Helsinki-based designer Satu Maaranen nabbed first prize at the prestigious Hyéres Fashion Festival 2013 by unanimous decision with her graduation collection from Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture. She began her career at iconic Finnish design house Marimekko, where she still consults frequently. Here, she answers our questions.
How did growing up in Finland influence your aesthetic? I grew up surrounded by Marimekko curtains and tablewear, using Fiskars scissors and drinking from Iittala glasses. In a way, you couldn’t help how influential Finnish design from the golden ages—the ‘50s and ‘60s. We have very strong history in design and architecture; Alvar Aalto, Sarpaneva, Wirkkala, Vuokko etc. and of course Marimekko prints! The bold aesthetic and timeless simplicity came from there. My use of color probably came from art classes that I took when I was 6 years old, and from Mariemekko prints, where the colors and original mix play such an important role.
Do you think there is there a distinct Finnish aesthetic? Finnish design is eccentric, clean in cut, but rich in textile print and color. It is much more bolder and experimental than other Scandinavian design. There is also something very primitive and raw to it.
What’s your favorite thing about being based in Finland? My home city Helsinki and how exciting it is! I love the harbor, fish market and the area Punavuori/ Eira where my studio is located, with all the new restaurants. Helsinki is small enough so you can walk everywhere and you know all the people in your own field/profession.
Do you have a favorite Finnish designer? It would be Vuokko Nurmesniemi, the grand lady of Finnish design and fashion. I also love what Laura Juslin is doing at the moment.
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.