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The Best of Reykjavík 2012: Shopping and Commerce

The Best of Reykjavík 2012: Shopping and Commerce

Published July 19, 2012

Best place to shop for touristy stuff: Geysir
Downtown Reykjavík is starting to feel like some sort of Disneyland puffin mall, what with all the numerous new stores that cater exclusively to tourists in dire need of puffin or volcano related souvenirs. It’s understandable, though, because all you wonderful travellers need to bring back items for your loved ones and—who are we kidding—puffins and volcanoes are the most interesting things Iceland has going for it. Tourist shops are necessary, and it is thus important to commend those that go an ambitious route in serving up the coveted trinkets and stuffed dolls.
All decked out in salvaged wood and decorated with found photographs from Iceland’s past, Geysir on Skólavörðustígur does a commendable job of catering to tourists in a tasteful, yet quirky manner. Locally crafted goods, lopi sweaters and everything you’ll need to hike across the island can all be found there—seek out Vík Prjónsdóttir’s playful line of woollen goods for an example of current local design.
(2011: Geysir
2010: Handprjónasambandið
2009: Handprjónasambandið)


Best place to stock up on local design: Kraum

Representing over 200 local designers and artists, Kraum offers an expertly curated, collection of the best things currently being envisioned and crafted by locals. The wide variety of items on offer (“their collection is GARGANTUAN”) can be hard to navigate, but the expert staff ensures no one leaves without finding what they need.
(2010: Kraum
2011: Kraum)


Best place to stock up on local fashion design: Kiosk

Last year we said: “Run by a collective of young Icelandic fashion designers, Kiosk is such a welcoming addition we felt the shop deserves its own category. Kiosk is a co-op shop and serves as a first step for young local designers to sell their creations. It’s not only the cool designer wear and accessories that make the shop a great pick, but since the designers take shifts behind the counter you can always guarantee to meet a young new talent.” We couldn’t agree more for this year, and Kiosk has expanded since last year so there’s even more fresh talent to check out.

(2011: Kiosk)


Best bookstore: Mál og menning

After several years of humiliation, Mál og menning—once Reykjavík’s favourite bookstore—seems to have finally gotten its shit together in a big way. Aside from building up a respectable (for Iceland) stock of literature and magazines and hosting various fine literary events (readings, discussions, etc), they have opened an art gallery on their top floor in conjunction with the crew from Havarí and generally seem in good spirits. This is great news for downtown Reykjavík!  
Runner-up: Útúrdúr remains awesome with its selection of ‘zines, art books and other curiosities.
(2011: Eymundsson, Austurstræti
2010: Eymundsson, Skólavörðustígur)


Best place to get a trendy haircut: Rauðhetta og úlfurinn

Rauðhetta og úlfurinn are an enduring favourite when it comes to supplying the good people of Reykjavík with their trendy haircuts—which is odd because trends keep changing and fashion is notoriously fickle. “I can always count on excellent service at Rauðhetta og úlfurinn, they make me look good every time,” one reader noted.
(2011: Barber Theater
2010: Rauðhetta og úlfurinn)


Best second hand shop: Fatamarkaðurinn

Fatamarkaðurinn by Hlemmur seems to be pretty popular these days. “Clothes at Nostalgia and Spúútnik have been pre-selected so they tend to be cooler, but they are more expensive. If you’re willing to put in the work, Fatamarkaðurinn is can be pretty great,” one of our second hand shoppers explained.
Runners-up: Nostalgia and Spúútnik

Best shop for ‘high fashion’: KronKron

Those with a fashion fetish will tell you that KronKron offers “the only proper selection of current international designers in Reykjavík,” with one even remarking: “I would have no idea what I’d do without them! They are the only ones actively importing new clothes!” Go there for clothes by labels such as Marc Jacobs, Wood Wood and Vivienne Westwood, shoes by Eley Kishimoto and Sonia Rykiel and of course the storeowners’ newly launched label KRONbyKRONKRON. Of course it all comes with a price, but we are told tourists can get tax-free rebates of the stuff, which ultimately renders it pretty cheap.

(2011: KronKron)


Best haberdashery: Herrafataverzlun Kormáks & Skjaldar

Located directly under Laugavegur’s Bónus outlet, Herrafataverzlun Kormáks & Skjaldar is an enduring hipster mall of a store, where discerning Reykjavík gentlemen go to get decked out in proper Don Draper gear or disguised as English lords out for a fox hunt. Selling everything from shoes and undergarments to suits and overcoats, HK&S even host a proper barber in the corner who gives a mean shave and/or a haircut.
(2011: Herrafataverzlun Kormáks & Skjaldar
2010: Herrafataverzlun Kormáks & Skjaldar)


Best place to shop organic: Frú Lauga

The couple that runs Frú Lauga shop from farmers from all over the country and everything in the store is labelled so customers knows exactly what they are eating and where it comes from. Need we say more?

(2011: Frú Lauga)


Best record store: Lucky Records

Lucky Records offers scores of hard-to-find vinyl and first editions of rare Icelandic and international LPs. “This is where I send my visiting music geek friends,” remarked one reader while another noted that the store is “world class! I found a battered 7″ of ‘Kind Midas Touch’ by The Hollies for 1 EUR and a pile of old electro boogie stuff.”  

(New category)


Most welcome addition: 20bé

Starting its life as a travelling pop-up shop, 20bé has found a permanent home on Laugavegur, where its three designer/artist owners sell their wares, host parties for friends and passers-by and promote local art through regular shows. “Helicopter’s dresses alone make 20bé a great stop on a stroll down Laugavegur, but I always find something fun or interesting when I go there.”
(2011: Jet Korine
2010: Fiskmarkaðurinn við gömlu höfnina)



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A Hardware Store Holds Its Own On Fleece Street

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As you walk up Laugavegur, weaving through all-weather clad tourists as they meander past souvenir shops, artsy cafés and hip boutiques, a hardware store is probably the last thing you would expect to encounter. However, Brynja, a Reykjavík institution, holds its own in the thoroughfare amongst these crowd pleasers. The distinctive red building is impossible to miss with its crisp paint job and sign that spells out “Brynja.” The store’s owner, Brynjólfur H. Björnsson, whose name is derived from the same word, told us that the store’s name invokes Viking armour. Open since 1919, Brynja is most likely the oldest

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Best Of Reykjavík 2013: Best Place to Treat Yo Self

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Even from the outside, Geysir is a barrel full of eye-candy for the window shopper with a sweet tooth for clean Nordic fashion and indulgently soft fur accessories. Though it sits a mere block up from Lundinn on Skólavorðustígur, Geysir feels a long ways away in terms of quality and aesthetics from its tourist trapping counterpart with no bloated display of stuffed puffins or offensively cheap plastic Iceland flags in sight. The interior is equally pleasing, designed by the same creative mind behind other aesthetically applaudable Reykjavík establishments like KEX Hostel and Snaps Restaurant. Its large windows let in the

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Best Place to Shop for Touristy Stuff: Geysir Skólavörðustígur 16 There are polar bears and puffins in every other store window in Reykjavík, but is that what you want? Stuffed polar bears and puffins? What are you going to do with them when you get home? THINK ABOUT IT. Instead, why not get something useful? If we were tourists in Iceland, we’d definitely go to Geysir to treat ourselves. In fact, their high-end, durable wares cater almost as much to locals as they do to tourists. So go there to pick up top-notch brands of outdoor-wear and functionally fashionable things

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Shopping
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Next Stop: SHOP!

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Never underestimate the power of tiny Iceland to capture the world’s attention with financial crashes, volcanic eruptions, and a tourist campaign that went a little too far (here’s hoping no one ever actually renames Iceland “Jump For Joy Land”). Lately, Iceland has been garnering attention for something else too: its blossoming fashion scene. Recognising this in 2010, Gréta Hlö›versdóttir co-founded Reykjavík Concierge, a company specialising in getting tourists acquainted with all facets of Iceland’s burgeoning design scene, from the traditional wool sweaters to the latest fashions and designers. MORE THAN THE NATURE Reykjavík Concierge offers a wide range of design

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