In the pink with Moods

Fashion forward Moods of Norway is in the pink

Photo: Kim Jacobsen TO / Pudder Agency Moods of Norway

Photo: Kim Jacobsen TO / Pudder Agency
Moods of Norway

Victoria Hofmo
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Perhaps Moods of Norway’s whimsical pink tractor logo says it all: a piece of farm equipment ubiquitous throughout Norway with a quirky tweak, tradition with a twist. In fact, the number of tractors in Norway is stitched into each of their men’s suits. Can you guess how many there are? 246,619.

Moods was founded by three Norwegian friends, Stefan Dahlkvist, Simen Staalnacke, and Peder Børresen, who wanted to launch a clothing brand with a Norwegian flavor, and did so in 2003. The first stores opened in Norway and then expanded into Japan, Sweden, Holland, and Switzerland. In 2009, the first U.S. flagship store opened in Beverly Hills, and three years later another one opened in Soho, New York, the latter meriting a write up in Time Out New York and MRKETPLACE. The company’s slogan is ‘Happy Clothes for Happy People.” The company was chosen to design the uniforms for the Norwegian Olympic Team in London in 2012, and for this year’s winter Olympics, which was held in Sochi.

I had the privilege of working with the staff from the New York store, located at 75 Greene Street in Manhattan, this past May. They held a dynamite Fashion Show for the 17th of May Parade Committee’s Dinner Dance, using locals as models. It was the hit of the event and the first time I had encountered the store and brand in person.

The store was light and airy, with plenty of space to shop, see, and feel the merchandise—a luxury today, when product and shoppers are typically squooshed in, as real estate is at a premium. While working with them over several days to assist in organizing the models and their outfits, I had the opportunity to view, nay scrutinize and touch, a lot of their spring line, up close and personal. My first impression: delight, in the quality of the fabric, the meticulous details and the fine tailoring. What was unique was their use of colors—vivid pinks, a bright navy with a little sheen, and lots of madras prints for men. Another surprise was the texture of a black leather dress that fell so softly. As we say in New York. It felt like butta!

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But I wanted to delve deeper, to hear about the fashion, culture, and philosophy of Moods of Norway, from the horse’s mouth. And I had the opportunity to do so in an interview with Stefan Dahlkvist, one of the company’s founders.

Victoria Hofmo: How did you get involved in the fashion business?
Stefan Dahlkvist: We were a group of Scandinavian students, who met in Hawai’i in College there. We realized that Norway has such a positive connotation and wanted to create a vibrant lifestyle brand that clashed the Norwegian heritage with International fashion trends. That is why the “Pink Tractor” is the logo.

VH: What is unique about the Moods of Norway brand?
SD: Again, we have let ourselves be inspired by the Norwegian countryside (which we love) and international travels. Inside each suit jacket you can read “Made with love by really really pretty blonde girls” and inside the pants “Pants inspired by deep fjords, a few cocktails and a grandmother with exquisite taste.”

VH: Who designs for the company?
SD: We started designing everything ourselves, but now we have done some very exciting recruitment in the design team … I can’t really tell you too much yet, but let´s just say that we have picked from the top shelf and we can’t wait to show the world our aw15 collection.

VH: What defines/makes the Moods of Norway brand distinctively Norwegian?
SD: The fact that each seasonal collection has a very distinctive Norwegian theme (tweaked in a contemporary way). For example the Spring 15 collection is inspired by the Norwegian Fjords and festivals.

VH: What is the difference between the Norwegian and American market?
SD: Norway is obviously a much smaller country than the USA, and the entire country of Norway has four very distinct seasons, which sets the tone for how people dress. Here in America you have markets with no winter and that makes it different. In New York and LA, the two cosmopolitan poles of the USA, people dress very differently, which makes the USA an interesting country to take our Moods of Norway brand. We can offer the American different clothes for different moods.

VH: What is unique about the New York market?
SD: Our clients tend to really be into our tailored program with suit jackets, pants, and woven shirts. I am impressed with how much attention people in New York pay to how they dress.

VH: How many seasons does Moods of Norway design for?
SD: We always do two major collections; one spring/summer and one fall/winter. The collections are each broken down into four drops.

VH: What is this season’s top seller for men and women?
SD: For men it is a very unique and beautiful green herringbone suit jacket. For women we have been doing well with one of our checkered outerwear pieces

VH: What’s coming up for next season?
SD: For next season we have the very well designed “Fjords and Festivals” collection, which has both a strong men’s and women’s line. The color stories in the collection are taken from the Norwegian summer music festival scene, with warm tones representing the sunrise and sunset and prints inspired by the trees/flowers in the surrounding landscape.

VH: Is there anything you’d like to add?
SD: Please dress responsibly, and remember to write home!

This article originally appeared in the Sept. 26, 2014 issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (800) 305-0271.

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