When Gravity Fails by Sruli Recht


When Gravity Fails by Sruli Recht

The showpieces for Icelandic designer Sruli Recht's first menswear collection are made of 21 blackbirds and 27 stillborn lambs.

When Gravity Fails by Sruli Recht

Icarus, Post-Crash (above) is made of skinned and tanned blackbirds sewn onto a reindeer hide, while Born Out of This (below) is made of lamb skins pieced together into a coat.

When Gravity Fails by Sruli Recht

Called When Gravity Fails, the collection incorporates Icelandic wool and leathers made of horse, hunted wild reindeer, birds, fish and lamb.

When Gravity Fails by Sruli Recht

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When Gravity Fails by Sruli Recht

Photographs are by Marinó Thorlacius.

When Gravity Fails by Sruli Recht

The information below is from Sruli Recht:

When Gravity Fails - a diagonal line for men

When Gravity Fails by Sruli Recht

“born out of this
and trying to get back in

worn out from bliss
and floating in sin

falling back through this future
and from where I’ve been

sky-born, deliberate
draped raw from within

When Gravity Fails by Sruli Recht

“Icarus, post-crash” Show Piece One

21 Svartfugl [blackbirds] on a hunted wild reindeer base. After meeting a group of hunters, hunting birds and beasts, we struck up a deal: all the birds they could bring me, in exchange for a pound of breath.

When Gravity Fails by Sruli Recht

And birds they brought, bags and bags of them. Hands soaked in feathers and flesh, they were sorted through, sent on ice to my tanner (a craftsman so brilliant I heard he once tanned air). What returned to our studio was not a pile of feathers and feet but rather the full-bodied, beaked husks of those once soft flying blackbirds. And out of their box they were pulled, put onto the stand, and the garment quite literally designed itself. All we had to do was sew it together... by hand and heart, on a reindeer base, body to body to back to wing, to have our Icarus, post crash, sombre and in between.

When Gravity Fails by Sruli Recht

“Born out of this” Show Piece Two

27 still born lambs, 3 regular lambs, military dead-stock lining. And it was said, during a conversation in the cold, cavernous walls of the tannery, chromium sulphate hanging low in the air, and not a piece of natural light leaking in, “what is that heap over there?” Looking vaguely at the iridescent white pile to his left, said he “That...? They were not meant to be.” And so it was agreed, I would take those lost souls, and from him to me they came.

When Gravity Fails by Sruli Recht

Shaken, preferred, and pieced together, these almost once vessels, together now one, and draped as a single square, and a sleeve, and a pleated set/raglan hybrid, with darted shaping. A coat to end all, and begin again.

When Gravity Fails by Sruli Recht


The collection consists of a total look - from coats, jackets and cardigans, to trousers, shorts and leggings, complimented by shoes, boots, bags, gloves and silver jewellery - 55 styles, approximately 130 with material variations. Our shoe/ boot samples are produced by Guðrún Edda Einarsdóttir.

When Gravity Fails by Sruli Recht


The studio worked very closely with Atlantic Leather, a tannery in the north of Iceland run by the native Icelanders, working with the raw skins to make new materials... basically designing new leathers. I spent a lot of time up there playing with’ better these skins, and designing their treatments and finishes. So that is where all the leathers in this collection come from — horse, hunted wild reindeer, birds, fish and lamb.

When Gravity Fails by Sruli Recht

Similarly we are using Icelandic wool and working with a local knit producer here to make our own knit constructions. All this means that about 98% of the collection is made from Icelandic materials, and material that we have in some way developed in our studio. The other 2% is the jersey we have to import because it isn’t made here.

When Gravity Fails by Sruli Recht

We have spent the last year taming these wild and fantastic natural Icelandic materials for an international market. Our debut men's line was presented during Men´s Fashion Week in January 2011 at Showroom Romeo and Tranoi, Paris.

Photographer - Marinó Thorlacius
Model - Emil Þór Guðmundsson
Stylist - Arash Arfazadeh

See also:


Masked – In Flight
by Sruli Recht
R¿ng by
Sruli Recht
Concrete Buckle
by Sruli Recht

Posted on Friday April 8th 2011 at 12:04 am by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Diana

    It is disgusting to see how fashion thinks that beauty needs to come from death. Sad….

    • Melissa

      Fashion isn’t necessarly about beauty: it’s often more about originality. That’s why some go that far :(

  • Kim Nguyen Ngoc

    Wow Caveman and folded leather. The hyperborean urban viking look might be a sign…of total disconnection between nature and its practical sense. We've gone so digital that nature has become an ornement in its materality.

  • Melli

    fucking disgusting to use birds!
    It really has an evil touch…

  • Atelier

    I think it's hypocritical reaction, your shoes are often made ​​from grass, your coats of trees, gloves of love and fresh water.
    Interesting work.

  • Emily

    There's nothing new or exciting about this. A desperate cry for attention using "hunted wild reindeer" and "stillborn lambs", is this how far designers are going to take shock tactics? Designers should be more responsible. Using 98% Icelandic materials doesn't compensate, it's only destroying and abusing your own natural resources. The gore just masks an average collection. There are far better designers out there who don't use such sad tactics.

    • polly

      umm i don't think Sruli needs to resort to shock tactics or crying for attention. This guy has been in it for a long time with a thoroughly original and very strong voice. Before you jump to the keyboard with a negative comment, research the subject matter. Sruli Recht is a designer that countless others follow. he does not.

      • Emily

        In my opinion this collection is neither strong nor original regardless of whether he intended to follow or not, I wasn't speaking of the designer in general. And this doesn't detract from the nature of how the material was sourced or how it is described, an inarguable use of shock tactics, the references to piles of skins, blood and animals body parts. Killing animals to leverage the profile of a collection is cruel, pointless and irresponsible.

    • Kim Nguyen Ngoc

      In what kind of world are you living? Are you out of a Disney TV show? Seriously, not a single action or production in life is not at the espence of something or somebody else. It goes for animals, to humans.
      Maybe you should learn this simple fact of life: LIFE KILLS!!!! Welcome to reality Mickey!

  • Emily

    If he doesn't need to resort to shock tactics why use words such as the ones I quoted? And around for a long time? So what, I can see little originality in this collection. It's just All Saints in sheepskin. I don't need research to see.

    • mizzar

      All saints is a cheap knock off of Sruli and many others.
      Get your facts straight.

  • Death is part of life.
    It´s not OK to kill birds to make a jacket, but it´s OK to kill humans to get their oil, their land, their belives.

    I really like the designs

  • Mario

    I think it's not fair to call this discusting. They way they make your McChicken is discusting, the way oil is drilled from coastal area's in Nigeria is discusting. Do you ever think of that when you order a happymeal or when you fill up your car with fuel? No of course not, because it's not directly presented to you on the bill. My point is; it's a bit simple minded to respond to this as Melli and Emily do. And besides, these pieces will never be thrown away as consumer products…they'll probably end up in a museum! So whats the balance? Bio industrie against 27 blackbirds. The choice is up to you..

  • What will PETA say about this?

    So cruelly done that it's in a way fascinating….

  • gavin

    27 blackbirds
    How many chickens have you eaten?

    27 lambs
    I guess you are all raw vegans if you are ofended by any of this

    wild raindeer live a better life than the massfarmed cows your leather and steaks come from

    • Fed

      I just ask you a simple question. Is it necessary? Do we still need to kill for clothing? Veganism is becoming more and more popular, there are designers that spend most of their time trying to find applications for new sustainable materials, people are starting to realise that eating meat is bad for the environment, and for our body too. And this guy comes up with this collection like “screw everything, I want to make things my own way”.

      Where is this going once it’s done? Is it revolutionary in any way? What are the benefits of this collection? Design has to take everything in consideration. You don’t design a piece in such way that it just looks good; that’s not designing. This is not impressive in any way, not nowadays, not with the knowledge and the awareness we have, or should have. Do some research, look at those fashion designers that are looking for new materials that are good for the environment and that use them in an innovative way to create designs that looks good too. Give me thumbs down, please, go ahead, in 20 years we’ll see what they will say of this designer. And yes, I am a vegan. One more thing.

      27 blackbirds
      How many chickens have you eaten?

      Just, really? You actually think that? You compare the commodification of an animal for feeding to the commodification of the same animal to produce a piece of clothing that has the only aim to look good? I feel really sorry for you.

  • It's partly true what Y.K.M.N said and also what Mario said, but still – with each little piece the whole becomes bigger. so if even designer find it cool to use the skin of animals, and not only this, even the skin of lambs and birds – where shall all this lead?
    i think the "elite" should be a role model and not support the exploit of animals.
    and all in all i am with Emily – the collection isn't that exciting either.

  • that viking guy does not seem confortable … at all

  • D_P

    regardless of ethics (get over it), these are beautiful, surprising pieces. sort of gareth pugh meets viking chic. into it

  • tom finch

    can i just say apart form the obviously misplaced use of materials…the cut and fit look terrible

  • Diego

    Not that I'm sold on the designs. But in defense of Sruli – he does not go out and kill 21 birds & 27 stillborn lambs. He is not the cause of their deaths regardless you numbasses. He merely projects new life into what would in turn become a wasted heap by turning them into something of value. He is paying homage so that their existence was honoured. Its not about disgust but rather about respect, which many cultures still hold dearly. American indians as an example. Hunting is North Americas biggest sport, why not go target after them hillbilly hillfolk – they do it for the sport.

  • chaps and lasses. This isn't cruel.

    What else are you going to do with stillborn lambs? It's not like he's going round murdering healthy ones. In fact it's an incredibly clever use of a resource otherwise neglected or gone to waste. Initially gruesome but very thoughtful in a way.

    Can't really comment on the clothes, like most designer stuff they look pretty impractical.

  • Aaron

    When did this stop being a place for constructive and critical design discussion and become an outlet for the angry, abusive and uninformed?
    Either the moderation on this site has slipped, because swearing like that is an unacceptable form of communication, or no one here has anything interesting to say aside from venting.
    In terms of this post, you are all guilty of destroying the world, every time you sit on a wooden chair or use toilet paper.
    What is interesting about this fashion collection is that it is made from locally sourced materials and by-products from the country that the objects are produced [read the website] – if any of the commentators here actually work in design, I doubt even one project or product you have worked on has not contained something imported, something harmful or something destructive.
    Clap clap to see someone working with local community and resource and producing something fresh for men.

    • wjwh

      could not agree more. thank you aaron

  • Capslock

    Look, this stuff is great and original. We have seen many designers posted on here presenting dead animals in grotesque and quite honestly, meaningless attention seeking projects.
    This collection has so much strength. The location of the designer, the reflection of landscape. It justifies itself and is very very solid.
    This is not in the same pool as other attention seeking projects. This is real, original and from the hands of a skillful individual with longevity.

  • RickJ

    DISGUSTING. And ill fitting, too! Who (besides MC Hammer) wants a crotch that sets just above your knees? Most of these looks could have easily been accomplished without the senseless slaughter of animals and birds.

  • Filip

    Funny how the design industry has become a forum for so many Negs and Haters…

    All I tend to read in these and other posted comments are gripes and rants of the righteous.

    • Arjay Cee

      Frankly, I’d rather see twenty-seven Icelandic designers used as a coat than one innocent bird.

  • PRDA

    Great! The best man's clothes I have ever seen in my life!

  • cardie

    timeless clothes, the model has the look

  • Arjay Cee

    Looking at this rubbish, I can picture how Iceland went bankrupt.