Originally featured in Document
Increasingly, if you’re not in Milan or Paris, the very concept of a runway show feels outdated. At least it’s probably not the greatest idea. It’s all about presentations in Chinatown restaurants, sweaty mosh-pits in Irving Plaza, or screening parties in Bushwick, where Telfar’s VIPs ate White Castle burgers and watched a short film scripted by Jeremy O. Harris. The new guard of designers often operates more like an art collective—and the women behind a buzzy new fashion venture in Oslo are taking note. Two weeks ago in the Norwegian capital mostly known for midnight sun and oil money, the inaugural edition of Fushion festival was launched by Hilde Pettersen Reljin (CEO, Collective Oslo Fashion Art Festival) and Ditte Kristensen (CEO, Oslo Runway). From August 28-30, Norwegian fashion designers collaborated with local and international artists to hold presentations, street-level concerts, and even a ‘sustainable art rave,’ marking a cultural shift away from the traditional closed-door model.
“For the younger generation, they live through their phone. Everything is mixed,” said Hilde, who spent 18 years in New York working for art world behemoths like Gagosian and Jeffrey Deitch. “You don’t just follow fashion, you don’t just follow art, it’s everything that you gain inspiration from,” Ditte added. On the last night before the shows, we were all sitting in a roomy booth in Youngs, a spacious pizza restaurant that had been converted into the festival’s main hub, as crates of champagne glasses were being hauled in for the following night’s Epson Award party. The award would end up going to Michael Olestad, the ex-Acne Studios designer whose three-year-old namesake label offers a conceptual, subversive spin on Scandinavian femininity. (In Youngs’s basement two days later, Olestad’s new campaign photos by Jakob Landvik were installed by a moody procession of models in sunglasses and business suits.) Hilde and Ditte had somehow convinced the restaurant to sanction a basement rave by an artist known as KlimaKunst, who had Oslo’s top DJs spinning until 3am. “It’s basically rave parties with art,” Hilde explained. “All their art is sustainable. [KlimaKunst creator Truls Berg-Hansen] didn’t even want to print on our paper because we use Epson.”