Discover a life shaped through constant exposure to the extreme wilds of the North Sea. A community preserving traditions of the past and adopting new practices to navigate the present day by working with nature, rather than against it.
Roughly 170 km from mainland Scotland and 220 km west of Norway, we find the historical colony of the Vikings, Shetland — previously serving as a conduit for trade between Denmark, Greenland and the wider North. Remnants of this period remain to remind visitors of past traditions: ruins of crofters cottages now clad in lichen, dormant böds and bothies previously shelters for fishermen while the banks of peat used for winter fuel and the loosely piled drystone stone walls raised by human hand scatter the islands hills and coastal cliff landscapes.
These islands have a primal bleakness and ruggedness, with a vast and ever-receding horizon punctuated by rolling hills and broken by dramatic sea stacks — the waters of the North Sea isolating it entirely from the mainland. With dry stone walls spread like a net over the rocky island and whose form and feeling are relics of an ancient craft still maintained by those who remain. Here past and present are one.
This pervading mentality of respect for tradition and pursuit of innovation serves as a point of congruence between Norse Projects and the very islanders who are captured across the Islands they call home. Throughout this expedition, a common thread continued to be drawn among encountered locals, be they born and bred islanders or those who had found themselves in Shetland and were compelled to stay. This shared feeling among the community could be defined in the traditional shetland language of Norn as “Bonhoga” — the feeling of finding a spiritual home.
On Northern Isles is our celebration of North Sea island life; encapsulated in the island’s crofters, the wool, and the enduring knitwear styles that they provide. This shared focus on craft and utility informs the continuation of our enduring Birnir style; our contemporary interpretation of the traditional shetland knit and Fairisle pattern. These pieces, fully constructed in Scotland at renowned supplier Harley’s using Scottish lambswool, all utilise Harley’s trademark seamless tubular knitting technique, which allows us to create a more comfortable garment and improved range of motion for the wearer.
These pieces convey a sentiment of comfort through a minimalistic yet rugged approach. There is an ambiguously timeless allure, nodding to the traditional craft of Shetland knitwear with their brushed nature offering gentle, deliberate imperfections. To this end, each piece retains a deep colouring of mixed yarns to create a varied and complex tone that develops upon closer inspection.