Helsinki Card
Helsinki Card

Finnish Design from Head to Toe

3.9.2018 Text: Violetta Teetor Photos: Header: Ivana Helsinki
(c) Ivana Helsinki

There’s no brash, there’s no bling but make no mistake, Finnish designers don’t shy away from quirky. If it’s going to be from head to toe, let’s start at the top.

They will not be moved

Not to be put in a box, not to adhere to the demands of fashion, and definitely not just only for the young, Costo craft their hats, caps, beanies and bobbles with lasting sustainability in mind. Quality is never compromised and fun is always to be had when wearing a Costo peaked hat with a contrasting pompom on top. Stylishly silly? You’ve got it! Or tone it down a little with just a regular sun shielder. Whatever, it’s always going to feel like a second scalp.

Like mother, like daughter

Where were the days when things were made to last, where genuine materials and craftsmanship were the hallmark of style? Heidi and Juha Haara understand this philosophy well and have come up with a range of items from flowing scarves to scented candles bringing joy to daily living. Balmuir  products are made from cashmere, silk, leather, you get the picture and if it’s that Panama hat you’ve been coveting, they make that too. Their cushion covers are cosy as well.

Snazzy shearling

Let’s shake on it, Onar has possibly the snazziest set of gloves you’ve ever slipped your hand into. Talk about quirky, FW 18 Sunra gloves in ‘lavender fog, Arizona orange and ivory’ fuzz bring out the tiger in you. Off the charts when it comes to statement looks, comfier clothing in their ethically made leather range is hard to beat. With jackets and trousers boasting both the smooth and fur of the shearling, every piece is an eye-catcher.

Plain is pretty

When you first take a look at the Samuji range you wonder what the fuss is all about. Simple is an understatement but then there are these idiosyncratic textiles with strong prints that make you rub you chin and wonder. This is Finnish classic at its finest and once you put on a dress or coat or a pair of trousers, you understand why. The clichéd ‘timeless’ makes a lot of sense when the cut is just right, the material easy to wear and the detail is in the right place. Bring on the deep pockets.

Telling stories

When creativity knows no bounds you’re bound to meet Paola Suhonen, designer, creator, filmmaker, roadster and storyteller. Ivana Helsinki  is what she calls her unique brand of clothing. Her range of outfits are always linked to a tale, not always a happy one, often melancholic but always a nostalgic one. Take her ‘Rotterdam’ outfits where colours blend into the polished mahogany of ships’ interiors, cute dresses with full skirts are short enough for you to be girlish, and red lipstick matches the navy smock of a dress. The story has elements of that sleazy harbour bar, the lingering prostitutes and the smoking-hot sailors hungry for action. And that’s only the beginning. Explore ‘Heart of Gold’ where baggy sweaters in comforting textures are all about femininity and pure-heartedness.

Shoes, shoes, shoes

It’s like stepping into Alice’s wonderland of colours, pointy shoes, ribbons and bunny ears. Imagination is what Minna Parikka has in plentiful supply. Here’s the thing, these shoes are both elegant and playful. The bunny ears? Well, you remember hide and seek when you were a child, you closed your eyes and thought that nobody could see you? The rabbit is hiding in the shoe.

Set it off

Completing the picture is a bag, that necessary accessory that cannot be neglected because not only is it practical, it’s also the thing that says more about you than you realise. Lumi takes care of that. Designed in Finland, made in Portugal, Spain or India, their methods of operating are ethical and the artisanal process of vegetable tanning instead of chromium is used in their leather production. Combine this feel-good factor with bright colours and a bag that will last forever, you know your money is well spent.

Okay guys, hold your horses

Just when you thought you’d been neglected, along comes Frenn in cool, casual, boyish style with their loose-fitting gear. It’s discreet with very little hoo-ha and once again it’s all about the cut and quality. Antti Laitinen is the designer while Jarkko Kallio does the marketing. Their attention to detail has earned them the Finnish Design Deed 2017 and their international presence has made its mark at the Pitti Uomo in Florence and beyond. Clean lines and exquisite fabric reflects the contemporary architecture of the city where these clothes are created, no other than trendy Helsinki.  

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