Designing the Future

Since the concept first saw the light of day in 2015, Bik Bok Runway Award has become an important stepping stone for aspiring Norwegian fashion designers. This year is no different, and the five design talents Merilin Kolk, Bror August, HAiKw/, O-F-C and Søster Studio will showcase their work at Oslo Runway later this week.

As project director Tove Sivertsen says: «The young talents are the future». But what does the future hold for an industry that is subject to a growing concern regarding its relation to environmental issues, equality and mass consumption? We called up the finalists—tomorrow’s fashion designers—to get a take on their hopes for the future. 

Maybe it is not so much about brilliant design, but rather being able to contribute to change.
— Øyvind Ruud, O-F-C

"I am concerned about the massive waste as a result of the fast fashion culture, and it's environmental impact. The wastefulness encouraged by buying cheap and chasing the trends," says Merilin Kolk, who recently graduated from the National Academy of the Arts in Oslo.

Needless to say, they're all nominated as a result of supreme craft and strong eyes for design, but a solid sustainable approach has an undeniable presence amongst the finalists. 

"In ten years I hope the fashion industry has successfully applied a circular economy, and is a leader in sustainability across industries. I also hope to see more female CEOs, more diversity and that transparency and sustainability will be the rule, not the exception," says Pernille Nadine at Søster Studio.  

"I think by creating something, you have an opportunity to make positive impact in the way you are doing it,» says Øyvind Ruud at O-F-C. «Maybe it is not so much about brilliant design, but rather being able to contribute to change.» 

HAiKw/ SS17. Photography by Indigital Images.

HAiKw/ applauds the ethical focus that has grown throughout the industry over the last decade, but is still waiting for the industry as a whole to address the growing issue of over-consumption and the out-of-sync value system. And similarly to the other finalists, HAiKw/ has a conscious approach to production and and mass consumption. 

“Yes, we make products — but we carefully infuse value in all stages of the process. By this we stand in stark contrast to the way the fashion industry has degraded clothing into commodity, says Harald Lunde Helgesen, founder of HAiKw/.

In only a few days the finalists will showcase their new collections on the runway. One of them will walk away as the winner of a mentorship as well as funding for their future endeavours. All of them will either see their designs worn by buyers, or stacked in a storage room—a story which repeats itself for each season. And so the obvious question goes: Why make more stuff in a world full of brilliant design? Bror August puts it efficiently accurate: 

“I think one of the best ways to design is to ask yourself what is needed out there — if you feel like you aren’t adding anything, you shouldn’t.”

Big Bok Runway Awards goes down August 16th at Bankplassen 4 in Oslo, Norway.
Good luck guys!

Design by Bror August. Photo: Benjamin Barron

Design by Merilin Kolk. Photo: Roger Fosaas

Design by O-F-C. Photo: Kim Jakobsen To

Design by Søster Studio. Photo: Carlijn Jacobs