A fantastic Norwegian fashion journey

Seven years of hard work is paying off big time for Moods of Norway

By Berit Hessen – Norwegian American Weekly

From left: Simen Staalnacke, Stefan Dahlkvist and Peder Børresen dressed in their own colorful creations at FIT in NYC. Photo by Berit Hessen.

From left: Simen Staalnacke, Stefan Dahlkvist and Peder Børresen dressed in their own colorful creations at FIT in NYC. Photo by Berit Hessen.

Seven years ago, a small fashion design company called Moods of Norway was born in Stryn; a tiny village tucked away in the fjord country of western Norway. Today, the three designers behind the trendy label:  Simen Staalnacke, Peder Børresen, and Stefan Dahlkvist are not only well-known for their colorful design in their homeland, but they are rapidly gaining recognition all over the world.

Moods of Norway is a lifestyle design concept that combines quality products with Norwegian history, culture and traditions. For instance, the jacket cuffs of their fashionable suits are embroidered with the number of registered tractors in Norway. Some of their products even display Simen’s grandmother’s famous Norwegian waffle recipe.

On Oct. 8, the Norwegian design trio held a lecture at the Museum at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) in Manhattan. The event was organized in collaboration with the Royal Norwegian Consulate General. With high energy Simen, Peder and Stefan, all in their early 30s, gave the audience a rare insight to how it all got started “with just an idea” in a small Norwegian village with only 6,500 inhabitants.

Fast growing success

In 2003 the newly founded company received 10,000 NOK (about USD $2,000) from the Norwegian Government. “That was barely enough to make our first 30 pieces,” chuckled Peder. Their first collection had a modest turnover of $60,000. Since their bootstrap start-up, selling their fashion in a small hut in Stryn, the company can now report an annual revenue of about $20 million.

Their vision today is to make Moods of Norway a global brand, and their eighth flagship store (the first in the United States), was officially opened in Beverly Hills, Calif. in July. You can also find unique Moods of Norway’s flagship stores in Oslo, Bergen, Trondheim, Flø, Iceland, and Japan. In addition, their stylish brand is sold in 120 stores worldwide. “Very soon you will also find our products in numerous stores on the East Coast,” explained Stefan, who runs the store in California. Nordstrom is one of the stores that soon will carry their products. They also hope to open a flagship store in Soho in the near future.

While expanding their business in the United States, Moods of Norway came to the attention of the Harvard Business School (HBS). In September, HBS launched a brand new case study about the innovative Norwegian brand and the trio’s unique business-strategy.

Bringing Norway to the World

Even if Moods of Norway is rapidly expanding internationally, the founders have never forgotten about their roots and humble beginnings. Famous stars such as Sharon Stone,  Justin Timberlake,  and Paris Hilton now visit their store in LA, but their headquarters remain in remote Stryn, surrounded by deep fjords, majestic mountains and glaciers. All their fashion shoots still take place in the village, and Moods often uses regular locals as models.

“This is just natural for us,” said Simen, who explained that Norway still gives them all the inspiration they could possible need. “No matter where we are in the world, we [Norwegians] are exotic, and we can never forget that,” explained Simen, who considers himself lucky to be able to travel the world while creating a quality Norwegian brand with his best friends.

Their secret to success is “combining true Norwegian stories with international fashion trends, and having loads of fun while doing it.”

To check out Moods of Norway’s great collections visit Moodsofnorway.com

This article was originally printed in the Norwegian American Weekly on October 23, 2009. For more information about the Norwegian American Weekly or to subscribe call (800) 305-0217 or email subscribe@norway.com.

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