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Conversation with Heiðrún Ósk Sigfúsdóttir on Sustainable Fashion in Iceland: Founder, Dimmblá (1)


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2020/09/08


Heiðrún Ósk Sigfúsdóttir is the Chief Executive Office of Dimmblá and Chief Executive Officer of Rebutia. She discusses: new developments on Dimmblá; Dimmblá and Rebutia; the second company start; and sustainability in fashion.

Keywords: Dimmblá, Heiðrún Ósk Sigfúsdóttir, Rebutia, sustainable fashion.

Conversation with Heiðrún Ósk Sigfúsdóttir on Sustainable Fashion in Iceland: Chief Executive Officer, Dimmblá (1)

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: Okay, so, it’s been several years since we last talked.

Heiðrún Ósk Sigfúsdóttir[1],[2]: Yes [Laughing].

Jacobsen: We’ve collaborated twice. I was an editor [Ed. and writer] for Trusted Clothes. We did an interview for Dimmblá. Secondly, you’re one of the few people, in fact, who I’ve permitted to do interview with me.

Sigfúsdóttir: [Laughing].

Jacobsen: I have been offered several. It was for your blog. So, I appreciate the opportunity to take part in that. So, here we are again, a third time, this time we will be focusing on something of which I am already aware, which is Dimmblá, and then a second thing which I only became aware only based on a conversation before the interview. It was the start-up that you’re beginning to – well – start up. Let’s start on known ground, what are some new developments on Dimmblá and then preface this on some conversation on ethical and sustainable fashion for those who may not know what it is?

Sigfúsdóttir: For developments for Dimmblá, basically, for years, when I had been working for Dimmblá, my passion became more and more on educating people more. In Iceland with Dimmblá, I was one of the first to start with an sustainable ethical brand. People were, more or less, shocked to see, “Why is this more expensive? Why do I buy something expensive? Why don’t I go to a fast fashion store and buy something 1/3rd of the price of this?” I started to do my newsletters and blog to, more or less, educate people. It is, more or less, helping them. It is not preaching to them. It is more like I don’t want people to get scared. I don’t want to scare children. I want people to be more aware of what they can do to do better in their daily life. It is not simply by me. Because, now, I am presenting brands, which I love and am a collaborator. For example, tomorrow, I am going live with a brand in Budapest. She is making amazing stuff from plastic straws and cork from the bottle.

So, I thought, “Okay, it is not only my brand, which I want to present. I want to present them. The small brands and startups that need to get to the market. However, I don’t have the knowledge of how to present themselves or do the marketing. However, I have experience and want to make use of it, and to present them. Also, I want to get to the masses of people of how to live a more sustainable life.” That’s, basically, the direction that I went. Even now, I started with accessories, scarves. I did a little bit of dresses, but I never wanted to go into mass production of anything. So, I started the pre-orders. Now, I am doing organic cosmetics or skincare. That’s the next thing that will come out from Dimmblá. This is my passion. I think there’s an occasion. This is what brought me to start the other company. I was really sure about my purpose. My purpose was to bring people service that will have reduced impact on the world. That’s exactly what I always think about; everything I do for Dimmblá. Also, everything I do for my other company, Rebutia. This one purpose has driven me forward.

Jacobsen: What does Dimmblá mean? What does Rebutia mean?

Sigfúsdóttir: [Laughing] Okay, so, Dimmblá is, basically, a Navy Blue. When I chose Dimmblá, I wanted to have something, which represented the nature of Iceland. When I started to think about the nature of Iceland, this is Navy Blue. We see this in so many things. When you see some of the collections that I did with the glacier collection, you see a lot of this colour. It is not that I wanted to see everything in blue [Laughing], as some may have thought, because it was Navy Blue. It was because I wanted something representing nature, so I chose this name. With Rebutia, so, you know what we’re doing to make the connection. We are developing an artificially intelligent stylist. [Laughing] Yes. It is a stylist online, which will help you pick the correct clothes, according to body structure, hobbies, and occupation.

Jacobsen: That’s amazing.

Sigfúsdóttir: [Laughing] So, this has, actually, been in development for some years. Now, we are working with Reykjavik University, not University of Iceland. We got the grant this year. It is 20,000,000ISK. That’s like ~200,000CAD. So, we got the grant. We are full speed now, in development, for the next months. We are a team of 4 people. We have two software engineers working with us. Then we have a stylist with 20 years of background as a stylist for companies and people in Iceland.

Jacobsen: That’s amazing. So, Dimmblá started in 2014. When did the second company start, or at least its in-development planning phases?

Sigfúsdóttir: Yes, so, we have been working; basically, it is a funny story. I started in 2018 to work on an idea that I had to start something new. In the beginning, I thought that this was the direction to go with Dimmblá. That was renting clothes. However, I needed the platform to help me with that. Then one of my friends here in Iceland. This is one of the things. We are all connected in some way or another. Basically, you only need to talk to someone, as we’re only connected in seven steps.

Jacobsen: Seven degrees of Kevin Bacon!

Sigfúsdóttir: [Laughing] Yes, my friend called me. I remember this call. I was on a Summer vacation in Akureyri. She called me to talk with me. She said, “What are you doing now?” I told her about this idea. I had a partner in Sweden by that time. I was telling her about this idea. She said, “Oh my God,” this was in 2018, “I have to introduce you to my friend,” or, “a person who I talked to.” She mentioned them developing a platform, which I could use. I said, “Really.” She connected us.” My stylist who I am working with. She had been developing this platform for 3 or 4 years. She had been working on this with programmers. We started the company last year in February. We had been starting last year and deciding how we were going to continue this. We found out, basically, renting clothes has been done, of course, as you know. There are so many companies like that.

When we started to think about it, we thought, “That’s a lot of waste. You send the clothes back and forth. You are cleaning the clothes. Everything is included. So, in the end, how can you be saving the environment by doing this?” So, we thought that it would be better to use the platform, which had already been used. The raw software, to build on it. We decided to make out a stylist that chooses the correct clothes for you. Then you purchase the clothes. What do you want to do? You want to reduce the turn rate. We want to drastically reduce the turn rate of cloths. So, people are more confident when they are buying clothes online. Same thing with today with increased people buying things online. We want to be sure that we are, actually, purchasing the right clothes. So, you don’t have to return them. I think this will also save the retailers a lot of money. The clothes returned are, usually, not resold.

We were chosen to participate in an accelerator in Iceland last year, Startup Reykjavik. We were met in a competition in Finland, which we won in September of last year. Then we got the grant [Laughing] We are full speed now. It is an awesome project, our company. We are a talented team. I think that’s been a little bit tough fro me with Dimmblá. I started this as my idea. It was my baby. I was alone. I really wanted to build another company. I wanted to have a talented team. When you start a company, you can’t do everything yourself. Then you have to have to hire people, which I have done with Dimmblá. It is different than just having the great team from the start. Where, of course, there are two founders, female founders, with Rebutia. It is a totally different experience than starting Dimmblá. This is, of course, more technology than fashion companies. So, the ethical and the sustainable part is that we are using the resources. We are not affecting the environment negatively.

For example, the re-using of materials or repurposing or using materials made without harming nature. The ethical part, for me, I think, in the future, we should not have to ask, “Is this sustainable? Is this ethical?”

Jacobsen: [Laughing].

Sigfúsdóttir: How far away? I have to ask, “Is this fabric sustainable? Is this company fair trade?” No, everything will be like that. Of course! Why should it be any different?

Jacobsen: Some people may not realize. When you mentioned how regular materials and clothes are not reused, not only are they not reused, they are thrown into the ocean or the landfills. Most of those clothes, the vast majority of the materials for those are polyester.

Sigfúsdóttir: And that’s why you can’t reuse it. I don’t want to give any names. There is a fast fashion chain. It says, ‘You can return all the clothes. So, we can reuse all the materials.’ Sorry, we are just not there, yet [Laughing]. It’s just not possible. I know some people might be all into this “greenwashing.” Maybe, that’s the name for it. I mean, I don’t know. What do they do with the material, when we know it’s not possible to re-manufacture them from plastic? I don’t know.

Jacobsen: They do the same things as always with false advertising, instead, with the public facing of it.

Sigfúsdóttir: I don’t want to say. They are making an effort. That’s always good. I applaud everyone who is making an effort to make things better. When you are making false statements, that’s another thing.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Dimmblá; Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Rebutia.

[2] Individual Publication Date: September 8, 2020:úsdóttir-1; Full Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2020:


In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


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