The brand’s design duo T-Michael and Alexander Helle are on a dry run in the UK.
Why did you set up Norwegian Rain?
T-Michael: Bergen [the pair’s hometown] is situated between seven mountains - clouds get locked in and precipitation is extremely high.
It rains on two out of every three days. We made a decision to cope stylistically with this.
Alexander Helle: It’s simply a solution to our life in rain. As Michael used to say, we don’t want to have to wait for the third day to look proper.
How did you meet?
T-M: Alexander dropped by my tailoring studio some years back and enquired if I was interested in doing raincoats with him. He was then a student and a customer of mine. I declined politely the first few times. But this chap was persistent in a diplomatic sort of way. Eventually we sat down. I set the parameters around tailoring and my love for fabrics and texture, and luckily we both shared the values, aesthetics and drive. It’s a fusion between traditional tailoring, high-tech performance fabrics and Japanese sensibility, creating raincoats that keep you dry without looking like raincoats.
Tell us about the retail concept you’re launching in the UK.
T-M: We have an exciting collaboration with Harvey Nichols in London starting in mid-November which is a riff on a shop-in-shop. That will move and evolve into a concept store in Berwick Street in Soho in the new year, after London Collections: Men. It’s a meeting between Norwegian Rain and The Coal Project by Art Comes First (ACF), a group of creatives. Everyone involved brings to the table something that complements the other pieces and vice versa: Super Duper handmade hats, Lotho handmade sunglasses, one-off shirts by Sebastian Dollinger from Eton Shirts, special pieces from ACF, a Kalaf Angelo book and bags and shoes from my own line.
Can you share anything about your forthcoming autumn 14 collaboration with designer Mihara Yasuhiro?
AH: It’s still early to jump too much on that train. But it is an inspiring process. We are big fans of Mr Mihara. It started out very naturally. He randomly stopped by our booth at [Paris trade show] Tranoï and gave us lot of praise for our collection.
The admiration was mutual.
If you could change one thing about the fashion industry, what would it be and why?
AH: It would be a global dugnad [an old Norwegian term for working together towards a common goal], where we all worked to be eco-friendly on every level.
How do you relax after a long day?
T-M: A good meal, a chat with friends and sometimes a good single malt whisky and cigar can work wonders!
AH: I just became a father. So just staring at the newborn is how I find inner calm. A baby is natural science fiction.
What’s the most embarrassing fashion item you’ve ever bought?
T-M: Cycling shorts back in the late 1980s. Disaster! I can almost hear Soul II Soul blaring in the background.
AH: A pink and blue tie that I thought was quite punk some years back. It’s not really punk. And it’s not really nice.
Apart from fashion, what are your passions?
T-M: Quirky old objects, films and my two kids.
AH: Right now, it’s all about Norwegian Rain, with a dash of baby time, which is nothing but fantastic. But if I can I try to squeeze in art during my week. That’s my time for reflection.
What’s your favourite place in the world to hang out?
AH: Paris for the charm. London for the creativity. Bergen for the people.