– Troms needs something like this. Here, people can buy Sami-inspired clothing and designs, Kvernmo explained to NRK.
On opening day, his new collection premiered. It was created in collaboration with artist Britta Marakatt-Labba.
The new shop is located in Storgata, at the south end of the pedestrian street. It is considered a business district tenderloin in Troms.
Hurtigruten pier, harbor terminal and city center hotel are all a stone’s throw away.
– That’s why I chose this place, said Kvernmo.
Won a design award in Australia
Kvernmo has a design education from the Whitehouse Institute in Melbourne, Australia. The city is considered the number one fashion city in Australia.
In 2012, Kajsa Kvernmo and her student friend Kate Brook won the “Best Debut Outfit Award” for the “Lotta Leaves Home” collection at the fashion show Fashion Exposed.
The prize consists of 20,000 kroner and a free stand at the next Fashion Exposed.
– Make Sami visible
Kvernmo grew up in Troms and Karasjok. He realizes his Sami background.
– More and more Sami are settling in Troms. Stores like this help make us visible. I think that’s great, said the clothing designer.
The first customers to stop by the shop seem to like what Kajsa Kvernmo has to offer.
– It’s so much fun here. I will definitely shop here. Very different, both everyday wear, fine clothes and dresses, says Christina Ballovara.
– I think it’s very interesting here. The clothes are much more special than what you find in the mall. You don’t risk everyone wearing the same clothes as you, says Sissel Nilsen.
Inspired by white deer
A few hundred meters further up Storgata, Rein Love Clothing had established itself in a small shopping mall.
Among other things, selling clothes, hats, shade hats, bags, jewelry and bandages with motifs inspired by local and Sami culture.
The company was founded in 2014. The founder and designer of the brand, Eirik Simonsen (38), says that individuality is the idea behind their products.
– Rein Love’s Fashion Inspiration is a white deer. White deer are known not to always follow the herd, but instead to take their own path. We thought that was a cool gesture. Hence our slogan «Don’t follow the herd. Stay wild.” Dare to be yourself, explains Simonsen.
Simonsen grew up in Steinkjer in Trndelag. His father is from Tana. That’s why Sami means so much to entrepreneurs.
– We have T-shirts with the text Northern Sami «Don leat mu oabbá. Don leat mu viellja ». It means, “You are my sister. You are my brother.” It’s about community and that we are all equal, Simonsen said.
– We “attacked” Tromsø
In the same small shopping center, Karasjoking Anne Berit Anti opened his business more than a month ago.
Abanti sells both its own products, books, music and products made by other designers.
– It’s great that there are more Sami designers here. Now we “attack” the city. At the same time, we show that Sami is harmless. The Sami are part of everyday life in the city and a natural part of Troms, Anti said.
He has a design education from the Oslo Academy of Arts.
– I’ve always wanted to establish myself in a big city. Tromsø fits perfectly because so many other Sami live here, Anti tells.
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