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Style, innovation & equality

Laura Vartiainen

Stylist Laura Vartiainen, 26, grew up in the suburbs of Helsinki. Now she’s based in London and works with magazines such as the Gentlewoman. She’s known for her smooth and youthful aesthetics.

Edited by Robin Douglas Westling Photography Lars Brønseth

London, UK

When did you realise that you wanted to work in fashion?

— I’m probably still figuring that out. Honestly, I have to thank some of my closest friends from high school. They pursued a genuine interest in fashion and, by meeting them, I was encouraged to consider fashion as a profession, not just a hobby.

Why did you choose to work as a stylist?

— I don’t think I ever consciously made the decision, it has just come by working hard.

Did you start as an assistant?

— I started by interning at Arena Homme+ magazine when I was at university in London, and whilst still studying I worked my way up to a junior position at both POP & AH+. I left and freelanced for a while after I graduated until I became a full-time first assistant. I still owe all my first opportunities to the people I’ve assisted along the way.

What in fashion interests you the most?

— That you’re working within a box, or at least with some set of rules, and everything else is down to you. The restriction pushes creativity.

What is most interesting in Finnish men’s fashion today?

— I love the trend where younger guys wear head-to-toe Marimekko prints, bringing it back big time. I also really love what Maria Korkeila is doing with her brand.

What inspires you as a stylist?

— I’d love to say it’s one person or decade, but it’s usually more about seeing average people on streets.

Is there any special job that has been extra important to you?

— All shoots are equally interesting but in different ways. I shot a perfume campaign in September with Ryan McGinley in India and it was my birthday. I think it was the most emotional job I’ve done because he was one of the people I looked up to when I was younger, and India is a little overwhelming anyway.

Is there anything you want to change in the fashion industry?

— This is an essay question really, there are a lot of things that need fixing, from how people treat each other to financial issues. A lot is happening already but all I can say is I’ll aim to work the best I can to make it a better place for at least the people around me.