Famed outdoorwear company 66° North has been known to Icelanders for nearly 90 years, but has only recently began selling its wares to retailers in the US. On 1 November, the company managed to gain a stronger foothold in American markets by opening a store in New York’s SoHo district (on 158 Mercer St, to be precise), a neighbourhood better known for high-end fashion.
The store will only be open until the end of December, and for those who’ve had to endure New York winters – where temperatures often plunge far lower than Icelandic winters do – a store selling clothing tried and tested by Arctic rescue teams will probably be warmly welcomed.
“We’re already selling products to something like 80 shops in the US as it is,” explained managing director Marinó Guðmundsson, “but we felt that this move would give our products much greater brand recognition.” The hope, says Guðmundsson, is to eventually open a permanent store in the US.
But the store isn’t stopping at clothing. 66° North in SoHo also plans to bring other aspects of the Icelandic experience to New York. CDs by Icelandic musicians will be available for purchase, as well as a lounge area replete with moss-covered shelves, gravel floors and reclining chairs. The store is also planning on offering tastings of Iceland’s own Reyka Vodka, an after party for the film Screaming Masterpiece with a performance by Mugison, and acts such as Sigur Rós and Emiliana Torrini may also perform there over the next two months.
When asked why 66° North chose a fashion street for a store selling outdoor wear, Guðmundsson said he didn’t see a conflict in clientele.
“It’s a great location,” he told the Grapevine, “and outdoor wear and fasion go great together. A lot of fashion-oriented people shop there.”
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