June is 2022. As nights without darkness engulf Scandinavia and war news engulfs Europe, Finland welcomes a cool summer and NATO. The Finns are rushing to the stunning nation 188,000 lakes and rock at music festivals, yes, with music for all tastes heavy metal, its well-known exports). Helsinki is located at another intersection of zeitgeist. Almost half a century ago, historically Helsinki Agreement established the inviolability of European borders and rejected the use of the army to intervene in state affairs. It didn’t age well. The new geopolitical reality calls on the hopeful imagination of future leaders to look for different solutions to the updated list of challenges.
Creativity must look for ways forward and a recent event Fashion in Helsinki did just that. As a joint initiative of June Communication i Aalto University with the support of the Ministry of Education and Culture, Fashion in Helsinki is the latest example of an alternative local platform, combining the domestic and global fashion industry with business reinvention and creative evolution. Finnish designers and educators responded with due urgency.
First, the consumer’s most anticipated moment of the week: collections of five new Finnish brands. For their label HEDVIG, friends Sofia Järnefelt and Taru Lahti draw inspiration from an amazing collaboration in their family lines. Sofia’s grandmothers were exiled Russian aristocrats and outdoor enthusiasts from the rugged Åland archipelago. Dynamic garments have a sensibility of time travel that includes various stylistic elements from the epic journeys of our lives.
Designer Rolf Ekroth he himself embarked on a path less traveled to come into vogue: he served military service, played poker in a professional circle, and studied sociology. This gives his perspective a certain visionary sharpness: where utilitarianism meets nostalgia. I was there, I felt it. Artist Ervin Latimer has channeled his passion for queer politics, anti-racism and non-conformist style into a label that exposes masculinity as a performance. So famous silhouettes respectfully defile like wide pants cut at the lower legs.
Latimier had its brand debut this winter on a prestigious menswear platform Pitti Uomo in Florence. Designer Sofia Ilmonen explores femininity as a game of possibilities with her garments made of bright modular squares that are easily (re) assembled using buttons and loops. The fascinating concept attracted her enthusiastic followers and great attention from the industry, including the Mercedes-Benz Sustainability Award at last year’s Festival de Hyères.
Meanwhile, Jonathan Ingberg took a different approach and launched his own unisex label By Hinders 2020. Initially inspired by the idea of using wool by-products from his family’s sheep farm, the designer has expanded to other natural fabrics and is now creating quiet pieces that “celebrate everyday rituals of existence”.
To connect the points of education, entrepreneurship and social justice, Aalto University and with whom Juni Communication worked Scandinavian Mind the media group will lead a two-part seminar focused on the impact of technology on the circular economy and material innovation within the Nordic ecosystem design. The first part took place during Fashion in Helsinki, while the second part will take place in Stockholm Nordic Fabric Fair in August. Another example of value-driven regional business cooperation focused on sustainability.
If you continue to insist on refusing to believe in the light at the end of the tunnel, Finland is covering for you anyway. You may be interested in completely black clothes from I don’t know the name, a trend-setting brand that has just celebrated a decade of its commitment to monochromatism and minimalism by opening a leading store in the heart of Helsinki. Looking good is associated with feeling better. It is a fashion science.
When it comes to the above-mentioned “everyday rituals of existence”, Helsinki is at the forefront of sustainable tourism and puts creativity at the service of the long-term goals of the community. Great Museum of Design – a must stop for anyone visiting the country’s capital – currently has a revolutionary exhibition of affordable and uniform design: Design for every body. You can take the ferry to Suomenlinna Sea Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to consider the role of proactive design for the future at the mercy of sharp elements. Alternatively, you can indulge in a session at Sauna culture, a rigorous but fantastic sauna in a modern corner of Helsinki run by architect Tuomas Toivonen and artist Nene Tsuboi, which also functions as an educational initiative on architecture and urbanism. Nature and it merge in deep but simple ways in Finland. Kippis!