52 Icelandair Stopover TEXT AND PHOTOS BY ESMEE VAN LOON AND WILLEMIJNE VAN ZELST. It was November when we arrived in Iceland. It was rainy and cold, but one thing colored the streets of Reykjavík: The lopapeysa (literally: “ lopi wool sweater”), which so many Icelanders wear. One glance and we were sold on these beautiful Icelandic sweaters. However, with so many things to consider, they aren’t something you buy at the drop of a hat. First, you need to consider the number of cables, the color, and what style or pattern you prefer. And if you don’t see the color or pattern you want, you can have it custom-made. We were curious to find out what makes this sweater so special. We quickly discovered that the sweater has become a national icon and that the tradition of wearing homemade woolen knitwear goes back centuries. The sweater is made from Icelandic sheep’s wool, a special yarn called lopi , which is not spun and therefore has better insulating qualities. The modern lopapeysa pattern originates from the mid-20th century, around the time when Iceland became an independent nation. The sweater continues to be very popular today, not only among Icelanders but also with tourists from all over the world. For this series, we photographed people wearing their sweater and asked about the stories behind them. Esmee van Loon and Willemijne van Zelst are the photography and design duo Curly and Straight, based in the Netherlands. Every year they travel to different places to make a story about a typical subject or product from the country they’re visiting. In 2017, they visited Reykjavík to find out more about the Icelandic sweater. curlyandstraight.nl / @curlyxstraight on Instagram. #MYSTOPOVER: ICELANDIC SWEATER STORY On a gray autumn day in Iceland, a design duo from the Netherlands fell for the lopapeysa and made the colorful woolen sweaters the subject of a photo series. MJ Mirghanbari : He is from the US and traveled especially to Iceland to buy a custom-made sweater. He sent his measurements to the knitter online and was very happy that the sweater fits.