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Five voices with the highlights from Fashion In Helsinki

04062019

More than 40 brands participated in the biggest edition of the Finnish fashion week to date last week, bringing together exhibitions, fashion shows, presentations, seminars, and parties. — A fashion week driven by creativity and conversations more than commerce or capitalism, says our Fashion Director, Robin Douglas Westling.

Fashion in Helsinki is the biggest yearly fashion event in Finland focusing on Finnish fashion, young talents, sustainability, and creativity.

— We always get really good feedback on the event and also from international lifestyle media and influencers, says Martta Louekari at Juni Communication & Production, who’s organizing the week along with Aalto University. Finland can offer something different and as the program is focused on young talents and creativity, we can really surprise them with the talents and fresh vision and ideas.

And so can Helsinki, according to Norwegian social media entrepreneur Fredrik Risvik, after spending a few days in the vibrant Finnish capital.

— The relatively small city center has a real international feel, he says, and a great offering, especially when it comes to coffee and vegan cafés and restaurants. It’s also very exciting to visit the gin bars or try a glass of natural wine. The architecture is amazing and you get a great mix of culture, food and drinks, and green areas right outside the city.

Our Fashion Director Robin Douglas Westling points out Fashion In Helsinki as an exciting underdog with the strongest international connections in the entire Nordic area.

— I’ve never seen this kind of international reach for a fashion week in the region before, he says. A great reason is obviously Aalto University and SSAW’s Tuomas Laitinen, who has a strong international network. The work he does for his students and this week is outstanding.

Fashion Editor Thomas Falkenstedt and journalist Jani Niipola agree.

— I was able to exchange thoughts with colleagues from around the world in this week of fashion by which Helsinki kicks off the fashion week season, doing it in their own, thorough, immaculate — yet, entirely Finnish — way, says Falkenstedt, adding: We know all about Finnish excellence when it comes to design and architecture, but finally, Finland has emerged as a fashion nation as well, combining all previous knowledge from decades of design successes with technological innovations leading to practical solutions for sustainability applicable in the entire industry.

— Fashion in Helsinki is a very impressive showcase for Finnish creative talent, says Niipola. It’s great to see that every year we see more and more nuanced variations of this talent. If there is a Helsinki School or scene, it is very raw and surprising and grows in many directions.

What were the highlights of the week?

Westling: — I was really enjoying the fashion seminar I attended at REX, where industry personalities spoke about different subjects within the fashion industry. I got extra touched by PR-genius Alban Adam’s conversation with photographer Jordan Hemmingway and REPILCA’s fashion editor Benjamin Kirchoff. They brought up some really important subjects about the way we need to see ourselves and our work with. Things I believe many people forget when one is active in the fashion business. The other highlight was definitely Aalto’s graduation show Näytös. It was an amazing show, and it showed that Aalto is the best fashion school in the North. The garments and concepts were very well-made and thoughtful. Falkenstedt: — The visit to the 4th highest ranked design university in Europe, Aalto, which in a unique way combines fashion, science, and business into a final product out of which my second highlight of the week emerges: Näytös. It was a stunning show setting a standard no other design school in the Nordics even come close. Niipola: — Näytös and the brand presentations. The Aalto Fashion show has become an attraction to international media and deservedly so. I also appreciate the fact that our commercial brands held their presentations on their turf from Kämp Garden to the Frenn shop and give an open view to current Finnish fashion in all its glory. Louekari: — Fashion Seminar 19 with the presentations of 6 Aalto Alumnies, Juslin & Maunula, Sasu Kauppi, Matti Liimatainen, Kasia Gorniak, Maria Korkeila and ensemble. And the presentations by Samuji, Terhi Pölkki, Mannisto, Arela, R-Collection, Nomen Nescio, halo and Klaus Haapaniemi at the Garden — Center for Finnish Fashion.

Robin, which Finnish designers shall we keep an extra eye on?

– Helsinki-based Rolf Ekroth, both with his own eponymous label and as Creative Director at old sportswear brand Terenit, that he really has hotted up, and London-based Heikki Salonen who runs artistic workwear brand Vyner Articles and is CD at MM6 Maison Margiela.

Martta, what are your future plans?

— To grow the event a bit bigger, but not too big, and find new and different ways to celebrate Finnish design and young talents.