Dark Religion

Dark Religion

Kyrja has quickly become a basic fixture on the Icelandic fashion scene, gaining recognition for her designs that blur the borders of femininity and androgyny. With her regal and dark vision, designer Sif creates gorgeous clean cut silhouettes that are a must-have in every fashionable closet. The essence of Kyrja feels almost religious which goes perfectly with the name of the brand, which translates the act of chanting. The juxtaposition of Kyrja is that the minimalistic and harsh cut of the clothing belies their soft feel.


Designer Sif studied fashion design far from her homeland in the Italian city of Milano. While finishing her studies, Sif took on a full-time internship at Italian fashion house Vivetta. This was an ambitious move, which meant she was working during her final school exams, but it offered a huge boon to her learning experience. After Italy, the young designer shifted her focus towards London. She moved to the UK in late 2011 where she interned for the lingerie company Luolou loves you then later at prominent men’s fashion label Agi & Sam. A few months after her move, the first ideas of Kyrja were born, though the ball really started rolling when she moved into her first proper studio. Kyrja’s first collection was for fall/winter ‘13.


Designer Sif doesn’t know the exact moment she first became interested in fashion, but vividly remembers planning trips to Paris with her grandmother at the age of thirteen to stake out the fashion design school she had her young heart set on. She tells us, “around 15 or 16 year old, my mother taught me how to sew a high waisted skirt in the mood of the 1950’s and I knew that there was no turning back. I was hooked on that feeling of being able to make a whole garment from just a small piece of cloth.”

Today Sif has turned that feeling into a full-time career, turning rolls of fabric into three-dimensional objects.  Her aesthetic is to create clothing for women that is both strong and soft, with emphasis on black and white. Her designs have an ease and class to them overlaying a strong nod towards goth and punk.

Sif thinks that many women are afraid to dress up for their daily activities, that they tend to feel that dresses are too formal or are too dressed up for work. “For me it really doesn’t matter if it is day or night, if I am going to a party or just basically going to the local store to pick up a sandwich. If I’m in the mood for a pretty dress, high heels and lipstick, that is what I wear. The same goes if I feel like just wearing sweatpants and a hoodie. The most important thing is that I wear what I feel like wearing each time and I am not trying to place myself in some sort of socially expected mold.” The ideology behind Kyrja is that there is nothing that should be called appropriate or inappropriate, “and clothing should never hang in the back of your closet for months, even years just because we can’t find the perfect opportunity for them. The opportunity is you and the right time is when you want it to be.”


Kyrja’s collections are usually made from natural fibers such as silk, bamboo and cotton. Sif says the reason for this is an obvious one, they have a much nicer feel to them and “breath” much better than synthetic materials. When it comes to her own design, it is important that the garments are finished with flawless execution. Sif says, “The garments have to be practical and wearable, because when push comes to shove, clothing is made to be worn.”

Kyrja just released her brand new fall/winter collection. The new collection stays true to the aesthetic of Kyrja, with loose-fitting garments that flow around the body. The silhouettes are dark and regal and have an ease to them. Every item is made with the allure of simplicity yet hidden under the surface are detailed constructions and well thought-out finishes. The truly stand-out item from the new collection is the long and dramatic dark blue mohair coat which feels like it could be your best friend for this winter. For the new collection, Sif says that there was no central concept or theme, but it is a natural progression of the evolution of Kyrja, “this time I felt like working with collars but this was a detail that I have long wanted to implement into Kyrja. I also wanted this time to play with layering, having the lengths of the garments differ and the necklines and collars in various shapes and sizes. I wanted it to be possible to layer items of the collection together thus allowing different usage and more opportunities for the customer.”


The new campaign was shot by emerging new talent, Viðar Logi. The idea was to play with opposites. Leveraging out the harsh silhouettes of the clothing with shadows and reflection. The result resembles a gothic fashion version of Whistler’s mother.

Kyrja’s clothing is sold at the collective designer store, KIOSK, which can be found at Laugavegur 65, 101 RVK.


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By: Ási Már Friðriksson

First appeared in the RFD Christmas Issue.