I’ve never really considered Finland when thinking about fashion. It’s one of those countries that feels close to me because of the nordic camaraderie, and I consider it a super creative and WOKE country (for the most part). Even though street style photography kind of blew up after Hel-looks launched online (street style from the capital Helsinki), it’s been pretty quiet in terms of fashion news.
Which leads me to this pleasant surprise on my Snapchat story feed from yesterday. Finnair and Helsinki airport Finavia got together and created “Match Made in HEL” (love the pun) which according to the website aims to “celebrate Nordic uniqueness of Helsinki as the midway point between Asia and Europe”. In short, one of Finland’s biggest fashion personas Tuomas Laitinen chose seven designers to present their work on a 3000 meter long AIRPORT runway! Being in the PR field I really love this idea, from the clever title to the pick of artists; Chinese Shangguan Zhe, Swedish Anders Haal, Finish Heikki Salonen, South-Korean Hyein Seo, Danish Henrik Vibskov, Japanese Arashi Yanagawa and London-based Bora Aksu.
The annual H&M Design Award, created to kick-start the career of fresh design talents announced the winner of this years competition; Royal College of Arts graduate Hannah Jinkins! The prize includes not only recognition by important industry people (such as Balmain’s Olivier Rousteing and Nick Knight), but also a one-year mentorship from H&M, a cash prize of €50 000 and the opportunity to launch their winning collection in H&M next fall.
Her collection felt very workwear inspired. Jinkins spoke to Vogue about her collection and informed; “It was about mending things. I looked at Japanese processes of repair and the idea that things are more valuable when you fix them, so that’s where the stapling came from. In my research I found all this pottery that had been mended and on the reverse side you saw all these little staples and to me that was such a beautiful detail. So it became about finding beauty in pieces that were damaged or worn or broken.” vogue.co.uk
I wanted to use this opportunity to also give a shout out to Gabriel Castro, one of the finalists. I loved his work a lot and hope to see more from him very soon!
This woman has been on my radar for a bit now after first discovering her Tumblr account for her namesake brand Marieyat this summer. It took some digging around – but perhaps unsurprisingly – not many people do delicate, knit lingerie so the journey from google keywords to her site was simple.
Marie Yat, a Central Saint Martin’s graduate from Hong Kong has created a line of comfortable yet unconventional lingerie and loungewear. I mega drawn to this, as comfort is key to my whole wardrobe, including what’s underneath my clothes. On her website, she explains that the brand seeks to co-create un-compromised style, which is reflected in the quality use of silk and wool fabric with feminine lines. What is really lovely about this brand for me is that it’s so obvious that it is made from a woman’s perspective of comfort and style. She says the designs blur the lines of lingerie and unisex underwear, and she nails it. A lot of underwear is designed to be sexy to men – and all though there is nothing wrong with wearing lacy underwear, it is not the most comfortable. Still to me, the type of design Marieyat offers are sexy designs – they follow the lines of the body and the way they have been shot for the lookbook feels void of the male gaze, a concept several other outlets agrees with.
The lookbook itself is so beautiful – its colour palette is delicate and the composition is moving and empowering in many ways. It feels completely unedited, leaving the models stretch marks alone, something I can only assume is greatly appreciated by women everywhere. I’m really excited for her online shop to open this November, so stay tuned on her website for that and follow her on Instagram (it’s AMAZINGLY gorgeous, you don’t want to miss it).
Balenciaga is one of the brands that I really and truly appreciate. Cristóbal Balenciaga himself is perhaps my all-time favourite artist, presenting new silhouettes such as the tunic, the baby doll and the sack dress. So many of the shapes that we kind of take for granted as just being there today have been carefully thought out by him. Even Christian Dior himself called him “the master of us all”, referencing Cristóbal’s work with fabrics and silhouettes.
After Cristóbal’s passing away, a few other people has tried to breathe life into the Balenciaga brand, but it didn’t really take off until then-head designer Nicolas Ghesquière revamped it, and in the mid-2000’s the label was once again innovative, exciting and in the press. Ghesquière has taken some wrong turns in terms of copying others, but I felt he was a great fit for the Balenciaga brand. I was quite sad to see him go just a few years ago, and curios of Alexander Wang’s takeover for such an old, historical fashion house. I like the pieces and collection that he’s made but if it was in tune with the creativity that I would expect the brand to present… sadly no – I find him much more suiting for a more urban and raw aesthetic such as his own namesake label. There are two sides to take-over stories like this though; on the one hand the history and original aesthetic and vision should be maintained to a certain degree. It’s what makes the brand special, I find trying to change old brands into something different is lazy. Then, you are just cruising on a name instead of starting from scratch with your own. On the other side, fashion changes and fluctuates and cannot remain the same. New people come with new ideas and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Today it was announced that Wang’s replacement with be Vetements designer Demna Gvasalia. I’m really intrigued, Vetements have a history of using materials in unconventional ways, creating new shapes and playing with silhouettes. But it is very street so time will tell if Gvasalia can incorporate his love for experimenting into a more refined style. It’s a really unusual pairing and I can’t help but feel like Kering (former PPR) is trying to cash in on the growing market for anti-fashion.
Some of Gvasalia’s recent (and interesting) work for Vetements SS16:
The Olsen’s have come a long way since singing about which twin was the cute one. Their brand The Row and it’s collections have become one of the most highly anticipated presentations for me come fashion week. I think they’ve encompassed the elegance and poise of a mature woman; their pieces are modern but timeless. It looks effortless, which is something that always draws me in. The styling was as always very simple with a minimal amount of beauty products and accessories.
This collection includes a lot of their now signature pieces; the wide pants, the nautral colours and the play with volume. When I think of The Row’s main customer, I think of someone that gets-shit-done, is hard around the edges but with a soft personality. Everything I want to be, haha. Have a look at their Spring 2016 collection below!
HARDCORE HAPPINESS! This Danish menswear/womenswear/unisex brand really puts a smile on my face! Focusing on wearability as well as having a social conscience, Colo uses strictly organic materials and keeps production within Europe.
A “faceless” brand, Colo was founded in 2014 in the Danish capital of Copenhagen – which also happens to be the fashion capital of Scandinavia. It’s also the place where you’ll find lots of happy people on bikes, which for me is kind of reflected in their work! The clothes are fun, light hearted and sporty. Their first collection, SS15, was even titled “Hardcore Happiness”, with printed tee’s, jumpsuits and even a pair of earrings with Ryan Gosling’s face printed on them. Wacky yet endearing.
Their second and current collection, FW15 (or, “I Love You On The Internet), is in spirit with their spring line and includes graphic prints and underwear as outerwear in the perhaps least sexy way. We’re talking long bottoms and super-underwear, common up here in the northern hemisphere. So, there is a good chunk of irony involved! It is their third and upcoming collection that I’m really down for – entitled “I Don’t Know”. It’s a lot more wearable than their fall line, in my opinion. The shapes and cuts are still sports inspired but very interesting, with witty quotes printed in unexpected places like on the sleeve. I’m in love with the crop-top jumper!
The designs are almost kind of naïve, which is refreshing. It’s based on comfort, revolved around ecologic materials and a counterpart to maximalism.
Before popping off to Spain for a week I squeezed in a visit to Frank Remme’s showroom and studio in Oslo to have a chat and look at his upcoming SS16 collection. I think this is my third post about his work, and I’m thrilled to see the brand’s progress!
The Spring/Summer collection consists of around 30 pieces, enabling quality over quantity. This time around, Frank was inspired by the film Black Swan by Darren Aronofsky. This may not be obvious at first glance, however, the more you look at the work, the more it becomes clear! It’s about the good and the bad; the stark contrasts of cute and raw. He’s created a really fab print of a bird with a blood red beak, which is used throughout the collection. It almost has a sinister feel to it, which is in turn disrupted by humor and clean silhouettes. For instance, one of the pieces I completely fell in love with is a jumper in a really fine material with the bird printed on the front, mirrored so it appears to be dancing with itself; ballerina style. It’s quite ingenious and memorable! The print is also used layered, creating a pattern in which you have to focus on to be able to see what is depicted. In other words, a clever anecdote of the film’s leading character. The ballerina attire is given a modern twist in the collection through a “wrap” sweater in delicate fabrics, flowing skirts and dresses with his signature A-line flowy silhouettes and spaghetti straps.
Then, as his colleague Kristin explained, his inspiration was drawn towards botany. Greens, plants, vegetation. While this seems to be out of the left field compared to a collection largely inspired by a ballerina film, it somehow works. The colour scheme of the bright greens mashes up well next to the neutrals of white, nude, grey and black, just as well as with the bright blue.
Further on, I have seen the skinny scarf light! I’ve been quite hesitant towards them, not being able to imagine them as a modern accessory. In the collection, soft, jersey skinny scarfs lifts the garments while being cohesive. As always, the collection has a lot of personality and it’s hard not to be excited about everything they have been able to accomplish already! Follow him on Instagram and Facebook for more updates, inspiration and fun behind-the-scenes shots.
This Monday I stopped by Arv studios to check out the new Fall/Winter collection. Arv focuses primarily but not exclusively on outerwear, and it’s a field they’ve become experts on. The brand was founded by sisters Elisabeth, Maria and their sister-in-law Trine Hege in 2013, and is located in my hometown of Ålesund, Norway (making it perhaps even more exciting for me; hometown pride and all!).
The history of ARV (english: legacy) is wonderful – the girl’s great-grandfather started up his own design factory just under a hundred years ago, focusing on coats and jackets, namely Tomren Factory. The company soon became well-known in Norway for quality outerwear, employing hundreds of people before it was affected by a rapidly changing import market and closed shop in the 1970’s. Two years ago the sisters created ARV, following in their family’s footsteps.
Their collections consists of few pieces, enabling carefully thought-out designs. Quality and longevity is important, and the coats are made “close” to home in Poland, Europe. The girls have a love for woolly materials; perfect for Autumn, and they also have coats in the new collection made from thinner materials for layering and warmer days.
Being a small, independent company allows them to pay attention to every aspect of their label. For example, Trine Hege does great photography for their marketing. This, I love; you can tell that their personalities and love for the trade is embedded in their designs and the story surrounding each piece. For instance, one of their best-selling jackets, the amazing off-white teddy coat Liv, is loosely inspired by a leopard print piece designed by Tomren Factory which was passed down to Elisabeth. They also have some really cool vintage catalogues from Tomren Factory where some of the cuts and silhouettes can be revisited in their new collections – but with their own modern twist.For their third ever collection, they’ve focused on minimalistic shapes, collars and calm, neutral colours perfect for everyday use. The pieces are super comfortable, soft to the touch and feels like something you can practically live in all season through! The Autumn/Winter collection is just around the corner and will hit the stores any day now, and will be sold in selected stores around Norway as well as online (here and here). Last but not least, have a look at their amazing Instagram feed as well for updated information and great images, it’s super inspiring! ↓ via their instagram
Between work and going out of town, I’ve had a bit of a surprise internet hiatus and all of a sudden, Copenhagen Fashion Week came and went! It is the most recognized fashion happening in Scandinavia, and brings out a lot of people from not only the neighbouring countries, but also from around the world. There are runway shows, trunk shows, trade shows and events with the coinciding Copenhagen International Fashion Fair. Needless to say, the city is buzzing at this time. Here are some of the highlights!
Finally, the finished show list and schedule for the first ever Oslo Runway has been released, consisting of five great talents residing in Norway. Oslo Runway is more or less meant to replace the purpose of Oslo Fashion Week, an initiative that was cancelled last Spring, leaving the capital without a main fashion week for the past year and a half. You can read more about it here!There have been some great smaller platforms such as Up [øpp] for new talents, and I’m happy to see that they are trying to create a more “official” event for both new and established brands.
The event will take place on the 11th of August and I’ll of course keep you updated on the SS16 collections that will be presented during the shows. These are the designers showing;
A brand that’s been a lot of buzz around lately in the Norwegian media. The clothes are quite flirty, feminine and somewhat bohemian inspired, designed by Tine Mollatt.
A menswear brand that makes classic pieces with a youthful finish, designed by John Vinnem.
Known for her use of unconventional materials, the designer creates staple wardrobe garments with feminine silhouettes.
Anne Karine Thorbjørnsen
An up-and-coming designer who creates pieces with surprising cuts and finishes for an edgy yet wearable look.
Epilogue by Eva Emanuelsen
Designed by Eva Emanuelsen, this brand takes a classic approach to style with minimalistic design and fresh elements.