many and put strong emphasis on teamwork. We see RFF as a platform to connect people. We highly encourage and value collaboration with designers, partners and participants alike.
Time to bring out pen and paper. Let’s sketch. The next step in our process was to start with the development of a new logo and wordmark. In the workshops we had had defined four values that would guide us in the design process:
We are unique and don’t want to look like other typical fashion festivals.
The logo should not follow the latest trends.
The logo should be easy to use for different applications and touch-points.
The logo should work as an umbrella for all kinds of fashion designers.
After choosing a first direction and a few iterations later we developed a dynamic logo that could be used alone or with a wordmark in different variations and applied to many different touchpoints working as an umbrella for all fashion designers.
At last it was time to develop a visual language for the brand. After some exploration and sketching we were truly inspired by the value of being different by nature and saw a great potential to use the raw natural elements and unique Icelandic nature to create a strong identity that would express the feeling of Reykjavik Fashion Festival.
Simplifying the natural elements as much as we could to a abstract and bold graphics in black and white became our way of expressing the vibe of the Icelandic nature in elegant and modern visuals.
In the next step we developed a concept around the visual language where we would focus on one representative natural element from Iceland as a theme for each future edition of the festival which would then highlight and celebrate this element in the whole communication and during the experience at the festival itself. For the 2017 edition of Reykjavik we decided to focus on Rok — A celebration of wind!
To bring the visual language to life, we used a particle simulation in Processing and collaborated with the creative developer Murilo Polese to develop an application where we could play around with different variations of the wind visualisation and that could easily export assets for our touch points, both static and moving graphics.
We then created a digital brand-book that could be used internally to onboard new team members and volunteers of Reykjavik Fashion Festival as wells as supply guidelines for the use of the visual language internally and also for external partners. Capturing the essence of the brand and the many ways the visual identity could be applied.
In the last step of the project we applied the visual language and brand strategy to various touchpoints. Apart from creating ads, posters, brochures, totebags, templates and stationary we oversaw the production of portrait videos with each of the fashion designers participating in Reykjavik Fashion Festival 2017. The most important touchpoint to bring the visual language and brand message to life was the website.
After 4 intense, fulfilling and exciting months of work there was one thing left to do. Hopping on a plane back to Iceland to visit the festival we had helped to shape from the beginning of its new direction, setting the stage for the true heroes of the event. A truly inspiring experience seeing all of the amazing and talented Icelandic fashion designers showing of their collection in a unique way spiced up with a raw and mysterious vibe.
Simply, different by nature!
You can check out the website of the n.7 edition in www.rff.is