66 North and Iceland’s Concept of “Ulpa” vs Consumerism

When Hans Kristjánsson started 66°North almost 100 years ago, Iceland was one of the poorest countries in the world. In the economic slump of WWI, his brand saved lives by clothing hardworking fishermen, farmers, and other tradespeople in outerwear that shielded them from the North Atlantic’s most extreme elements. Ice, sideways rain, sub freezing temps, you name it.

Icelanders back then weren’t splurging on fashion when surviving was priority. Many of them had just one jacket, but many different uses for it—an essential multi-functional layer known for hundreds of years among the people of Iceland as úlpa.

“Growing up as a kid in Iceland, when your mother or father was helping you get to school they would look out the window and say, ‘Oh, you need to take your úlpa,’” Helgi Oskarsson, co-owner and CEO of 66°North, tells me. “It’s not just enough to take your jacket. It’s an etch above.”

Source: https://www.fieldmag.com/articles/icelandic-concept-ulpa-66north