“It's pretty cool that Oslo is about to become a new shopping destination internationally. That has basically never happened before.”
Ida Elise Eide Einarsdóttir, Fashion Editor, KK and KK.no
with Fashion Editor, Ida Elise Eide Einarsdóttir
“There is something unique about Oslo that is now being revealed,” says Ida, referring to the major changes the city has undergone during the last decade with respect to shopping and fashion shops.
When it comes to this topic, Ida definitely knows what she is talking about.
At just 36, she has already worked in the fashion industry for many years, travelling the world and watching fashion show after fashion show, and attending the most exclusive parties with the biggest designers and brands. Now, she can finally see how Norway is entering the world of fashion, in a way the country has never before.
Growing up just 30 minutes outside the capital, she has also seen the city transform from being a small dot on the fashion map, to becoming more and more of a key shopping destination.
Oslo now offers all kinds of shopping, from vintage stores to the latest high-end fashion, not just in the centre but throughout the city.
During the last decade, up-and-coming designers have founded fashion brands that have been successful internationally and have opened innovative locations. Many shops in the city now combine the hunt for clothes with cafés, art galleries, and flower displays.
Journalist and Fashion editor, KK and KK.no.
Ida Elise Eide Einarsdóttir (36) has a master's degree in journalism from the University of Oslo. She has worked as an editor and journalist in fashion and beauty for a number of years, and is widely used as an expert commentator in the media, especially for fashion and trends.
Ida is a fashion editor at KK, Norway's largest women's magazine, and has previously been an editor at the fashion news website Melk & Honning.
She is particularly passionate about Norwegian fashion and sustainability.
“There is something unique about Oslo that is now being revealed.”
Norwegian brands and designers come from all over the country, and you can nab some really great bargains by buying directly from factories or outlet stores. Check out shopping opportunities around the country here!
Norway might not have the longest fashion history compared to many other countries, which can make it hard to categorise Norwegian design and fashion as one particular expression.
"It's hard to say what Norwegian fashion is today, because many of
today's designers and brands are becoming more and more international
and are getting inspiration from around the world. But in general, you can
see that many Norwegian brands show signs of a minimalistic
Scandinavian design," Ida explains.
In the 1950s, designers in Norway, Sweden and Denmark
established the term Scandinavian design – a look inspired
by simplicity and the pure shapes of modernism, which
aimed to use light and long-lasting natural materials.
Norway also has clothing traditions that go way back in time. Examples are the traditional Norwegian costume, called a bunad,
and rich knitting traditions. Today, you often see contemporary designers using
elements of these traditions in their collections.
Ida also believes nature has played an important role in the shaping of Norwegian fashion.
"We live in a country with big contrasts throughout the different seasons, so I think the focus of Norwegian fashion has been to make practical clothes to keep us warm. Being outdoors or hiking also lies in the very soul of the Norwegian people, and the thought has perhaps earlier been that 'hiking clothes cannot be trendy', but I think that has changed now."
"Another important aspect today may be our strong roots to nature and major focus on sustainability. I think no brands could be started now that did not consider sustainability," she says.
Since she works in Oslo and lives close by, Ida knows the city and its hidden shopping gems very well.
We asked her to show us her three favourite shopping areas here. First out is a completely new district of the city called Oslobukta. Bring a coffee to go, and come join us!
“This is a completely new part of Oslo, with everything you need in terms of shopping, culture and places to eat, it's in a way a new hot spot. And I think the best thing is that there is a lot of Norwegian fashion."
There are new buildings everywhere, in the fanciest shapes and materials.
Oslobukta is a new and fresh cocktail of everything from offices, residential building, small cafés, bars, and Michelin-starred restaurants. Not to mention the iconic Opera House and the new MUNCH museum.
And last but not least...
...fashion stores, packed with Norwegian design!
Ida points out two must-sees in the area: Envelope 1976 and Holzweiler.
“One of the things I love about many new Norwegian brands, like Envelope1976, is their focus on sustainability. Both in the clothes themselves, but also the furniture and the premises used to display them."
Some stores also have a little extra touch. Holzweiler Platz, designed by famous Norwegian architects Snøhetta, has combined a clothing store with a café and restaurant, inviting customers to take part in a different kind of shopping experience.
“I think the move they've made here with this combination is very innovative. This is also something that makes this brand more than just a brand — it's actually the first full-blown Norwegian fashion house. Watch out for this brand in the future!"
The Oslobukta area is an extension of the Barcode in Bjørvika, named for its barcode-like appearance. Barcode was completed in 2016 and consists of offices, apartments, and restaurants.
In Oslobukta, there are many different types of shopping, including furniture stores, perfumeries, and flower shops. But they have one thing in common.
"I would say they are mostly modern and contemporary, with a lot of Norwegian brands and multi-brand stores. It's also kind of a melting pot of different people here and a nice mix of different shops and eating places. I definitely recommend visitors to check out this place," says Ida.
Oslobukta also offers unique cafés, bars, restaurants, art galleries of all sorts as well as offices, hotels and apartments. The area is also known as the Venice of Oslo, since the buildings are built right beside the harbour, creating canals.
Address: Operagata 75 C
"Envelope is one of the brands that has worked with sustainability from the very beginning, and it shines through in everything they do. Even the furniture in the store is reused, the original floors have been kept, the racks are made of leftover materials, and the big stones were handpicked from a quarry in Larvik. They make timeless, season-less design, carefully curated by fashion weathervane Celine Aagaard, who is the brand’s founder and creative director."
Address: Operagata 61 D
"Maybe one of the most important Norwegian brands today. They started with scarfs on a roll many years ago, and have now become Norway's first full-scale fashion house. They also have locations in both Denmark and London, and are now focusing on China as well. They pulled off one of the best shows at Copenhagen Fashion Week this season, and are having great success internationally, so I really think they will grow a lot and that the future belongs to Holzweiler."
Norwegian Rain & T-Michael:
Address: Operagata 75 C
"The creators of Norwegian Rain started their business in the rainiest town in Norway – Bergen. From there, they have made award-winning high-end rainwear which has been very successful, especially in Japan. It's cool how they were inspired by a very typical weather phenomenon in Fjord Norway to make such a great brand."
Address: Operagata 75 C
"Heaven Scent is a Norwegian concept perfumery that has three stores in Oslo as well as online, but this is their newest location. They have a carefully curated selection of both Norwegian and international cosmetics, skin care, hair care and perfumes in the niche segment, but they also do collaborations with ceramicists and artists from time to time. The staff here is very friendly and highly knowledgeable. Just walking into the store is an experience in itself."
Now, let's check out another hip and very different shopping area in Oslo, Grünerløkka! Just jump on a tram, grab a city bike, or stroll for about 30 minutes.
Grünerløkka, or "Løkka" in the vernacular, is a much older area than Oslobukta, and has an exciting history and a lot of soul.
Stroll around the pedestrian streets and make sure to have enough time to check out all the cute little stores. There is something for everyone here, whether you are looking for the hippest up-and-coming brands...
...or surprise treasures owned by others before you!
“Velouria Vintage is almost an institution here in Grünerløkka, being one of the oldest vintage shops in the city. Here, you can really bag a great find if you are lucky, since the selection is thoughtfully curated by the owner, Åsa!"
In case you wondered, Grünerløkka is also the perfect lunch spot!
With full bellies and new energy, we are heading towards the last shopping area for today. But first – we have to visit this little tropical spot in the heart of Løkka, called Luck...
“Luck is a little gem, and for me the epitome of what Grünerløkka should be. A well-curated mix of new, unique brands of clothes and items, together with these huge living room plants (that are also for sale) makes a visit here an experience in itself!"
Grünerløkka was originally an industrial area with big factories along the Akerselva river. The people who lived there were mostly workers and their families. Towards the end of the 20th century, the area was in disrepair, but due to endless discussions about what to do with the buildings, it wasn't until the 70s and 80s that the area really got a makeover. After that, it has slowly become more and more attractive to live there again, and today Grünerløkka is a very hip place to visit.
"It's simply a unique flora of shops with vintage, second hand and small independent shops that you won't find anywhere else," says Ida.
"It has been pretty hip for a long time, and maybe lately got a bit more competition from other modern areas. But Grünerløkka has still managed to retain its uniqueness."
Address: Rathkes gate 9
"F5 has a bit of a hidden location, but it is well worth the trip. The store was started by three Norwegian brothers who are dedicated to showcase not only up-and-coming Norwegian fashion but also interior and skin care. Next door is the neighbourhood café Kuro Oslo, which the brothers also founded."
Address: Thorvald Meyers gate 34
"Velouria is sort of a must-see when you're in Oslo, I think. Here, you find a really large selection of vintage. The owner travels the world and buy pieces from everywhere, so you can nab some really amazing finds here, like vintage Chanel-bags and so on! I think it's extra fun, since not all vintage stores operate the same way anymore."
Address: Grüners gate 9
"Luck is a little gem, and for me the epitome of what Grünerløkka should be. Its well-curated mix of both fashion and interior, spanning from high-end luxury brands such as Jacquemus and Dries Van Noten to Norwegian byTiMo and Tom Wood, together with green plants (also for sale) makes a visit here an experience in its own right."
Address: Markveien 54
"PAST is a subsidiary of Livid, which we will also visit in the city centre – a re-use concept if you will combine handpicked vintage and made to last items as well as repaired and repurposed garments. So that's a cool idea, when speaking of sustainability in fashion."
Address: Nordre gate 20
"This is a Norwegian independent multi-brand store with a great selection of menswear, sneakers, accessories and also apothecary products. Dapper is founder owned and run, which I think makes the selection even more sharply curated. Dapper also has a bar here at the Grünerløkka branch, and in Oslobukta they even have their own bistro."
Address: Schous Plass 7 A
"This little interior shop in the south of Grünerløkka nearby the Deichmanske library is carefully curated by the stylist duo Kråkvik & D’Orazio. Here you’ll find both interior, furniture, lighting and small objects such as handcrafted ceramics."
Address: Nordre gate 13
"Just a few meters from Markveien, you will find a handpicked selection of clothes, shoes and accessories curated by owner and manager Marte Økelsrud. A multi-brand fashion store that always feels on point with brands such as A.P.C, FWSS, Skall Studio and ATP Atelier."
Address: Markveien 54
"The sisters behind this brand have taken the name from their family name. Established by parents Grete Fossen and Ørnulf Hasla in 1984, they still make their jewellery in their own workshop in Valle in Setesdal, where the family lived and worked as jewellers for generations. Anne and Gunnhild Hasla create timeless jewellery, inspired by everything from the mountains in their home village, to Pablo Picasso's Cubism."
“It's simply a unique flora of shops with vintage, second hand and small independent shops that you won't find anywhere else.”
Now, let's bring our shopping bags with us and head to Ida's last shopping tip of the day, the city centre and Oslo's high street, Karl Johan.
“Earlier, Karl Johan was a place to avoid, with souvenir shops and chain stores. Today, it has finally become the grand boulevard it should be."
There are now many different contemporary Scandinavian fashion stores located side by side in the side streets. One of these is Livid.
“Livid is a very up-and-coming brand that sells both new clothes and vintage. They also repair clothes in their workshop department in Grünerløkka."
Want more shopping tips than just clothes?
No worries, last but not the least on Ida's list today is the jewellery store Tom Wood. Located just a few blocks away.
The city centre has gone through many changes over the years. The high street, Karl Johan, which runs straight from the central station up to the Royal Palace, has been there almost since the city was founded. Throughout the ages, the buildings have mostly been reserved for prominent businesses, restaurants and hotels, and in recent times both Norwegian and foreign chain stores that have been able to afford the exclusive location.
In the last decades, however, the street was filled with more souvenir shops and low-price chains, which made many of the city's inhabitants go shopping in other places. Then, a couple of years ago the tables turned again when many of the buildings in central Oslo were renovated, more and more Norwegian designers experienced international success, and more customers entered the luxury market.
This has in turn drawn more large international brands to the capital, and slowly but steadily transformed Oslo into the shopping destination it is today.
"International luxury fashion houses choose Oslo. It's of course not accidental. The market for luxury fashion is large here. Louis Vuitton has opened its flagship store in the Nordics here. Dior's first shop in Scandinavia is in Oslo, with Chanel just around the corner," says Ida.
You can now find brands such as Chanel, Dior, Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Burberry, Bottega Veneta, Jimmy Choo and Acne Studios like pearls on a string on the side streets along Karl Johan.
Address: Prinsens gate 3 B
"Livid was started in Trondheim, and they now have this store in the centre of Oslo and a workshop, PAST, in Grünerløkka. You can buy second hand here, as well as new top-quality items from their own brand, where the best of Japanese fabric construction meets the classic silhouettes of contemporary Scandinavian design. This is truly one of the hottest brands in Norway right now, with an international potential."
Address: Prinsens gate 6
"Right across the street from Livid, you'll find JF Curated. Marte, who is the founder of this store, aims to take the mass production out of fashion. She has a very strong focus on sustainability, and everything that passes through her doors must have a transparent value chain. The shop stands for green fashion and works for a greener industry by focusing on quality, a strong vision, and the option of tweaking and taking part in creating your own product."
Address: Øvre Slottsgate 8
"The brand was started by the Norwegian couple Mona and Morten, making rings and jewellery. Tom Wood has already had success internationally, being especially big in Japan. After a foray into clothes, they now again focus solely on jewellery based on the concept of timelessness, handcrafted work, simplicity, and Scandinavian functionalism."
In addition to sharing her three favourite shopping areas in the city, Ida also wants to give a shout out to a few more selected areas and stores that she really loves. Enjoy!
This is first and foremost an upper class neighbourhood, characterised by fine tenements from the end of the 19th century. The area is also home to small cafés, restaurants, and a few shops.
Julie Josephine Essentials:
Address: Frognerveien 4
"The Norwegian designer, Julie Blystad, is behind the clothing brand Julie Josephine, and has her own shop in Frognerveien, which also contains a studio and showroom. Blystad has been very successful in perfecting classic shirts and t-shirts, but has later expanded to include pretty much all the wardrobe essentials."
Address: Frognerveien 4
"Den Dama is a popular concept store in Frogner. It has been here since 1994, and carries brands such as Saks Potts, Rotate, and Envelope1976."
The Majorstuen area is close to Frogner. Like Frogner, there are also lot of flats here, but a lot more shops and businesses, especially around Bogstadveien, one of its main streets.
Moniker Oslo, at Valkyrien shopping centre:
Address: Valkyriegata 3
"One of Oslo's coolest concept stores is located here. It's a real fashion universe that has perhaps Norway's best selection of clothes, shoes, and accessories from both Norwegian, Scandinavian, and international brands. The fashion couple who founded the shop, Anette Ringstad Jalland and Jørgen Jalland, are also behind Moniker Sport in Skøyen in Oslo, and Moniker Man, which is also located in the Valkyrien shopping center. Moniker, which means nickname, has five different "zones" all inspired by five strong women with each their own distinctive style and personality, including Grace Jones and Jane Birkin."
Address: Sorgenfrigata 16
"Just across the street from Valkyrien, we find Sorgenfri. The Oslo concept was started by Norwegian designer Ingrid Bredholt and landscape architect Vaar Bothner back in 2019, as a "fashion reaction to fast fashion and retail looks". In addition to the shop and gallery, you will also find a small café. Here, you will find products and pieces by artists and designers working in Norway, in addition to a curated vintage selection."
“The market for luxury fashion is large here. Louis Vuitton has opened its biggest flagship store in the Nordics here. Dior's first shop in Scandinavia is in Oslo, with Chanel just around the corner.”
Wondering what treasures await you in Oslo?
Shop til you drop in Oslo!
Check out other things you can do in Oslo
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