Shopping the Highways and Byways
I can hear Mother Earth saying, “Why buy five if you can have one?” We all agree, Helsinki’s not cheap. Another thing we all agree on, Helsinki’s got quality. Let’s focus on the latter for a moment.
Ladies, clothe yourselves!
2OR+BYYAT – take a little bit of east, blend it with a little bit of west and you come up with the feminine, clever, crazy designs of Yat who believes that more than one element is required to create anything. Hence, ‘two or plus by Yat’. Cut is paramount, knowing your fabric is essential, put the two together and the result is clothing that drapes around your body with an edge that makes you stand out. And as the elderly customer in the store says, “The stuff is such quality, I can’t wear it out!”
Flagship store: Eerikinkatu 9 & another at Yliopistonkatu 6 (Kluuvi Shopping Center)
Nómad – snuggle up in the softest of soft cashmere by Santosh, designed in Finland and made in Nepal. Scandinavian design at its best, this shop has something special for both ladies and guys.
Aino – made for the lady who wants to look great but is not ready to sacrifice comfort. Flowing dresses, jackets, tops and wide trousers come in natural linen, crushed or plain, dyed in a myriad colours.
R/H Store – Riihiläinen and Hernesniemi, Hanna and Emilia, came up with the idea that street clothes for men and women would work, and they were right. Their black, white and grey with a touch of colour here and there, fit right in with the hoodies, pants and other stuff skateboarders, break dancers and hanger-outers wear. Today you can find them not only in Helsinki but also in Copenhagen, Germany and the US.
Leni – selective, are we? On the look out for something you can’t find anywhere else in Helsinki? This is what they specialise in, designs from Scandinavia, Germany, scented candles from Australia and snug, sheepskin pillows from Finland.
Iso Roobertinkatu 35-37
Katri/n – wanna play? Let’s dress up in light, camouflage dresses that flow in the breeze, or show a bit of skin where the bra bodice ends and the wrap crosses over to the shoulder. Katri Niskanen has a flair for draping and versatility and while her fabrics are special, they’re all washable.
Iso Roobertinkatu 19
OVVN – let’s get serious and explore this shop where several Finnish designers are on display. Oops, serious? I don’t think so, what with safety pin earrings, strengthened lace, heavy metal chokers and dresses with net tops and cotton bottoms, Miia Halmesmaa is not about to stop having fun! Uhana’s backless hoodie dresses and up and down hemlines are also part of the collection.
Iso Roobertinkatu 17-19
Ladies, Shoe Yourselves!
Minna Parikka – take a bunny hop to Aleksanterinkatu 36 and you enter the playful, imaginative world of this great shoe designer of international acclaim. Bunny ears, comics and colours feature hugely in all her products, but be careful, you might not leave with only one pair!
Lumi – brighten up with a leather bag or purse that will make your friends jealous and guess what, they’re into shoes these days too! At their showroom on Pursimiehenkatu 14, the window is filled with fabulous summer sandals at a price you can’t say no to! The rumour goes that winter will also be taken care of….
Showroom: Pursimiehenkatu 14, Shop: Aleksanterinkatu 28
If you love shoes, I guess that’s a really silly statement, but really, if you love shoes, Fredrikinkatu is where you’ll be in heaven. Not necessarily Finnish but a whole range of footwear is to be found at Zio, Bellissima specialising in small and large sizes, Red Shoe and others.
Ladies, Shoe Yourselves!
Gasell GP – stylish suits, gorgeous ties and shirts with peeps of contrasting collars and cuffs together with cuff links are here at Petri Palovaara’s shop where you can rent or buy men’s clothing created by Finnish companies. He believes in the locals and does his best to be loyal to them.
Iso Roobertinkatu 40
Acolyth – this place is funky and a far stretch from suits and shirts but not without style. The loosely fitting, comfortable unisex garments by Daniel Palillo is for the brave youngsters of this world who believe in the future and take it on like there’s no tomorrow. The same can be said for Marjut Uotila’s Dusty collection, made up of dramatic, avant-garde clothing for men. Setting this off are the off-cut prints transformed into caps by Mari-Johanna and the horsehair necklaces and earrings from Pony by Annea Lounatvuori.
Love the Li’ll ‘Uns
Punavuoren Peikko – soft, comfy, wearable, washable, their gear is gathered from all over Scandinavia include the pale pinks and greys of Aarrekid’s Monsters, Småfolk’s pink and green jumpsuits and T’s for babies, Molo Kids’ happy shark and flower design bathing suits.
Youngest Fashion Oy – straight out of Alice in Wonderland, too cute to resist are the lime green knits with bows and buttons for girls and boys’ suits and shirts in fine linen. Bold big girl designs on small dresses gives an old-world charm to these garments for little people.
If time’s at a premium and you simply have to indulge the urge, Esplanade is the home of great Finnish designers. Annikki Karvinen goes from strength to strength building on her classic handwoven jackets and coats with their colourful appliqués, to soft flowing summer dresses in elegant prints (Pohjoisesplanadi 23). Marimekko never gets old in their bold colours, great cuts and quality fabric (Flagship Store: Pohjoisesplanadi 33). Aarikka (Pohjoisesplanadi 27) still makes chunky, wooden jewellery in fashionable colours and Iittala’s shop (Pohjoisesplanadi 25) still houses the never to go out of date Arabia porcelain. Boldly taking his place amongst the Finnish greats is Samuji – simple yet chic, girly, feminine and intriguing (Pohjoisesplanadi 37 & Erottajankatu 9).
If you’re really in a hurry, nip into Stockmann’s (Aleksanterinkatu 52), our more affordable version of Harrod’s. This department store has pretty much everything you need or don’t need but can’t live without. Their Academic Bookstore is a dangerous place!
Forum Shopping Centre (Mannerheimintie 20) can also be done in a rush. Leather and furs from Ajatar with love; gentle toys, mugs and bags from the Moomin Shop; adventure gear and everything you need for your active holiday from the Scandinavian Outdoor Store, and plenty more.