This month, the Icelandic fashion label Kyrja is releasing its Autumn/Winter 2015/16 Campaign pictures, to be followed shortly by the lookbook. Its founder and creator, Sif Baldursdóttir, says it’s been in the works since she released her first collection in 2013, which won her The Reykjavík Grapevine’s “Looking Forward To More In 2014…” award.
Her label name Kyrja comes from the Icelandic word Valkyrja, or Valkyrie in English, the winged women who carried the slain Vikings to Valhalla. “It comes from the old Icelandic verb ‘to choose,’” founder and creator Sif Baldursdóttir says. “So, it’s like, you know, about power. I always do what feels natural. I don’t like to complicate things. I’ll have an idea and just go with it. I don’t feel like I need to justify everything I make with a concept. I get ideas randomly and sometimes they mean something on a deeper level and sometimes they don’t. It’s my choice.”
Indeed, choice as a concept seems to guide Sif, who appears to be watching everything and nothing at the same time, her mind constantly buzzing behind her blue eyes. “I’m always looking around me. I’ll see a fold in a T-shirt, and be like, ‘ohh that reminds me of something,’ and my mind will trail off and it will end up being a completely different concept from where I was inspired,” Sif says. “I like natural fibres—fabrics that drape and fall nicely. Touch is important, but it has to be practical as well—sewable, not too fragile, not too impractical.”
Sif studied fashion design at Istituto Marangoni in Milan, Italy, a school that was founded in 1935, and also has schools in London, Paris, and Shanghai. “I was in Rome working as an au pair, but I didn’t really like it there. However, I felt I wasn’t quite finished with Italy,” Sif says. “There was one major city in Italy I hadn’t checked out—Milan. I had wanted to study fashion design since I was a teenager and I had a friend in fashion suggest going to the school there. I applied. I got in.”
However, after Sif finished school, she felt she needed a break from fashion. “The school was a lot to handle, and they beat you down a bit. I needed some time to just gather myself. This job can be really personal and I was petrified of being judged,” Sif says. “I was waiting for the moment when I would have the courage, you know? I was working shitty jobs in the meantime, not being happy. I was miserable. Then one day I woke up and just decided that I was ready. I quit the jobs I hated, moved back to my parents in order to save money and started Kyrja.”
Since then, she has released five collections and established a chic minimalist style. “I’m really into pattern construction,” Sif says. “My favourite is the Raglan sleeve, and I am really intrigued by silhouettes. I like to keep the details consistent—everything within the collection is always a variant of something else. You can’t just have one piece that’s just not connected to anything. You have to have certain elements that are continuous throughout the collection.”
Already though, the ambitious designer is thinking about her next collection. “A collection needs to be ready up to nine months before it hits the stores,” Sif says. “I have until September to have my Spring/Summer 2016 collection ready, and then I’m looking do a trade show in Paris or Copenhagen, but I’m leaning towards Paris.”
Kyrja is available at Kiosk and Baugar & Bein in Iceland and featured at Reykjavík Outpost and Lastashop in Los Angeles. To check out the designs, visit www.kyrja.com.