March 19th 2020

At the Intersection of Style and Function

Text by Jules Reitan
Video by Leonard Nyborg
Photos by Kat Gade

Norwegian Rain create outerwear
not meant to be saved for a rainy day.

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– We like to think that the form is why you appreciate the clothing, and the function is what makes you realize that we have thought about everything, so you don’t have to. Says Alexander Helle, Norwegian Rain’s creative director.

With its sharp tailoring equipped with effortlessly hidden high-tech elements, designer T-Michael and Helle have set the standards for the modern raincoat together. Established in 2010, the brand celebrates 10 years of staying true to their philosophy, showing people that a waterproof jacket shouldn’t just be practical. 

The different backgrounds of bespoke tailor T-Michael and business graduate Alexander Helle has created a solid partnership where they build on each other’s knowledge. They are both ambitious with a unified drive, resulting in a brand with a strong identity.

– Our designs are not complete until we have a conversation about it. To us, it is not just about designing something, but it is about designing something that will also have the functional parts, such as being waterproof, breathable and stand the test of time. When the design part is done, then we need to make it functional, because we don’t compromise design for functionality or vice versa. We find ways where we can make both things to work in a symbiotic kind of way. Says T-Michael.

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With retailers all over the world, Japan is by far their biggest market. This country has been there since the beginning, and T-Michael explains that this might be linked to the brand’s Japanese influence:

– Japan has caught on to our ideas, concept and ethos and they buy into it. I think they get it intuitively because they are a group of people that are very concerned about the quality and design aspects and they understand what we do. We pick up a lot of inspiration from that country so to get that love back is very fascinating.”

When asked what is more important; functionality or design? Alexander Helle explains: 

– They are married. It is as simple as that. If there is no function, it’s not Norwegian Rain. If it’s only design, it’s not Norwegian Rain. Both have to be present.

Not compromising either aspect lays the ground for designs that you would want to wear no matter what weather. If it suddenly starts to pour down, you’re already armed with the technology you need.

 – We live in the rainiest city in Europe, which means that we experience the rain almost every day. That being said, we don’t want the weather to be dictating how we feel and how we dress. If you have to change the way you dress it will affect your mood negatively. Hopefully our designs will lead to the opposite, making you feel like a ninja in the rain. Alexander Helle adds.

With a focus on diversity, Norwegian Rain presents a range of varied silhouettes, saying the last thing they want to create is a typical Norwegian Rain man or woman:

– When we design our collections, we think a lot about the fact that regardless of if you are thin or tall, if you are a conservative or eclectic person, everyone should be able to find a piece they like in our collections. Our mission is for you to enhance who you are, and make that garment fit into your everyday life. Says Alexander Helle, and T-Michael adds:

– The common denominator is the fact that everything is cut to accentuate the human body. It is cut to make you feel that you got something that keeps you where you are supposed to be in a way. No matter what size you are, it doesn’t really make any difference, because the balance in the proportions and silhouette is all in there, and this is what makes the garment what it is.

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The relationship between form and function is the essence of Norwegian Rain, but having a sustainable approach is also an important part of their ethos.

– We are always looking for the best manufacturers, suppliers and factories to work with. Every time we find the right fabric without being detrimental to the environment, we will choose that. But from a small company’s point of view, it is extremely difficult, and it is easier said than done, to be sustainable. Says T-Michael.

Working in a sustainable way has been a key focus since the beginning, where making eco-friendly decisions has been just as an important part as finding quality, waterproof fabrics. This is something they always want to work to improve.

–We always ask ourselves “is this the most sustainable solution?”. When we started out there was not much relevant eco-knowledge out there, but especially in the last 9 months there has become so much more available knowledge about how we can produce in the most optimal way.” Alexander Helle adds.

2020 marks Norwegian Rain’s 10th year anniversary, which they will celebrate by dropping one limited edition waterproof piece each month. This collection includes shoes, a special edition of their waterproof rucksack and even a waterproof leather jacket.

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