Most of the best shops in the Faroe Islands are found in Tórshavn, the islands’ friendly and walkable main town. Since the green slopes of the Faroes are dotted with around 70,000 sheep, it’s no surprise that locally made hand-loomed or knitted woolen clothing is a great buy. Tórshavn also has a small but interesting contemporary art scene and a terrific one-of-a-kind record shop specializing in Scandinavian music. Here’s a selection of our favorite stores.
Perhaps the most famous retailer in the Faroe Islands, this clothing label and flagship store was founded in 2002 by Guðrun Ludvig and Guðrun Rógvadóttir, two Faroese women who were horrified to learn that so much of the wool sheared from Faroese sheep was being burned for want of a market. “We were shocked by the idea of destroying this good wool,” explains Ludvig, the label’s designer. “We also wanted to create work for local women.” Their big break came when a costume designer working for the hit Danish television series “Forbrydelsen” (“The Killing” in an English-language version on AMC) came across their modern take on the traditional Faroese fisherman’s sweater and made it the sartorial signature of the show’s female police detective, Inspector Sarah Lund. Their casually chic lines of organic hand-knit clothing swiftly gained international renown.
Guðrun & Guðrun
Niels Finsensgøta 13, Tórshavn. Tel. (298) 315-166
Occupying part of the light, airy premises of a former fish cannery, this design-forward shop on the Tórshavn waterfront sells the work of Faroese jewelry, clothing and houseware designers. The scarves, wooden trays, handmade silver or stone-bead earrings, and sheepskin handbags all have a distinctive Faroese chic.
18 Skálatrøð, Tórshavn. Tel. (298) 260-560
The knitwear sold by this company is made from Faroese wool. Offering a full range of clothing and accessories for men, women and children, it also sells soft hand-loomed stone-gray-and-blue blankets so reasonably priced that they’re worth filling up your suitcase. Many of the products feature traditional Faroese decorative motifs of stars and snowflakes.
85 Geilin, Vágur. Tel. (298) 524-006
This loftlike lithographic workshop overlooking the harbor in Tórshavn hand produces prints by contemporary Faroese and Nordic artists and also stages regular showings of their work. Notable local talents on display include the multimedia artist Tóroddur Poulsen and painter Bárður Jákupsson, among others.
16 Skálatrøð, Tórshavn. Tel. (298) 316-386
Founded in 1977, Tutl is the number one record label in the Faroe Islands, producing and selling a wide range of jazz, rock, classical and other music. The forte of this outstanding shop and label is original music from Scandinavian and Faroese artists, plus traditional Faroese music (which is mostly vocal, and owes a lot to the oral traditions of Viking storytelling). Even if you’re not heading for the Faroes anytime soon, you can shop this store online.
Niels Finsensgøta 9c, Tórshavn. Tel. (298) 314-504