In July you debuted SZUTAN with a presentation at Helsinki Fashion Week. What are the designs of SZUTAN about? What problem does it solve?
All through my final MA year I worked closely with my friend Nina Tanskala on her BA collection which developed into the first collection for our women’s wear brand SZUTAN. We’re currently building from a foundation ethos that has stemmed from the Finnish national costume – a personal theme very close to Nina’s roots. To us, the costume represents a mode of dress that is unaltered by time and trend, designed to be comfortable and practical from handcrafted fabrics. The details, styling and cuts vary from region to region and all this information formed the basis of the collection we debuted at Helsinki Fashion Week. We aim to maintain this combination of craft, utility and romance but re-imagine it for women today. A lot of what we have designed so far has stemmed from designing/making efficiently, within limitations of time and with materials and machines we could access readily. Throughout the year, Nina and I worked together every Sunday – I would knit panels for her collection while she cut patterns for mine. We played to our strengths and realized our way of working is complementary and dynamic.
Why did you choose Amos Anderson Fine Art Museum for your presentation during Helsinki Fashion Week? What was the challenge of this experience?
The first time that Nina and I met Evelyn Moradzadeh, the director of Helsinki Fashion Week, she suggested Amos Anderson as the venue for our debut presentation. The romance and classicism of the 1800’s artwork and furniture really complemented our collection – there was amazing light that day and even striped chairs. The experience was a blast, from what I remember we spent most of our time laughing. I think the biggest challenge preceded the presentation: finishing my MA and then continuing working with Nina for the next six weeks was exhausting.
What particularly defines the sustainability of the Helsinki Fashion Week? Were there any rules for its participants related to this?
As a city, Helsinki has a really admirable scene in sustainable fashion. There are so many stores that stock exclusively eco-friendly brands and this mindset was echoed in the brands showing during the fashion week. There weren’t any rules, but we saw designers working entirely from deadstock or from certified sustainable materials.