An article appearing in TIME argues that the economic downturn has compelled Icelanders to buy locally, thus improving the fashion industry here.
The article speaks with a number of designers in Reykjavík, all of whom report record sales, some of them tripling their output. “The string of success stories has transformed a design scene once considered frivolous — back when banking was choice — into one of the few sectors driving Iceland out of its economic quagmire,” it reads in part. Part of the argument explaining this is that Icelanders cannot afford to travel abroad or buy imported labels, so they’re now buying more locally.
In fact, the article claims others have been attracted to come here, to take part in the local design world. Gunnar Hilmarsson, chairman of the Design Centre, also notes that “People are looking into how we can survive in the future. Design and fashion have now become a high focus, not only within the sector, but also politically,” refering to the government’s agenda to promote design both at home and abroad.
The underlying spirit of the piece is perhaps summed up best by Israel-born Sruli Recht, who recently opened a boutique in Reykjavík: “When you have nothing, why not risk everything?”