Viking Age meets modern fashion
Designer Lene Lorentzen kickstarts authentic, sustainable Viking style
Last May, Lene Lorentzen started Klesarven (The Nordic Clothing Heritage Co.), a company selling high-quality clothing and costumes inspired by the Viking Age.
“It started with my interest in the Norwegian folk dress, the bunad,” she said. “I simply love the embroidery work, all the gorgeous jewelry, and the colors. That feeling when I am wearing that dress—I feel strong and powerful.
“It is the same with the Viking styles. I want people to feel that powerful feeling of wearing a Viking garment and at the same time be closer to history. It is all about quality in all aspects. Good linen and wool fabrics, the clothes are sustainable. I really want people to see the treasures they made over a thousand years ago. I want people to see the Vikings as craftsmen and not just the warrior; that is my mission!” said Lorentzen.
Originally, Klesarven featured only imported products, but now the Norwegian fashion design graduate is ready to create her own collection of Viking-style designs.
“I love fabric and can spend hours just looking at it and touching it. It inspires me more than anything else. I can express myself through fabrics, colors, and styles,” she said.
She is kicking off her collection with the Viking Hood, a hooded garment made out of three squares of wool or linen without any wasted material.
“It is all about sustainable, timeless clothing. We want to live in harmony with the nature, and the only way to do that is by using natural fabrics with no or very little environmental impact.”
The Viking Hood is inspired by the Skjoldehamn hood, which was discovered on a body found on the Norwegian island of Andøya and has been dated back to around 1050 to 1090. The garment is ideal for Viking festivals, reenactments, and cosplay, but it also fits into a modern lifestyle, according to Lorentzen.
In order to raise funds—and awareness—for her Viking Hood project, Lorentzen has created a Kickstarter campaign. Her goal is to raise 20,000 kroner (about $2,325 USD) by March 18. Basic and reversible hoods for children and adults are available to backers as rewards through the campaign, depending on the size of the donation.
“I hope I will be able to produce sustainable hoods and other Viking garments of high quality to Viking enthusiasts all over the world so they also can get the powerful feeling of wearing a Viking garment! I hope to find resellers who focus on Scandinavian design and the Norwegian heritage,” she says of her goals for the campaign. “The Viking art and styles is a heritage we need to take good care of and learn from. Because everything new has its roots in the well-forgotten old!”
To back the project or learn more about the Viking Hood, visit www.kickstarter.com/projects/1765817750/the-viking-hood-alive-and-kicking.
This article originally appeared in the March 11, 2016, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.