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66°North campaign starring 81-year-old

66°North posted a job online seeking new employees. One of the applications they received stood out from the lot and received nationwide reactions. “I was just having a little fun,” says Asdis Karlsdottir, an 81-year-old lady from a small city in the north of Iceland called Akureyri. She asked us on Facebook if we were looking for a model and posted photos of herself showing a lot of modelling potential. She received an instant reply and a week later met up with our 66°North photographer and did a full photoshoot with him.

But how does an 81-year-old grandma, who has never been in front of the camera before, become a model?
“I did one of those quizzes on the internet, a Facebook career quiz in fact, called something like, “Which job suits you best?” and the answer was: a model!” The picture beneath was an ad from 66°North who were advertising lots of exciting new jobs. I didn’t go on their website, I just “liked” their page and also left the comment, “Do you need a model? I’m eighty years old.” I even posted five pictures, just to make things more fun. The next morning I woke up to a phone call from a journalist from the local newspaper asking whether they could write a story about my post.”

“This is such an adventure, something totally different for a lady my age. I’m having the time of my life, it certainly is an interesting change to my normal everyday life.”

Could you have foreseen in any way that you would receive such a huge reaction a week ago?
“This is such an adventure, something totally different for a lady my age. I’m having the time of my life, it certainly is an interesting change to my normal everyday life.”

There’s a grain of truth in every joke. Although Asdis was just having a laugh when she commented on our Facebook page, she does want to draw attention to the issue of age in today’s modelling world. Most models are young, despite people of all ages wanting to buy the product, “Age and looks aren’t everything. Everybody needs to get dressed and people need to dress according to weather and age.”

The newspaper article and Asdis’s Facebook post immediately got a lot of attention, especially from the people of her hometown, Akureyri, who were familiar with Asdis. She had worked as a PE teacher at Akureyri Comprehensive College for twenty years and as she says, “I might be known for being a bit “different”. I don’t know how to drive and so I recently bought a pram to carry my shopping for when I go to the supermarket, so I don’t have to ask for a ride any more.”

Age and Weather are a State of Mind

Physical exercise and the outdoors are part of a daily routine in Asdis’s life. She goes for long walks nearly every day and sometimes for nearly two hours at a time. “My pace varies, depending on the circumstances. This winter was especially icy, the ground could be likened to an ice rink, lasting months. But now it’s wonderful to walk outside… on crampons.”

“My favourite garments are a really old pair of trousers and jacket from 66°North. I don’t wear anything other than them plus the base layers underneath, then woolly socks and a windproof layer to go over. “How I got these clothes is quite funny. My husband always wore 66°North clothes both inside and outside. He became wheelchair-bound after he got sick and therefore needed bigger clothes.” Asdis still loves using his old clothes. 

Asdis’s granddaughter gave her a red 66°North coat which she uses a lot, but it isn’t exactly the colour she would have chosen for herself. “My granddaughter said to me, “It suits you so well grandma and it’s too big for me.” She says and laughs. When I have to wait a long time for the bus in a storm or a blizzard, that’s the coat I wear. 

Even though 66°North clothes stand the test of time, Asdis wore items from our newest collection for the photoshoot. But did you get cold during the shoot?
“No, not in the slightest bit. These clothes are amazing. I really enjoyed this experience and I can’t wait to see the pictures. Personally, I think the yellow coat suits me better than the red one that I own. But I wouldn’t take a size smaller.”

Skiing in a Skirt and a Formal Fitted Coat

This year is 66°North’s 90th birthday. The company had only been up and running for nine years when Asdis was born. As you may have guessed, Asdis is quite confident with today’s computers and media. She recently started writing her memoirs on the computer, not for them to be published necessarily, but to give to her grandchildren, for them to know more about her life and what she got up to.

“The first time I went skiing was when I was five years old. I wore knitted woolly socks, a skirt and a formal fitted coat. The best thing about clothes today is the winter clothing. You no longer have to wrap yourself up as much.”

“My grandchildren live in completely different circumstances to what I and even their parents grew up to. I have been through such an enormous evolution, for example simply regarding housework and sports. Then of course this wonderful evolution of technology. I remember when we got our first radio at home. We didn’t get a phone until I was about fifteen or sixteen and a wind-up gramophone!”

Fashion goes in such circles. “Today I could wear all of my old dresses and outfits that I used to own, they would be considered highly fashionable. I got myself a bit dressed up for the photographer who came from the newspaper and wore shoes that are probably about 45 years old. They still work.”

“The biggest change regarding fashion has been in the winter clothing department. I used to knit everything for my children in the old days. Each and every layer was hand knitted. With my oldest children I was just happy If I could find a non-absorbent material so I could sew something that was water or wind repellent for them.”

“The first time I went skiing was when I was five years old. I wore knitted woolly socks, a skirt and a formal fitted coat. The best thing about clothes today is the winter clothing. You no longer have to wrap yourself up as much.”

Asdis says that she is determined to take advantage of every day and enjoy life.

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