How to buy an Icelandic sweater

You are in Iceland and you, of course, want to buy  traditional Icelandic sweater (lopapeysa) as they are forever on trend and will totally remind you of your time in Iceland forever. One issue I had, which I did not predict, is how expensive a lopapeysa actually is. I was looking at spending around £200 on a sweater, which I may not actually wear that much. Though England is cold, it doesn’t quite reach the dizzying lows and brisk chills that Iceland experiences. As far as I can see, there are four options for purchasing your own sweater. Of course, I only speak from my own time in Iceland – this list is not necessarily an exhaustive one.

  1. Buy a hand knitted item from a shop
    Handknitting Association of Iceland shops dot the streets of Reykjavik. You can spot a HAoI retailer as their plaque will emblazon the exterior of the storefront. A sweater from one of these shops will set you back anything between $170 and $300, which is quite a hole to burn in your pocket. The jumpers themselves are plentiful in design, colour and size within the stores and their assistants are very happy to help you!
  2. Buy a mass produced item from a shop
    You  can find the traditional Icelandic sweater in other stores, not just the HAoI. One such shop is Nordic Store and you will see them all over the city, this is the only shop of this kind I actually visited myself. The prices here are far more reasonable, ranging from $100 and $130, however you do not have the assurance of a handmade item and a lot of locals actually said the sweaters are not actually made in Iceland.
  3. Go to the market
    Kolapotid Flea Market is an indoor market residing at the Old Harbour, it is open for business at the weekend. Within the market you can find lots of clothing, souvenirs and a whole host of preloved items at bargain prices. Unfortunately, you do not have the guarantee that you will find a suitable lopapeysa – but if you do, snap it up! Even if you can’t find the jumper of dreams, the market is worth a visit.
  4. Treasure hunt in a charity shop
    There are a few Red Cross charity shops located in Reykjavik, two of which are on the main shopping street which is simply so convenient if you want to compare stock. In the larger of the two stores, I didn’t find any knitwear. The cupboard was bare! In the smaller shop, I found approximately ten jumpers which were of fabulous quality. The assistant also assured me that they were handmade and donated by local people. I was sold, I bought a gorgeous sweater for $50. Perfect.

Lastly, I did hear about a fifth option. However, I have not explored this myself and I have no pearls to share with you. You can actually find a knitter in Iceland to make your very own lopapseya – I am not sure what channels you would need to traverse to select this option, but a sweater with a story is a magical thing. If you have more time than I did, you could research this further.


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