Finland’s history is characterized by a struggle for influence between its two great neighbours, Sweden and Russia. Finland is originally populated by the Finnish people in the south and by the Sami people in Lapland. In the Middle Ages, Finland was colonized by Sweden in what is known as Sweden-Finland. In 1809, Sweden had to cede Finland to Russia. The country finally gained independence only after the Russian Revolution, officially on December 6, 1917.
Finnish culture today is therefore necessarily tinged with both Swedish and Russian culture. Whether in clothing, decoration, fabric manufacturing or printing, we find traces of past influences.
Among the pioneers in design and textiles in Finland, it is essential to mention Marimekko. Indeed, Marimekko is a large Finnish design company in the clothing, textiles and interior design sector. It designs, manufactures and markets, in Finland and abroad, clothing, interior decoration on textiles or glass, bags and other accessories. The notoriety of the brand was made thanks to its style: a set of simple patterns and very powerful colors. In 2017, the company launched a new design: Veljekset (brothers) for the 100th anniversary of Finland’s independence and the official founding of the country.
Finland has a prestigious university: Aalto University, which encompasses arts, design, architecture, science and engineering.
It is among the most advanced countries in the world in terms of environmental awareness, its innovations in ecology and in the application of innovative solutions for recycling and other green solutions.
In this regard, it is relevant to mention that a new fashion design practice has been applied for some years in Finland: designers are using recycled fabrics.
Finnish fashion and used textiles
Old cloths and rags are recycled into new fibers and fabrics before being transformed in turn into ranges of first-hand clothing. Fashion designers are now showing increased interest in textile reprocessing, a practice that drives the creation of exclusive fashion clothing and accessories.
By 2003, designer Seija Lukkala had come to be disillusioned with certain aspects of the textile industry after working in the industry for more than 13 years. She had observed in the meantime that the amount of textile waste was constantly increasing and that the employees of the large textile factories were working in appalling conditions.
A fabric with a story
“Seija decided to create clothes and accessories from used clothing and fabrics, and that’s how she created Globe Hope,” explains Miisa Asikainen, international sales manager for the Finnish company. “She realized that at the same time that natural resources were running out, the faster pace of working life and the throwaway culture that prevailed in the fashion industry were producing increasingly destructive effects.”
Several other companies exist in Finland with the same mission as Globe Hope, which is to protect the environment by promoting the recycling of fabric in the design of clothing.
Here are the best known:
- Globe Hope: https://globehope.com/
- Muka Va: https://mukava.net/
- Papu: https://papudesign.com/
- Pure Waste: https://www.purewaste.com/
- Dafecor: https://dafecor.fi/