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Finnish fashion embodies playful minimalism

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A new fashion event, Helsinki New Fashion Showcase presents up-and-coming Finnish fashion. CEO Miia Koski tells how the new generation of designers differs from the previous.

It comes with an attitude. It involves having fun. It does not follow trends or get old. It stands the test of time and relies on quality. It cannot mix and un-match. And it takes painstaking responsibility for the entire world.

“Finnish fashion design involves stronger and more powerful artistic expression compared to many other countries,” says CEO of Helsinki New Fashion Showcase Miia Koski.

This may be because Finnish urban culture and customs are fairly young. There is no established code for dressing in Finland. “Finnish fashion is not burdened with history. Finns feel more free to dress and self-express compared to designers in conservative clothing countries.”

“At best, fashion helps people build their own styles. Fashion helps perceive and build a way of self-expression,” Koski explains.

She has followed Finnish fashion closely for a couple of years. She is one of the founders of the Pre Helsinki event, her co-founder being Creative Director Martta Louekari. Now the duo is launching a new event: Helsinki New Fashion Showcase.

While Pre Helsinki focuses on marketing selected top names of Finnish fashion, Helsinki New presents the Finnish clothing industry more widely.

Miia Koski and Martta Louekari started the Helsinki New Fashion Showcase. © HANNE GRANBERG

Miia Koski and Martta Louekari started the Helsinki New Fashion Showcase. © HANNE GRANBERG

The Nordic attitude

Right now Finnish design is going through a reform period. Fashion brands have come and gone. Export rings have been established and basement boutiques opened. Finnish clothing industry differs from the offering in the rest of the Nordics by trusting on character. It does not blindly follow trends. It has adopted its comfort of use from the Nordic design tradition.

“Typically Finnish design is rich in materials, colours and strong prints that are combined with a simple Scandinavian idiom,” Koski explains.

There are no strict rules, except for ethical manufacture.

“Ecology and work conditions are really important to Finnish companies, although this is not always emphasized.”

Putting on a garment made in Finland seems like a statement. Finnish fashion is indeed statement fashion, with an attitude, even if minimalistic.

The new generation of designers has sought education out there in the world.

“Branding skills are on a completely new level now. It is typical for new entrepreneurs to learn and obtain a contact network from a well-known international clothing brand before starting their own company,” Koski says.

What is available to see and experience during the fashion event?

“At the students’ show of Aalto University you can check out the designs of Hanne Jurmu and Anton Vartiainen who succeeded in the Festival d’Hyères competition. Or you can hunt the last items of the Daniel Palillo brand at Helsinki New Shop pop-up store. And the Marimekko fashion show on Esplanade means that summer has started for everyone,” Koski hints.

Finnish-Greek designer of ONAR Irene Kostas combines Byzantine colour glow with Finnish minimalism. © ONAR

Helsinki New Fashion Showcase week from 20 to 29 May 2016

www.helsinkinew.fi

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