The Icelandic Lopapeysa - Hotel Rangá - Luxury Resort


Woman wearing white Icelandic lopapeysa pets an Icelandic horse.

The Icelandic Lopapeysa

The Icelandic wool sweater, or “lopapeysa”, has grown in popularity over the last decade and is one of the most sought-after souvenirs for travellers visiting Iceland. As you journey through the island you will find variations of the lopapeysa worn by babies, children, hipster teenagers and grandparents who all favour this warm and comforting design icon.

The traditional Icelandic lopapeysa

The famous Icelandic sweater, or lopapeysa, is not only warm but quite stylish. This hardworking piece of kit is worn by farmers, fishermen, outdoor guides, riders, teachers and townspeople. In fact, just about every Icelander has a traditional lopapeysa in their closet.

The durable nature of these sweaters is thanks in part to the unique Icelandic wool that makes up the sweater. For example, Icelandic wool boasts valuable insulation properties and repels moisture. The traditional yoke pattern is the mark of a true Icelandic sweater. What’s more, this traditional design is sometimes also around the cuffs.

Three sheep stand in the highlands of Iceland.
During the summer, Icelandic sheep roam free. Photo by Gunnar – Icelandic Explorer.

An modern Icelandic emblem

Whilst traditional in appearance, the lopapeysa has not been around as long as some might believe. The first designs were created in the early to mid 20th century. At this time, Icelandic knitting groups were looking for different ways to use the abundance of wool. In a group it was easy to create more elaborate patterns and beautiful designs.

Girl wears traditional Icelandic lopapeysa at a réttir in south Iceland.
Almost every Icelander has a traditional lopapeysa sweater. Photograph by Eyrún Aníta Gylfadóttir.

The Icelandic lopapeysa: colors and designs

Nowadays the sweaters often feature natural, muted and earthy shades of wool. However, in 1950s post-war Iceland, more vibrant, bold colors were used: a natural rebellion against the grey and gloomy period of war shortages. Today, the lopapeysa is available in a wonderful array of designs and colors and many of them are homemade.

The spirit of the Icelandic people

Whilst a relatively recent Icelandic emblem, the lopapeysa embodies the spirit of the Icelandic people: a hardworking and long lasting piece of clothing that combines aesthetics with practicality. It offers warmth, comfort, and protection from the ever-changing and challenging Icelandic elements.

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