66°NORTH was founded in Iceland in 1926 when Hans Kristjánsson started to make clothing for fishermen, where the main purpose was to make a wardrobe, to keep the fishermen dry and safe.
Since then the brand has expanded from being an outwear brand who supported fishermen, fighting the enormous cold elements in Iceland to dressing famous musicians and actors as Beyoncé, Sam Smith, and Jake Gyllenhaal.
We here at Team Bast was eager to know more about the brand and met with Guðný Lára Árnadóttir who works as an International Wholesale Coordinator for 66°NORTH.
What is your position at 66°NORTH and for how long have you been working for the brand?
I joined 66°NORTH in February 2017 and started my journey as a Visual Merchandiser. The brand has really been expanding its roots from Iceland the last years and with that my responsibilities have changed into a new role as an International Wholesale Coordinator. We have expanded internationally, and we have a great team now leading the way that I am super proud to be a part of.
Can you tell us about the origin of 66°NORTH?
The brand has the most amazing story and I Love telling it because it is so unique. It all started with a fisherman from Suðureyri in Súgandarfjōrður which is located in the West-fjords of Iceland. In 1926 Hans Kristjánsson took action and started making clothing for fishermen and in that time being a fisherman was a dangerous job, but it was also necessary for the survival of Icelanders. Those brave men fighting the cold elements now had a better and safer wardrobe to keep them dry and safe. Which probably could save their life’s in some cases.
Since 1926 the company has been growing strong among Icelanders and probably many if not all who have ever visited Iceland. We are extremely proud of our products and story, so when the moment came to share 66North with the rest of the world, the brand set its eyes on Denmark. Copenhagen was the perfect place to open our first international flagship store and in November 2014 we opened our store in Sværtegade 12. Since then we have opened two more stores in Copenhagen and during 2016 66°NORTH started to expand through international wholesale and new retailers.
It seems like the brand is expanding from only being an outwear to streetwear is that 66°NORTH new aesthetics?
I think that the gap between outerwear and streetwear has almost vanished in the last couple of years. Our products are very multifunctional, and I think the best example of this is our Jokla parka. Jokla is designed to keep you warm and dry in extreme cold and tough conditions but has now become a high-end streetwear garment. We want our customers to feel good wearing our products and that means that they have a product that they can wear at any time, as streetwear or go hiking and feel stylish at the same time.
Where in the world does 66°NORTH have shops and is there a plan of opening new shops in other countries?
Our stores are located in Iceland and Denmark. We have wholesale and retailers all over the world and there are so many opportunities in the retail industry so who knows. We are always open for new adventures.
What is your most selling item since from the start?
This is a little tricky question because we still produce our fisherman clothing so overall from the start they get the price but in our retail collection, Snaefell Jacket is our best seller. This product is amazing and made from NeoShell fabric. It even won the prestigious ISPO Outdoor Award and the Scandinavian Outdoor Award, so this is definitely a product that everybody should have.
If you could choose one human being to wear 66°NORTH designs who would it be and why?
This is a very difficult question. We have a number of celebrities like Sam Smith, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Beyoncé, just to name a few, who have already endorsed the brand.
As long as the Icelandic fisherman is wearing our clothes, we are happy; everyone else is just a bonus.
66°NORTH has been doing collaborations with brands like Soulland, are there any new and exciting collaborations coming up that you can share with us?
We have had a successful relationship with Soulland and some really good products have been created in the collaborations. Along with other collaborations done with artists and designers in the last couple of years.
We definitely are in a great position to work together with other brands because we have our own production and factories and we are always on the search for something exciting to work on.
Future Plans for 66°NORTH?
We will keep on challenging us as a brand to feed the needs of our customers. We are on a great track as a company and we are really looking forward to the future. Exciting times are ahead for 66°NORTH.
66°NORTH – Campaign Photos:
Photographer: Ari Magg
Stylist: Ellen Lofts
Models: Matthildur and Haraldur Stefánsson