As a self-proclaimed AFROPEAN (culturally African / European hybrid). I love sharing culture and style from other AFROPEANS in Europe, Africa and beyond.
One of my favourite places for style inspiration is Oslo, Norway. I recently blogged about my stay in ‘A couple of Nights in Norway’ and now I want to talk about Norwegian style and why I love it for both presentation and principle.
The differences between London & Oslo style
Then there’s this little thing called janteloven
In Norway there’s something called Janteloven. It’s an unwritten rule that generally means you shouldn’t think you’re better than anyone else. So if you’re talented, super rich or super sexy … don’t show it! Whilst it is not as noticeable as it used to be, it’s still underlying in the Norwegian culture. I found that style wise, most Norwegians were hesitant to stand out with what they wear, which is very different to what I’m used to in both African and British fashion. Particularly in London, I love to stand out, but in Oslo, I tried to blend in as it seemed more like ‘the norm’.
The distinctive Norwegian look = Practical Glamour
I found Oslo to be very trend led, and driving through Bogstadveien, one of the main shopping streets in Oslo, you can easily spot 30 people wearing the same outfit in 5 minutes. I didn’t like uniformity, but I guess it’s the result of a cold climate. A thick coat, woolly hat, characterised by jeans and jewellery is the Norwegian staple.
Working and generally interacting with people
I use the term ‘working’ lightly as I was only working there for three days. Nevertheless, the Jante law holds true in professional and personal settings, and markedly different to British and Ugandan culture, whereby a person’s professional role is often used to determine opinions and make judgements. The Norwegian’s didn’t introduce themselves by what they do or define themselves by their job title. I found that quite refreshing as it opens to door to know about the person first, and work later.
Don’t forget to count your flowers…
I also learnt that if you’re invited for a meal at a Norwegian home, you must always be punctual, and if you bring your host flowers, make sure there isn’t an even numbers of flowers. This is considered disrespectful according to ancient tradition, apparently!