Catherine Hammel has a zen presence when you meet her in person. Much like her work, she is soft-spoken, attentive and above all respectful of her surroundings. Her brand which has existed since 1997 and continues to flourish is a testament to her underlying grit and obvious talent that soothes the senses of anyone who runs into her work in Parisian cafes or Norwegian winters.
Minimalism is a value often touted as a foundational philosophy of an overwhelming number of scandi artists. And in that regard, Catherine is no different. But her longevity within the business is not a product of timidity but exceptional guile and vision. Her Oslo atelier which full of her current AW18 collection is full of that guile and clarity. From woven knits to traditional minimalist cuts to the quiet comfort of wool, the current collection provides a glimpse of the future while maintaining a strong thread firmly attached to the foundational values of the brand. Some might find some aspect of the visual esoteric and niche' and rightly so, as this is not a brand overtly concerned with mass production but wants to remain firmly on the grounds of slow fashion. The sustainable fabrics, clean and equitable supply chain are just part of the process that makes Catherine's work stand out beyond the realm of minimalism or slow fashion. It is a great case study of a fashion business completely comfortable with itself and knows what it is doing.
Visual cues taken from traditional Norwegian aesthetics and meshed into an egalitarian expression of art is probably the only way to describe Catherine's work. And as fashion becomes more egalitarian, more eco-conscious and more about diversity, Catherine's work just might finally fit into an eco-system that fully comprehends the gravity of her omnipresence through the means of talent and grit. Catherine's work may be Norwegian but her appeal is surely global.
Photographs Courtesy of Oslo Runway