Arnar Mār Jōnsson Is Bringing Human Touch to Performance Wear
With each collection, emerging Icelandic designer Arnar Mār Jōnsson builds around four garment categories: jackets, shirts, anoraks and trousers. Based out of London, the namesake label – designed alongside Jōnsson’s partner, Luke Stevens – is driven to create tactical clothing that serves a purpose. “Our clothes are primarily designed to be worn, rather than being made for the sake of producing an image,” affirm the designers. “This reflects the way that we both think about dressing; it’s much more nuanced than this straight up, technical menswear thing.”
Highly tipped as one of this year’s brands to watch, Arnar Mār Jōnsson makes adaptable wardrobe staples that are “as suited to life in the city as they are to North Atlantic force winds.” Every garment is created with a dual purpose; functional enough that it can withstand extreme weather conditions, yet has the fluidity to be worn through everyday life. Convertibility and longevity are central to the brand’s approach.
Arnar Mār Jōnsson’s vision is season-less, with each collection responding to ideas explored in the one prior. Working solely in a neutral palette inspired by natural landscapes – browns, creams and putty greys mostly – the brand develops a range of construction techniques and utilises high-performance fabrics to make men’s apparel that is suited to the needs of modern lifestyles.
“We’re seeing a change in peoples’ attitudes towards consuming fashion in response to a growing awareness of its environmental impact,” says the pair. “We should be rethinking our relationship with our clothing if we’re going to address some of these issues; considering the ways in which this relationship evolves over time, through use, how well a certain piece performs, or what we’re asking of it.”
AW21 sees the designers experiment with new dyeing techniques, including black tea, iron and the Icelandic plant Beitilyng, a gruelling yet rewarding process say the designers. “We wanted to use the plants in a poetic way and naturally dye the pieces a beige-y shade of grey,” they say, explaining that at one point they had a garage full of plants as they could only pick them at certain points in the year.
There’s a transformity to these pieces: puffa coats that can be reversed into shirts and jackets that can be tucked into bags when not in use. Shell suits come with infused with fleecy inserts and nylon pull-overs are kept cosy with wadded lining, which is responsive to different environments. “Clothing designed with a specific function in mind offers both designers and consumers new ways of engaging with clothing,” says the pair. “[This is] how those around us want to dress today.”
Photography courtesy Arnar Mār Jōnsson.