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Fashion talks

In conversation with Line Varner of Line of Oslo

Oslo Runway Fashion Talks by Anna Skavlan

Line Varner knows how to sell clothing. In an increasingly competitive industry, her brand Line of Oslo is selling better for each year and showing no signs of stopping anytime soon. Perhaps she has picked up a few secrets from the Varner conglomerate, but in the end,  I think she is just really good at what she does. I try to find out her secret to success below.

You have called your recent collection MOVE ON. Why is that?

It emerged during a challenging time that inspired me to think about how the world and that the people who inhabit it should be in focus. In this time, we have been forced to stop and think, and it has become natural for me to develop the sustainable part of the Line of Oslo. We have a planet that needs us to take more responsibility and take care of it and each other. Proximity to nature and other people has become even more important.

This philosophy is present in your current collection, as it is your most sustainable yet. What measures are Line of Oslo taking towards sustainability?

There is only one way - take care of our earth. Our goal is to as sustainable as possible. We work towards sustainability in all stages, from production to our choice of textiles. We are using recycled materials, 100% sustainable linen and viscose, BCI cotton and Tencel. We try to be sustainable when it comes to shipping and packing our products in biodegradable packaging. As we say it at Line of Oslo, we try to have a sustainable gold thread that goes through all parts of our production. The clothing we have not sold at the end of the season is donated to the organization Ung Norge that helps children who have had or have a rough start in life.

Line of Oslo has been in the industry for a relatively long time now - soon closing in on fifteen years. Have you seen any major change in our local industry in the past years?

Yes, I would say that. The biggest change since I started Line of Oslo 13 years ago, is the amount of great new designers and brands that have launched, and we are now in a much better position internationally. Other countries are now looking at Norway as an interesting player - this was unheard of in 2007.

You’ve been in the industry even longer, and you are a part of one of the most prominent families in the Norwegian retail and fashion industry. What is the most important lesson you have learned about starting and running your own brand?

Simply that you must have a product that is not on the market from before. A clear profile that doesn’t already exist. Then, 98% is hard work, and the rest is Möet Ice. Have deep respect for other people, customers and competing brands. Be kind, always!

The 2% Möet Ice in the recipe for success is a great way of emphasizing that fashion should be fun. If you think about it, everything can be more fun. And Line of Oslo seems like a brand that is always thinking about just that. How do you find the balance between business and pleasure in your job? Can fashion be too much of either?

Fashion is a lifestyle, and as you mention it’s important to find the right balance. I have a lot of passion for fashion, something that makes the job fun. It doesn’t always feel like work, despite having to remind yourself to have fun during the most stressful periods. Stop and remind us that what we do is fun!

To what do you owe your success?

Teamwork is everything! Thanks to the best girl power-team at Line of Oslo!

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What does Oslo Runway mean to you? Why have you chosen to be a part of this platform?

Oslo Runway has a lot of the credit for the fact that we are now visible in the world. They have been cheering for Norwegian design since the very beginning. Oslo Runway is the most important platform to showcase the brand to the press, both at home and abroad, in a professional way.

What separates your brand from much of the lineup atOslo Runway, is your very modern and simplistic approach to design. Line ofOslo strikes me as a brand for every day, working women who want to confidently put on well crafted, basic, yet stylish outfits. There is a sense off a miliarity with your clothing that is very inviting, and your impressive financial results have proved this approach to be very successful. What made you go in this direction with your design?

My wish has always been that everyone should feel good in Line Of Oslo. Feel good every day, as we say. My goal is that everyone can find at least one garment in the collection. I wanted it to be a reasonably priced, complementary brand to what was already on the market. I am 100% focused on fit and qualities. If you feel good, you perform better.

One of the most prominent looks from your current collection is a t-shirt with the word “Sister” written across the chest. Why is this word important to you?

The desire for all women to stand together as sisters, cheering each other on and supporting each other.

Does this idea of unity trickle down into the company’s stand on diversity and inclusivity?

Our desire has always been to sell to all women of all sizes, shapes, backgrounds and ages. Strong women lift each other up. We are stronger if we stand together.

As a brand with a major platform, do you feel a pressure to be political?

I want to cheer on and promote women. This has been apart of the whole I culture in Line of Oslo, ever since the beginning, and has always been important to me and is a part of Line of Oslo’s DNA.

If Norwegian fashion was a meal, what ingredient is Line of Oslo?

Moët Ice, Popcorn, Coconut Buns