Photo of a folk costume, courtesy of Fredy Clue. Photo / Elisabeth Jubelin/ELLIEGANZA

Iceland’s First Non-Binary Folk Costume Weaves a Future of Inclusivity

A groundbreaking cultural event is set to weave a vibrant thread through the heart of Icelandic tradition by introducing the country’s first non-binary folk costume. Spearheaded by local organizer Anna Karen and internationally acclaimed non-binary activist Fredy Clue, this innovative project aims to challenge traditional gender norms and foster a more inclusive cultural landscape.

Local organizer Anna Karen, here seen representing Reykjavík’s Traditional Dance Society Þjóðdansafélag Reykjavíkur at The Europeade dance festival in Gotha, Germany.

Folk costumes in Iceland, much like in many countries, have long been shackled by rigid gender norms, a reflection of a time when the broader Western world hesitated to acknowledge diverse genders beyond the traditional binary spectrum of men and women. The fabric of these costumes is woven with the threads of a bygone era, a time when the concept of gender expression was confined to a narrow binary narrative.

The introduction of a non-binary or unisex folk costume signifies a bold departure from this historical constraint, unfurling the tapestry of our rich cultural heritage to embrace individuals who identify as non-binary or simply reject the confines of traditional gender norms. This isn’t merely about attire; it’s a proclamation, a stance against the limitations imposed by gender binaries.

This event series is a call to action for everyone interested in the future of Icelandic folk costumes. Through participation, we hope to inspire the creation of non-binary costumes, enriching our cultural heritage with diversity and inclusivity.

Traditional folk costumes are intrinsically tied to a country’s history and identity, a narrative steeped in binary and heterosexual conventions. By challenging the norms embedded in these garments, we’re not just altering the fabric; we’re rewriting a narrative that has for too long excluded those outside the prescribed boundaries. This is a declaration—an opening of the seams that have confined us to a limited understanding of identity.

Fredy Clue (on the right), the pioneer of Swedish national costumes and folk music, is a queer folk-artist and has been working for the last few years on a new Swedish national costume for all genders, Bäckadräkten. Photo / Elisabeth Jubelin/ELLIEGANZA

In unbinding the traditions, we unfurl the possibility of a more diverse and inclusive society, where the stories woven into our cultural tapestry are as varied as the colors in a rainbow.

The Genesis of Innovation
The idea for the Icelandic non-binary folk costume event was sparked by the meeting of minds between Anna Karen and Fredy Clue, inspired by similar movements abroad. “When Fredy reached out last summer, it was a serendipitous moment. We both shared a vision for creating a space where folk tradition and gender fluidity intersect,” Anna Karen reflects on the project’s origins.

Fredy Clue adds, “Our goal is to inspire new ideas and initiate discussions around folk tradition and gender, making these important cultural expressions accessible to everyone, regardless of their gender identity.”

Weaving New Patterns

The introduction of non-binary elements into traditional Icelandic costumes represents a significant step towards cultural inclusivity. “Folk costumes are a crucial part of our heritage. By reimagining them for non-binary and gender-nonconforming individuals, we’re not just preserving tradition; we’re evolving it,” Anna Karen states.

Fredy Clue emphasizes the broader implications: “This project is about more than clothing. It’s about challenging the binary and heterosexual norms that have historically shaped our identities and opening up new possibilities for expression and connection.”

The event series (subject to change) kicks off on Thursday, 29th of February, at the Home Industry Association of Iceland, followed with educational and engaging activities, including presentations at Iceland’s National Museum (Þjóðminjasafnið) and a community-driven potluck-fika, designed to foster discussions and connections among participants. The program will end on Sunday, March 3. Photo / Elisabeth Jubelin/ELLIEGANZA

A Tapestry of Events

The event series kicks off on Thursday, 29th of February, at the Home Industry Association of Iceland (Heimilisiðnaðarfélag Íslands), with a presentation on traditional Icelandic costumes and an introduction to the non-binary folk costume by Fredy. This will be followed by an embroidery workshop, blending artistry with activism.

The weekend continues with educational and engaging activities, including presentations at Iceland’s National Museum and a community-driven potluck-fika, designed to foster discussions and connections among participants.

This project is about more than clothing. It’s about challenging the binary and heterosexual norms that have historically shaped our identities and opening up new possibilities for expression and connection.

Community Threads

“This event series is a call to action for everyone interested in the future of Icelandic folk costumes,” Anna Karen explains. “Through participation, we hope to inspire the creation of non-binary costumes, enriching our cultural heritage with diversity and inclusivity.”

Fredy Clue sees this as a moment of transformation. “By bringing together history, tradition, and the queer community, we’re not just creating costumes; we’re weaving a new narrative for Iceland.”

The Icelandic non-binary folk costume event invites all to participate in a series of activities designed to celebrate diversity, challenge norms, and enrich the cultural fabric of Iceland. Photo / Elisabeth Jubelin/ELLIEGANZA

Join the Movement

The Icelandic non-binary folk costume event invites all to participate in a series of activities designed to celebrate diversity, challenge norms, and enrich the cultural fabric of Iceland. Whether through sewing, discussion, or simply sharing a cup of coffee, there’s a place for everyone in this inclusive celebration of tradition and identity.

For more information and to register for the events, please visit:

The event registration form here:

The events agenda on Fcaebook:

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Á. Óskarsson selur fjölbreytt vöruúrval fyrir íþróttahús, sundlaugar, skóla og leikskóla og einnig ýmsar vörur til einkaafnota. Fyrirtækið selur vörur til íþróttaiðkunnar og leikja ásamt því að bjóða upp á ýmsar lausnir fyrir íþróttamannvirki.

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    Omnom Chocolate
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          Ísey skyr
          - once tasted never forgotten

          Our Story
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