The English-language remake of Skam, Norway’s viral-hit web series that concluded earlier this year, has finally found a home in the new Facebook streaming service, creatively named Facebook Watch. Facebook Watch shows first started airing just under two months ago—early titles included a video version of Humans of New York as well as videos courtesy of the Cincinnati Zoo—and has since also ordered a teen drama entitled Five Points, to be executive-produced by Scandal’s Kerry Washington.
Skam follows the escapades of a group of high schoolers played by a group of emerging Norwegian actors including Josefine Frida Pettersen, who has become something of a style icon in her home country. (Five Points, meanwhile, is about a group of high schoolers living in Chicago’s South Side; there is a teen drama formula, and it works.) Its American adaptation has yet to be cast, but it’s being produced by Simon Fuller—the other Simon behind such instant classics as American Idol—who obtained the rights this year. The news was revealed at Mipcom, the Cannes-based media trade festival.
“From the first moment I heard about it I thought about Facebook as my partner,” Fuller said, according to Variety. Facebook’s own global content chief Ricky Van Veen described the series as “the future of storytelling.”
Skam, which unfortunately translates to Shame in English rather than to its homonym, Scam, is the latest in the illustrious cottage industry of American networks remaking other countries’ successful formulae. Think, for example, of Skins, which had a short-lived run on MTV after seven seasons on the British channel E4, or of The Office, a markedly more successful adaptation that ran for nine seasons on NBC. Misfits, the unabashedly weird teen superhero drama that ran on E4 for five seasons, is also rumored to be getting an American makeover.
Skam is, in some ways, the perfect series for Facebook in particular to reinvent, since it owes its success in large part to its social media strategy. (Even if the idea of Facebook video is still somewhat cringe-inducing, at least Facebook Watch involves free and active consent, unlike the videos that populate your home feed.) It inverts the streaming-service formula, as a recent Atlantic story pointed out: Where recent shows like Ozark, Mindhunter, G.L.O.W., and Stranger Things have made the most of your binge-watching indiscretions, Skam, which, during its original run, released small amounts of new content every day on its website before repackaging those short clips in a more traditional episode format to be aired weekly, essentially precluding binge-watching. (“The brief clips made the series easily shareable on social media and watchable on smartphones, paving the way for Skam’s success both at home and abroad,” wrote the Atlantic earlier this year after rumors of an English-language remake began to circulate.)
But the question remains, if Josefine Frida Pettersen, Skam’s breakout star, is Norway’s answer to Gossip Girl Blake Lively, who is Facebook Watch’s Josefine Frida Pettersen?
Josefine Frida Pettersen Models the Best of Oslo Fashion Week
Mona Jensen started Tom Wood in 2013 as a collection of of chunky silver rings that were an instant hit. Over the last four years, she has slowly added ready-to-wear into the mix, with an emphasis on denim and statement outerwear, and as of this season, eyewear, as well. Tom Wood has quickly become a staple of Oslo’s fashion community, as well as a leader in developing Norway’s presence on the global stage. The brand can be found at some of the world’s leading specialty retailers including Dover Street Market, Barneys New York, The Line, Harrod’s and Isetan, and is favored by the likes of Helena Christensen, Caroline de Maigret and Jared Leto. “Norwegian designers have a slightly practical approach to design,” says Jensen. “Hand-picked materials and great craftsmanship support the idea of giving each single piece a long life. The design is focused on functional, timeless and relaxed silhouettes.”
After only two years at the Instituto Europeo di Design in Milan, Cathrine Hammel left school, grabbed her sketches, and hopped on plane to Hong Kong to find factories in order to start her own brand. “My idea was to create high-quality basis in knitwear and jersey for luxury and high-end stores,” she says. With nothing more than a small savings account and a steadfast goal, Hammel made her vision a reality. Today, her pared-back basics are among Oslo’s best offerings. “It was a long and bumpy road, but we are a solid company now, and I’m still the only owner. Fearlessness, determination and hard, hard work is crucial,” she says. “And some luck, of course.”
Tine Mollatt began her three decade long career working for fast-fashion retailers.“I was sick of the greediness,” she says of her decision to go off and start something of her own. “I wanted to create with truthfulness and consciousness in every part of the pipeline. byTiMo creates garments honestly and with integrity, bringing modern romance to timeless craftsmanship.” Every aspect of production–from fabric to factory–is vetted for its quality and corporate responsibility. The brand also recently started a social entrepreneurship program that employs women who have previously been victims of abuse or trafficking. As for the clothes themselves, there is a vintage mood to Mollatt’s collections that feels nostalgic without looking dated. Romantic styles are updated with precise tailoring and modern manufacture, and all colors and prints are developed exclusively in-house. The concept has certainly taken off–byTiMo is currently stocked in over 500 stores worldwide.
“Right now there are a lot of interesting things happening in Norway when it comes to design,” says Maria Skappel Holzweiler, founder of Holzweiler. “There is such a great tradition of handicraft here, and I believe that right now there is a change happening in how people think of our design… Classic doesn’t have to be boring.” Holzweiler started as a line of luxury cashmere, silk and wool scarves in 2012, before expanding into ready-to-wear in 2014. Each collection references different Norwegian artists and influencers, with Fall 2017 drawing inspiration from painter Edvard Munch’s work, including The Scream, and, coincidentally, Josefine Petterson’s character from SKAM. “Noora is one of my muses for this collection,” says Holzweiler. “She is strong, independent, has a great taste for fashion, and dares to be different.” The result of mixing a fictional teenager with Munch? Colorful coats and covetable knits that together are nothing short of scream-wothy.
Sometimes being away from the major fashion capitals can lead to creative freedom. Such was the case for Christina Ledang, founder of the brand C.L.E.A.N. (a name drawn from her own initials). “I think the international fashion world is still very unfamiliar with Norwegian fashion,” she explains. “Therefore there aren’t so many expectations as to what Norwegian designers are supposed to make.” Case in point? C.L.E.A.N.’s debut collection in 2011 was made entirely out of latex, and became an overnight sensation with Norway’s magazines and bloggers. Since then, Ledang has expanded her brand into more wearable signatures, like branded tees and belts that recall the days of logo-mania. “There is a very broad spectrum of designers here,” she says. “And we are all in the process of shaping what Norwegian fashion looks like. It’s a very exciting time. We are not bound by the minimalistic aesthetic that is the connotation of Scandinavian fashion, therefore we are free to do what we want.”
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