The MYRKA Manifesto: Nonconformity Meets High Fashion In Harpa Einarsdóttir - The Reykjavik Grapevine

The MYRKA Manifesto: Nonconformity Meets High Fashion In Harpa Einarsdóttir

The MYRKA Manifesto: Nonconformity Meets High Fashion In Harpa Einarsdóttir

Published August 27, 2018

Hannah Jane Cohen
Photos by
Top Photo by Íris Ann
Others by Olga Jakovleva & Sharlene Durfey

MYRKA’s clothing has a certain mysteriousness to it. Intricately textured and covered with hidden details, the brand’s works manage to be at once high fashion and streetwear—and both in a completely authentic manner. The designer behind MYRKA, Harpa Einarsdóttir, is a veteran of the Icelandic design scene, bringing both her knowledge of high quality materials and her own appreciation of rebelliousness and nonconformity into every piece. It’s an intriguing combination that’s allowed her to collaborate with everyone from directors to drag queens, and now garnered her entry into KIOSK, Reykjavík’s premiere Icelandic fashion store.

“Silver shining boot-covers with neon blue fringe hang next to a heavy cropped vinyl jacket with o-rings in the pockets.”

Natural origins

Harpa first got into fashion design as a teenager. At 12, she started illustrating and soon began borrowing her mother’s sewing machine. “My first proper piece was a massive crochet jumper,” Harpa says, motioning down her whole body to show the size. It’s clear her love of unusual materials has been lifelong.

She grew up in Borgarnes surrounded by horses, an influence that can still be seen in some of her recent projects, such as her 2014 video with Þór Sævarsson. “There was a snowstorm,” she laughs. “We moved everything into a riding hall and hearded the horses with 4-wheelers. It was pretty mad.” They video, though, turned out stunning.

After studying fashion at the Iceland Academy of the Arts, she created a brand called Ziska. When that came to an end, she opened up a shop in Hafnarfjörður before finally starting MYRKA four years ago. “I don’t come from a wealthy background and it’s been tough,” she says. “But it’s a passion, so you just have to keep going.”

Lava growing

MYRKA was originally inspired by Iceland’s cultural heritage, but Harpa quickly became bored of trying to appeal to both high-end clothing lovers and tourists at the same time. It felt cliché. “I felt a bit like a hypocrite,” she says. “I needed to find a way to do fashion while still feeling that I did something good for the world.” She subsequently began a side project “Be-A-Cause” that donates some of its profits to charity. Currently it’s supporting transgender rights.

MYRKA’s collections have each shown clear growth, building on each other with new takes on Harpa’s signature designs. Her Fall/Winter 2017 line, ‘VÖLVA’ employed a combination of airy fabrics and structured leather to form flowing silhouettes in muted jewel tones, abstract patterns, and deep browns and blacks. She continued this in her Spring/Summer 2018 line, ‘Magmatic Lava Lovers,’ which utilized orange velvets, bright dip-dye-esque patterns and a variety of textured black fabrics to create both relaxed and harsh pieces—relaxed in their fit but harsh in their vibe.

Rebels unite

The newest collection of MYRKA is titled ‘Rebels & Rioters.’ It’s a MYRKA take on streetwear that emotes a health-goth mixed with futuristic mixed with neon aesthetic. Some of the prints contain a mish-mash of phrases Harpa calls the ‘Rebels Manifesto,’ which she worked on with writer Keri Smith. The brand’s next step is clearly one of empowerment. 

In her Grandi studio, Harpa keeps a rack of the MYRKA showpieces. When she shows them off, she does so almost obliviously, as if completely unaware of how breathtaking they are. On the unassuming bar, silver shining boot-covers with neon blue fringe hang next to a heavy cropped vinyl jacket with o-rings in the pockets. A spray-dyed quilted bomber jacket with bright orange lining surprises with an animal skull print on the back. MYRKA incarnate.

In KIOSK, you’ll be able to pick up the streetwear arm of this line—loose high-waisted pants covered with the ‘Rebels Manifesto,’ muted merino wool sweaters with minimalist designs and more. The first release will be a small portion of the line, but by October, there will be a full selection of her work there.

Photos: 

Photographer: Olga Jakovleva & Sharlene Durfey

Makeup: Astros Erla
Hair: Marco Arena
Model: Aaminah Steelebevan

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