A New Type of Imprint is far from the only measure made for Norwegian design these days. A lot of wonderful arenas, spearheaded by individuals with a strong vision and lofty ambitions, continue to pave the way for a stronger and more viable creative industry.

Did you know that before Norway discovered the oil in the ‘70s, creativity and design flourished? It all changed when the government decided to spend all their money and resources on oil — which eventually made the country rich. Rich in terms of money, but not in design nor in culture. 

Fortunately this is changing as we speak and Norwegian design is growing stronger every minute, both at home and internationally. This was one of the ambitions of Ditte Kristensen and This is PR when they founded Oslo Runway in 2015. They wanted to create a more professional fashion arena, where designers can showcase their upcoming collections to press, buyers and influencers. Next week Oslo Runway will open its doors for the fourth time and we had a chat with Ditte about her expectations for the event and why it is an important arena for the industry as a whole.

Ditte Kristensen, Project Manager

Ditte Kristensen, Project Manager

What are your thoughts on the last seasons of Oslo Runway? Have you been happy with the result and turnout? Was there someone you missed?
Yes, the turnout was really great, we were able to spread the word further and we received a lot of attention in national and international media. Personally, and I’m probably the only one on the team because I’m Danish, a highlight has been the fact that Crown Princess Mary of Denmark comes to many of the shows. This generates a lot of attention and strengthens Denmark’s fashion industry. I wish someone from the Norwegian Royal family would turn up and support Oslo Runway as well. 

After last season, you told the press that you needed financial support. Did anyone respond to this message?
Many! We still have a long way to go, but our courage and ambition is as strong as ever, and we learn as much as possible along the way. 

Who were you hoping to reach with that statement? What are your thoughts on the fact that Innovation Norway does not support these kinds of projects?
Yes, I’m speaking directly to Innovation Norway, Oslo Municipality, Art Council Norway and the Chamber of Commerce. As I’ve said before, the Norwegian fashion industry as a profession is not considered a part of Norwegian culture, nor is it strong enough as an industry for events like Oslo Runway to be supported. What we are trying to explain, and I think we’re getting better at it all the time, is the fact that the Norwegian fashion industry needs an arena like Oslo Runway. And we need the financial support to further improve it. 

Why is it important to have an arena like Oslo Runway?
I personally think that an arena like Oslo Runway is a crucial part of building a stronger industry. It creates attention. Economically it’s more efficient for the brands, as it generates attention both at home and abroad — instead of having to fight for attention against bigger and stronger brands on their home turf. It’s simple mathematics, really. 

Where do you want to see the Norwegian fashion industry in the future?
I want the industry to become its own entity, rather than focusing on and competing with other countries. We should be proud of what we stand for. Norwegian design is fantastic, we should stand together as a united force to show the world how wonderful we are! To create a viable economy in the fashion industry — we both can and will make it happen. 

Videos from earlier seasons: