Sasu Kauppi, a graduate of Central Saint Martins in London, established his namesake label in Helsinki in 2011. His specialty is high-end sportswear—which he gives a raw twist. His over all aim is to create fashion with an attention to detail inspired by subcultures and phenomena. Here, he answers our questions.
How did growing up in Finland influence your aesthetic? I think it gave me a certain type of pride. Living in a big country of small population and quite extreme weather conditions a bit far from everything probably makes you want to be noticed. Finland is evident in everything I do, but not necessarily very noticeably. It’s sort of a national feeling of a pacifist.
Do you think there is there a distinct Finnish aesthetic? There definitely is no certain Finnish style. There are a lot of talented designers here doing their own thing. We need each other for networking and as friends and colleagues, not for sharing an aesthetic.
What’s your favorite thing about being based in Finland? This is very personal. I love Helsinki and the creative atmosphere here. I’m usually most inspired during mild—some would say cold—autumn months. I also love the summer, cycling around, the good food and at rare occasions being able not to do anything but enjoy the nature.
Do you have a favorite Finnish designer? There are a lot of talented designers from Finland. If I would have to pick one, I would go with Tiia Siren, who’s currently based in London.
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.