Rein Love: A brand for an independent mind
TEXT: HANNA HEISKANEN
In many ways, Rein Love has come far from its beginnings as a pop-up shop selling T-shirts. The heart of the brand, however, remains unchanged — as does its deep attachment to the city of Tromsø in Northern Norway.
Located today on the high street of Tromsø, Rein Love is the child of Eirik Simonsen and a group of his friends. The ‘music-loving’ company first saw daylight in 2014 as a small collection of T-shirts sold at local music events as well as online. Since then, it has grown into a business specialising in streetwear and adventure wear with a cool twist.
More than clothes
The inspiration behind the brand is the rare white reindeer, which is known for not following the herd. “The white reindeer symbolises choosing your own path and following your passion. This is why our slogan is ‘don’t follow the herd, stay wild’,” says Simonsen. The designs are inspired by the wilderness of the north. Another important aspect of the brand is the quality of the clothes and their environmental impact, and fair-wear and vegan-certified clothes are also available to purchase.
Early on, it was decided that Rein Love was not to be just about clothes, though. Simonsen, who has called Tromsø his home for the past decade, talks about the importance of local businesses and individuals supporting one another, but also about making anyone paying a visit feel at home. “One of our first pop-ups was set up in a closed restaurant and bar, and this is where we started hand brewing coffee for our guests for real,” explains Simonsen, sitting in Rein Love’s current headquarters and flagship store, with large windows facing the busy street.
A small group of designers are busy working on the future of the brand in the upstairs studio. Despite the current trend to go online, bricks and mortar remain very much the foundation for Rein Love. Simonsen believes firmly in maintaining a physical space where people can spend time, be entertained and experience the vibe of the brand.
Pop in for a brew or tune
Since 2020, customers have been able to pick up locally roasted coffee beans from the shop because, as Simonsen describes, when you invite people over, it makes sense to give them a cup of something. Or if you happen to pop in at the right time, you might witness a gig by a local band.
“We love to organise events here and invite people over, to make them feel welcome,” Simonsen, who in fact prefers the word ‘guests’ to ‘customers’, says. He points at the many photos embellishing the walls as evidence. “We’ve featured both up-and-coming and more established bands and DJs, and served beer brewed by another local company.”
Wear your attitude
Simonsen’s previous career was in filmmaking – something he first started as a teenager with a group of friends. As it turns out, filmmaking has a lot in common with designing a brand concept. Behind both, there must be a good story and the desire to connect.
With Rein Love, it is as much about wearing an identity and attitude as it is about wearing clothes. Rein Love reflects the lifestyle of the people behind it, Simonsen says. “It’s items we like to use ourselves, whether we are hiking or strolling in the city or attending a music festival.”
Rein Love believes in growing organically and does not want to rush things. Sometimes, however, happy coincidences happen along the way. For example, the brand’s love of music led them to collaborate with a US-based rock band, which now champions Rein Love’s products worldwide. “It’s a friendship and connection we are super excited about, and it shows that our products have appeal all the way from the far north here in Norway, to the far south.”
More recently, Rein Love was approached by a Norwegian film production company that wanted to use an item from the ring collection in a blockbuster remake, scheduled to premiere this autumn. “We are taking things step by step, but if we keep growing, building a second home for Rein Love is a possibility,” Simonsen concludes.
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