Ekroth’s way to fashion was a bit different. After high school, most of his friends went to business school, while he decided to rebel them and went to study social work at the university in Helsinki. However, after a few years, he realised that studying something just to protest others maybe wasn’t the right way to find out what he wanted to do.
– So, after a few sales jobs here and there I found online poker and got totally hooked on it. It took me a while to figure out that my personality wasn’t suited to be a poker player and after a few years I decided to quit. By this time I was 28-29 and I was starting to get worried about the future. Luckily one of my friends suggested to try out fashion because I’ve always been interested in clothes, so after a few years of sewing and pattern making schools, I finally got into Aalto (the famous university in Helsinki) which completely changed my life.
A few years ago, you launched your own label. How’d you describe that?
– As a continuation of what I did at Aalto and what I’ve done since Aalto. I try to focus a lot on textiles, the cut of the clothes and how they make you feel when you wear them. I’ve always been a huge sports fan, I used to play handball for almost 20 years, so you can usually see some sporting references in my collections. For my FW19 collection, for instance, I was inspired by my teenage summers forced to be sailing with my parents for weeks. During those times I isolated myself and listened a lot to 90s hip-hop like Wu-tang and Nas. Then years later I realised that during those trips I was wearing the same Helly Hansen coat as the rappers were wearing in their videos at that time. So the basic inspiration for the collection was 90s hip-hop meets sailing. I also wanted a graphical element to the prints and knits and that I took from one of my favourite anime series from the 90s, Neon Genesis Evangelion.
At Pitti Uomo, you showed your first collection as Creative Director for classic Finnish sportswear brand Terinit. How come that you decided to work for them?
– The backers of Terinit approached me last spring and asked if I would be interested in reviving the brand. Terinit had been big in the 80s, doing sportswear and was sort of a favourite among winter sports athletes. I liked the backstory to the brand and I was excited to bring it to life again. I decided to take on the job as Creative Director on the condition that they would back my own label as well.
– The collection is inspired by the heydays of the brand, 1980’s Finland. For the first collection, I wanted to feature the two most iconic winter sports of the 80s in Finland – ski-jumping and ice hockey. I remember watching both on tv religiously and then playing them outside with my friends during winter time.
What did you show at your event at Pitti Uomo and how does it feel now, a few days later?
– The presentation took place at Palazzo Pucci. We had over 500 guests watching the Terinit guys playing table hockey in one room and the Rolf Ekroth guys were watching the anime series in the other. Our presentation just by numbers was a huge success, I met some really important people from the industry and I couldn’t be happier with our first presentation. It really gave me confidence to continue on doing both brands the way I wanted to in the first place. I’m really looking forward to showing you the next ideas for the next season, to grow both brands and also explore what Finland’s history in sports can give to the Terinit line.