As a design company located in Denmark, it is natural to lend yourself to both the Danish and the Nordic design tradition. But what do we really mean when we say that we design Nordic knitwear and what does the term mean to us?
In the Nordic countries we are known for our minimalistic, simple and natural design style. The unique Nordic style has influenced both interior decoration, fashion and the food industry over the past years and is still hugely popular. The Nordic look has even got its own buzz word, called ”New Nordic”.
The Nordic style takes inspiration from the raw, Nordic nature and from the fact that we are greatly influenced by the seasons. The winter is long, and at times we only get a few hours of daylight. In interior design, this for example means that we decorate in bright colors (often white), cozy and functional, so our homes becomes a place where we feel at home, where we can enjoy ourselves (=hygge) with our loved ones. In the food industry, this means focusing on using and exploring the season's local produce, and getting the most out of everything. So when all the fancy restaurants serve fifty varioations of kale, this is an example of New Nordic.
"At Önling, New Nordic means that we incorporate many
of the same principles into our hand knitted designs,
as the interior design and food industry do. "
At Önling, New Nordic means that we incorporate many of the same principles into our hand knitted designs, as the interior design and food industry do. We use natural materials, mostly design in douche colors and the end result is most always functional and timeless designs.
It is not really a style we strive for intentionally - it is probably something that is deeply rooted within us Scandinavians. We like simple design, that provides peace and balance and that is not too loud. We are somewhat influenced by the ”Jante law”(with it’s main principle being ”You're not to think you are anything special”) - even though we do not think about it in everyday life. This means, that we feel most comfortable in clothes that become us, but doesn’t attract too much attention or feels like we are showing off. So simple, minimalist and timeless clothing in subdued, Nordic colors, perhaps focusing on the small, delicate detail that gives the design a boost.
Furthermore, it is a natural part of the New Nordic regime to produce responsibly, using local raw materials, make as little waste as possible and with respect for our employees. This is undoubtedly the result of us living in a rich society, with a tradition for democracy and equality, and fortunately it affords us the opportunity to worry about the environment, the individual, and animal welfare.
"Furthermore, it is a natural part of the New Nordic regime
to produce responsibly, using local raw materials, make as little
waste as possible and with respect for our employees."
If we are to summarize a definition of what Nordic knit means for Önling's, it would look like this:
- Natural materials: Wool, cashmere, silk, mohair, cotton, linen.
- Colors in natural, douche colors: Inspired by the raw, Nordic nature.
- Functional and timeless designs: Pieces that can live in your wardrobe for many, many years and become a favorite.
- Focus on the little detail, the lovely pattern or a special technique.
- Minimalistic: We often design single-color designs, and when we use patterns/colors, they are inspired by the Icelandic knitting tradition. And kept in subdued colors.
- Where possible, we prefer to use local produce (wool).
- Accountability: 60% of the yarn we sell is organic and sustainable wool. It is important to us, as it gives us the certainty that we are doing our best for the planet as well as for our customers, who will be wearing the clothes.
Co-founder and CEO, Önling