The Weather Diaries

For nearly two years Swedish power duo Sarah Cooper and Nina Gorfer travelled the most remote and desolate regions of the far north to investigate the creative spirit of fashion designers working far away from the commercialism and normal conventions of the European fashion industry.

How did you come up with the idea for The Weather Diaries?

SARAH: In late 2011 we were asked by the Nordic House to curate the 3rd Nordic Fashion Biennale on the premise that we would showcase fashion from the Faroe Islands, Greenland, and Iceland, with cultural heritage and sustainability as overarching themes. We were also asked to approach this task from our own creative perspective and present and participate in the project with our own style and artistic work as point of departure. The result is The Weather Diaries, an exhibition and book that present 12 designers and artists from the West Nordic Islands through the interaction of photographic essays by us and interviews, stories, and unique works and installations by the designers and artists we collaborated with.

NINA: The West Nordic islands – Iceland, Greenland, and the Faroe Islands – are subject to extreme weather and seasonal periods of total darkness and light. By using the dialogic strength of nature as a unifying principle, we sought to create a shared methodology by which the roots of West Nordic Fashion and its inimitable creativity and aesthetics could be explored.

What fascinated you the most working in the harsh environment of the far north?

NINA: We both left our home countries for Sweden, where we have lived for the last 10 and 14 years, respectively. So we are quite used to the north! However, Iceland, Greenland, and the Faroe Islands have something that differentiates them from the rest of Scandinavia. All of them are harsh in their own ways, with the weather as a constant presence – it is almost an entity in its own right, impacting you on a daily basis. And we’re not talking about whether you should leave the house with an umbrella or not, but about a real influence on your emotional body, your daily life as well as your life at large, and last but not least, your creativity. This is why we set out to investigate how the weather, the isolation of living on an island, and the merciless seasonal darkness and light would impact or even alter you as a human being.

Continue reading in Oak volume Two