Frímann Frímannson is a big fan of modern fabrics. You know, Gore-Tex. Fleece. But linger around the hot spots of 101 Reykjavík for a while and you are more likely to recognise the hippest man in Reykjavík by his pointed leather boots, skinny jeans and carefree floppy coif. All in black.
He may seem unapproachably hip at the outset, but that’s not really his fault. In fact, though he’s widely known, Frímann insists that he keeps to himself, asserting “I’m not really a hipster.”
Into his shoebox of an apartment on Laugavegur where he hibernates until an hour most consider quitting-time, Frímann has crammed a record collection so eclectic that listening to him play DJ is like stepping in the mind of a schizophrenic. In a good way. Tad’s sludgy sound and lyrics to make mothers blush merge into Threepenny Opera ditties with charming thumps at steady increments when the player’s needle meets an unfortunate crack in the vinyl. The erratic playlist compliments the meticulously cluttered space, decorated by Frímann with his own comical art in antique frames, and box upon box of his most cherished comic books.
The comic book Swampthing, about a humanoid mass of vegetable matter fighting to protect its swamp home, was even the primary motivation for Frímann’s vegetarianism. “It really makes the point that all living things are the same thing. If you spit on the earth you spit on mankind.”
In a room decorated with autographed posters and headshots of Páll Óskar and Toby McGuire, Frímann rhymes off some of his favourite Reykjavík retail establishments. “I like the records at Geisladiskabúð Valda, the antiques at Fríða Frænka, the comics at Nexus, and the atmosphere at Bakkus,” he continues, rightfully pointing out the oft too short lifespan of 101 shops. “New stores open and close down again before I have a chance to check them out. I hate that.”
Frímann is also a big fan of the clothes at Belleville. “They have really interesting crazy stuff and designers like Bernhard Willhelm — he does really cool things.” The German designer is renowned for his off-the-wall aesthetic, so it’s no wonder that this quirky third culture kid is drawn to his label. Just as Frímann is an amalgamation of his Icelandic and Thai backgrounds, Bernhard Willhelm tosses together a bit of whimsy and draping with clean tailoring and just a hint of hobo–chic. The attraction is understandable.
Advice for visitors? Matching gaudy parkas and one-piece snowsuits significantly subtract from the hip. “Just don’t wear those big jackets. They’re really unnecessary,” Frímann advises. “Wear a pea coat instead. A green one if you have it. And pointy boots. They’re good to dance in and they can cause some damage.”
Frímann graciously woke up to be interviewed January 27th by Catharine Fulton, a staff writer and one helluva nice broad. Photos by Rebecca Moran
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