Yvan Rodic hasn’t been in the same place for more than two weeks in the last five years. He says he takes an average 170 flights per year. He’s like George Clooney in ‘Up In The Air,’ except he’s a tall, Swiss-born fashionista who travels the world doing something far more benign. The photographer better known as Face Hunter documents street style via his blog, which reportedly gets a million views per month. During his most recent four-day trip to Reykjavík, we met up at Boston for GusGus’s jam-packed album release party. We found a table in the far corner of their outdoor patio to sit down and catch up since our last rendezvous at Iceland Airwaves in November. He told me about his recent trip to Alaska and showed me some of his incredible photos from a remote island in Resurrection Bay. We talked about turbulence and the missing Malaysia Airlines flight, and at some point I turned on the recorder for a quick, impromptu interview in anticipation of our ‘Best of Reykjavík’ issue.
So what’s it like to live out of a suitcase? How far in advance do you have to plan your trips?
I know my plans one or two months in advance based on projects, and I plan my personal trips in between those. It’s a crazy life, but it’s not the most horrible existence ever. I think it might be stressful for some people, but I can see myself doing it for a few more years. I just really enjoy experiencing the world this way.
What keeps you coming back to Reykjavík? Is it one of the places you visit most frequently?
I’d say it’s one of my less-known regular destinations. I spend most of my time in New York or London or Paris—even Stockholm or LA maybe, but I think Reykjavík has a lot to offer culturally and fashion-wise without being too ex-posed. Of all the places I’ve been around the word, there’s no town that is so small and remote as Reykjavík that is so cool. It has this unique energy that doesn’t exist anywhere else.
Would you say that’s what’s best about Reykjavík?
It’s this unlimited sense of creativity. There’s so much self-confidence. People don’t feel like, ‘oh, we’re too small.’ They have intuition and it works quite well for people here. It’s a special case.
What’s the best part about taking photos here?
People-wise, I like it because the fashion isn’t too trend-driven. You don’t have access to all of the big high street chains. People need to be more creative and actually they like to be creative. If you go to a bigger city, New York or London for example, people are cool and diverse, but you tend to see more patterns.
That’s interesting because I feel like everything down to haircuts goes into fashion here. A particular haircut goes into fashion and all of a sudden everyone has that haircut, even if it doesn’t suit him or her.
Of course within a society people are inspired by each other. It’s also normal for people to want to belong. If you live here, I’m sure you can tell that a lot of people are doing similar things, but from an outsider’s perspective it seems quite distinct compared to a lot of places I’ve seen.
The fashion seems to be less contaminated by international trends, which I think is partly due to the fact that you have less access to big chains. People have to figure out how to dress, so it’s more vintage and do-it-yourself. You see more unique pieces, which spices it up. To me it always seems a bit more out there and different than anything else.
Do you have any favourite Icelandic designers?
In menswear I like what Bóas Kristjánsson does. Last time I saw his work I thought it was very innovative and unique for menswear.
So you come here two, three times a year. What are the best times to visit?
Summer is definitely a highlight because the weather is so good—well not that good, but it’s kind of good—and that creates a different energy. There’s more action. There are more parties. There are more people out.
Then you also tend to come for Airwaves and the Reykjavík Fashion Festival.
Yeah, RFF is a highlight as well because it’s a gathering of stylish people—there are a lot of them per square metre in town. Airwaves is a bit tricky because it’s late in the year, so it’s pretty dark and people are really drunk. It’s fun, but it’s difficult for me to take style photos.
Are Icelanders more stylish in the summer? Are they too bundled up in the winter?
Not necessarily. They dress well in the winter, but they are just more difficult to catch. It’s dark and they stay inside more.
What do you look for when you’re taking photos? The people who you photograph?
I’m looking for a package. So it’s not just the clothes. It’s the attitude, the hair, the tattoos and the personality.
When are you coming back? Is that planned?
No, not yet.