I was finally listening to Áslaug Jóelsdóttir´s lecture that I missed and even though it was hard to picture what she was talking about, as the slides were missing, I did come up on something interesting. She was talking about the 1960´s and the industrialization with the Icelandic wool and when we started exporting it. She told us how the foreigners wanted the real thing, the sheep colors and icelandic knitting.
It felt like I was listening to a lecture about the same thing in the present because we are still exporting these sweaters, though most of it is mass produced. Foreigners want the REAL thing, the sweater with the eigentlichkeit made by a houswife in the Icelandic country side. We sell the mass produced sweaters in every tourist shop around the country, very few of these shops have the real deal but still present them as the “real Icelandic wool sweater” and maybe it is exactly that even though it is mass produced it still looks the same and is made from the same wool, so the only thing missing is just the eigentlichkeit. But does that really matter to people? Do they need to have the real thing? Well my thought is that the real thing gives them some sort of a status because not everyone owns a real handmade Icelandic woolsweater, but how do they know which ones in the store are real and which ones are not? I don´t even see the difference…
In Iceland most of the women knitting these home made sweaters are doing it as a job to provide for their home and what the stores are doing by selling these mass produced copies is taking buisness away from these hardworking women. I once had a mass produced woolsweater myself but am a proud owner of REAL one made by my friends mother, It was expensive but it makes me look really Icelandic and I fit in with the “cool kids” while camping!
Talking about the cool kids, Áslaug also spoke about how the young people were the target group for the fashion industry and this still fits with the zeitgeist today. Even with the wool sweater, I only bought it because I was going to Þjóðhátíð in Vestmannaeyjar (a yearly festival in the beginning of august on an island) where everyone wears 66°north fishermans clothes(like my friends are wearing in that picture) and wool sweaters (sort of the uniform of the festival). I spent SO much money just to fit in at this ONE event (actually I went again the year after that). I did not have to use the raingear from 66°North it because the weather was so good (but I did it anyways to look cool!), and now it only lies in a box somewhere thinking about the good old days when I wore them and spilled beer on them and slid in the mud in them waiting and wishing for me to head out to sea and use them again. I do still wear my wool sweater though and actually I am wearing it right now while blogging because it is sooo freaking cold.
It´s so wierd to me to think that I once spent money on something I did not need just to fit in, that is not how I work anymore. Money is more valuable to me now that I am saving up for my own apartment, but I guess that I wasn´t thinking like that when I bought those clothes. Today I just find it silly to buy all those clothes with THE label just to be able to say you own the, or just wearing them to a festival and then throwing them in a box. But I guess that is how fashion works, we buy what we think makes us look cool and then put it in a box and forget about it or just throw it away, just to spend more money on the same thing years later or on a new thing every couple of months. What a waste of money…. I say that but note that I still buy myself new things once in a while because I get tired of everything I own, and I do fall “victim” to buying fashionable clothing because well… it makes me look cool just like that 66°north fishermans anorak in that picture! I´m thinking I need to wear it more often as I look very cool in them!