Lepokorpi is a women’s wear line launched in 2012 by award-winning designer Saara Lepokorpi and her partner Karri Lehtovuori. For each collection, the label develops unique materials in-house, the inspiration for which is based on the designers’ everyday observations and the ambition to express profound ideas through superficially mundane forms. A collision of strong masculinity and warm, intelligent femininity is fundamental to the label, with sportswear elements and smart casual dressing coalescing with a transgressive, artisanal vision. Here, Saara Lepokorpi answer our questions. How did growing up in Finland influence your aesthetic? I grew up with no fashion influence. My aesthetic develops first from forms and textures, and the stylistic thinking comes along later. The richness of references and clash of ideas in any one collection is a result of absorbing all kinds of influences in a relatively short period of time. Do you think there is there a distinct Finnish aesthetic? There are two stylistic universes in Finland, minimalism and a reaction to the ideals of minimalism that Finns have for so long held dear. Today, we live between Russia and Sweden, and I can see influences coming from both Slavic and western cultures, which makes it quite different from what you see elsewhere.
What’s your favorite thing about being based in Finland? It’s rather demanding to work in Finland, because the fashion community is so small here, and we are geographically separate from everything. However, this also allows a freedom of thought. I feel I can simply concentrate in doing my own thing when there isn’t so much happening all the time. I’m also privileged to receive interns from such a fantastic school as Aalto!
Meet Finland’s Rising Fashion Stars
“Finland is not a land of high glamour. My clothes are usually based on functional garments like workwear and military uniforms.”
“We live between Russia and Sweden. I can see influences coming from both Slavic and western cultures, which makes it quite different from what you see elsewhere.”
“I grew up surrounded by Marimekko curtains and table wear, using Fiskars scissors and drinking from Iittala glasses. In away you could not help it how you got influenced by the iconic Finnish design from the golden ages.”
“Of course we are influenced by things beyond our borders too, but there is without a doubt a certain Finnish aesthetic which mixes with Karelian roughness and both cultures are strongly influenced by nature. “
“Finland is evident in everything I do, but not necessarily very noticeably. It’s sort of a national feeling of a pacifist.”
“Samuji aims to create functional, sustainable design—items that serve a purpose and yet carry a story.”
“Finland is so far away from fashion capitals that you are able to perceive fashion from an outsider’s perspective.”
R/H “Finnish people are naturally good at individualism because of our lone wolf kind of mentality.”
Hair and make-up by Emilie Tuuminen. Model: Stephanie Cook at Brand Model Management.
Photos by Chris Vidal Tenomaa, styled by Maija Sallinen. Hair and make-up by Emilie Tuuminen. Model: Stephanie Cook at Brand Model Management.