The sun may be starting to edge out but, if there’s one thing Brits know, it’s never trust a British spring. And if there’s one thing Norwegians know, it’s that there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. In case it starts to rain, there are few better places to turn to for waterproof togs and accessories than Norway, home to Bergen, the wettest city in Europe.
Fitted high performance raincoats; water-resistant nylon holdalls; classic natural rubber loafers in a collection of delicious colourways: Oslo-based SWIMS has it all. Silhouettes are trim and immaculate, cut from polyurethane membrane fabric or nylon. ‘Growing up in Norway, I never let go of the black rubber galoshes my late grandfather passed on to me,’ says founder Johan R. Galoshes – or overshoes became the brand’s first product, still available today. We like the Mobster galosh, a smart neoprene high top in matt black. http://www.swims.com/ @SWIMSofficial
Skogstad’s philosophy is simple. Nature is there to be enjoyed – if it’s enjoyed, it’s more likely to be valued and taken care of – and there is no better way to do so than in the company of friends and family, including children. The family business makes sleek down jackets and parkas, ski trousers, base layers, fleece clothing and hats, scarves and mittens in every size you’ll ever need. The technical clothing is waterproofed to 8000mm, ready for the very worst downpour that us Brits will ever experience. Your little ones are sorted. www.skogstad.co.uk/ @SkogstadUK
In many ways, pioneering label Norwegian Rain woke the outside world up to the excitement not just of rainwear, but of Norwegian design. From sweeping military-inspired overcoats to noirish capes, Norwegian Rain’s outerwear is dramatic and edgy, inspired by Romantic heroes. Elegantly functional detailing (horn buttons, heat-sealed seams, front edge water tunnels) offer some of the highest level weather protection around. No surprise really that both the brand’s founders hail from Bergen, one of the wettest cities in Europe. http://norwegianrain.com/ @NorwegianRain
Anyone who does anything snow, sea or mountain-related will know Helly Hansen, arguably the most high profile outdoor clothing label to hail from Norway. It’s worn by more than 30,000 sailors, mountain guides and ski patrollers around the world. And it’s not just professionals who are likely to impressed: Helly Hansen’s belted trenches look just as pretty on city streets as they do in the mountains. The brand loves rain so much, it recently ran an instagram competition with just that hashtag. The prize? A trip to Bergen…. http://www.hellyhansen.com @HellyHansen
There’s something about Bergen’s climate that inspires designers. But if Norwegian Rain looks to vintage silhouettes for its approach, another Bergen-born label looks to colour. Lisbeth Lilleboe’s rainwear collection, Blæst, offers pretty trenches in bright hues, with tags and buttons in contrasting colour and hoods and umbrellas in monochromatic stripes. Don’t let the patterns deceive you, however; the jackets do the job, whatever the weather, and in 2008, won the Good Design award from the Norwegian Design Council. http://www.bylilleboe.no/
Illustration: Sara Gelfren