Finland

Weak in the Knees for Fashion Week: Marimekko Store Visit

September 8, 2012

Marimekko x Converse CT HI Papajo Sneaker

Puffy navy blue jackets with warm yellow polka-dots, oversized sweaters with grey and green stripes, and those chucks. I must have those Chucks!

Thursday, as preparations for Fashion’s Night Out were underway, I had the rare opportunity (sleeping baby!) to do a little window shopping in the city; more specifically, at Marimekko’s 5th Avenue flagship store. My love for the brand runs deep and far back, to these quintessential Pikku Bo Boo children’s sheets that I’m sure many of us had. Then there was my 1967 Marimekko prom dress (more on that here) which I will be pulling out of the closet for Marimekko’s very first New York Fashion Week show on Monday… Now, looking around the house, I need more than the digits I have to count the Marimekko that has found its way into my life. It’s a good fit: the Finnish brand is an explosion of glowing colors and painterly textiles, channeled into clothing (and beyond) that need not follow seasonal trends of color ways and cuts. Each fresh collection has me counting my pennies and coming back for more: something that I cannot say for many other labels making their way into my closet.

Back to the windowshopping: nearly impossible for me to concentrate, everything in the store was catching my eye. It all started with the perfect puffy Origo jacket slowly circling overhead: dark blue with warm yellow polka-dots. Perched nearby on a log were another killer pair of Chucks from the Converse ❤’s Marimekko collaboration (seen above). Further in the store, past the floor-to-ceiling library of Marimekko fabric bolts, I drooled over a wall of striped shirts, leggings, and socks: Even our closets look alike! Nearby, the children’s section was whispering: “buy us Lo! Henri needs a bright red backpack covered in pencils.” Realizing I was in too deep, I scurried back around the other wall of the store toward YZ waiting patiently with Pip by the exit. But not so fast as to miss the wonderful, oversized grey- and zephyr green-striped Ympäripyöreä sweater waiting patiently for me to welcome it into my home. Marimekko. Lo ❤’s you. See you on Monday!

Kawaii! » Angry Birds are Back! And Cuddly! Piggies Too! Oink!

February 23, 2011

Angry Birds' Yellow BirdAngry Birds' Moustache Pig
Angry Birds' King PigAngry Birds' Blue Bird
top: Yellow Bird and Moustache Pig
bottom: King Pig and Blue Bird

So, we all know that one of the best (and cutest) games on mobile devices these days is Rovio’s Angry Birds. Not only is the game ever-expanding, they make kick-ass seasonal versions (did you SEE the valentine’s day edition? Cupid piggies!!). Well, for us devoted fans, there’s one more piece of the Angry Bird empire you can own: the characters… as plushes! Choose your side: Piggies or Birds, or just sit on the fence and collect them all. The plushes are available in three sizes: 5″, 8″, or 16″. Limited quantities available so fly on over before they’re all gone!


T-Shirt Tuesdays » CTRL Yourself!

September 28, 2010

top: CTRL Clothing Onobe Tee
middle: CTRL Clothing Izabela and Public Domain Tees
top: CTRL Clothing Rock Paper Scissors and GZA Tees

Helsinki clothing label CTRL is a fashion-forward flashback for an aging 20-something’s memories of youth: raves, rap, spray paint, acid wash… The clothier’s creative director, Freeman, founded the label waaay back in 1995 with the purest of pursuits: chasing tail. Fortunately, as the company has matured so has the founder (a smidge), who’s attention is now on possible philanthropy with humanitarian organization, preserving skateboard culture, and oh, yes, a footwear line… Happy Tuesday homefries!

“It’s about the troubled, all-the-time suffering teenagers.” — Freeman via Format Mag

T-Shirt Tuesdays » NoStyleButGoodSense

September 21, 2010

top: NoStyleButGoodSense The Greatest Fall to the Smallest Cloud and Class Z Tees
bottom: NoStyleButGoodSense Pok and Trak Tees

The work of Helsinki “fashionbrand” Gilles et Dada is almost as discombobulating as their credo but one thing is for sure: we’d wear the tees. Found at the label’s online shop with an equally odd/fun name, NoStyleButGoodSense, these slightly long, black & white or black & asphalt numbers are indeed very Dada-meets-graffiti, a Hannah Höch + WK Interact love child of sorts. Tees are priced at about €32 and all orders over €90 ship free anywhere in the world!


PS. For more of WK’s stunning street art, check out his site here!

Welcome Home » It’s Not That You Need It: Kiosk Store

September 14, 2010

top: On/Off Switch from Mexico City, Mexico and Plastic Pocket Flask from Lohja, Finland
bottom: Cotton Kite String from Kowloon, Hong Kong and Zinc Plated Wire Basket from Texas, USA

We’ll be the first to admit it. Blogging at Lo’s List, it’s sometimes easy to get carried away in the pursuit of the top ten next best things. It’s easy to get caught on the twin, sophisticated prongs of design & marketing. Luckily, just when we need it, a site like Kiosk Store will pop up on our radar and rebuke the faster-better-brighter habits of our industry.

The Kiosk Store is probably best described as a curation of objects from around the world that you might, unexpectedly, like. Although most of the objects have some enduring history of localized production, no single style, source or category dominates here. Among the featured items you’ll find toy submarines from the States, wire dish covers from Provence, kite string out of Hong Kong and Finnish candles. While some of them might be recognizably iconic, these are not the objects you never knew you ought to want, or things you have that someone’s re-perfected. Kiosk’s presentation of plastic flasks and on-off switches is an extended paean to the persistence of the well-enough and simply made thing.

It’s also a disarmingly straightforward reflection on the links between the stuff we buy and use and the places we go. Its arrangement of products and geography feels sweetly nostalgic but honest, and its embrace of a more homely, ‘anonymous’ design-aesthetic invites us to write our own history onto the every-day things we use. Sound like a stretch? Ok — then just admire this shrimper or this wax book!


top: Beechwood Cheese Slicer from Norway and Plastic Diving Submarine from Washington, USA
bottom: 10" Wire Plate Cover from France and Beeswax Candles from Lintula Convent, Finland

Geekology » Angry Birds! Piggies! Parabolaaaas!

June 19, 2010

Angry Birds by Rovio is available for your iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Verizon Droid, Blackberry & more!

Although I try to delegate most of my iPadding to productive tinkering like to-do lists (Taksa), concept sketches (Adobe Ideas), blogging (WordPress), proposals (Pages), and keeping up with the times (NPR, BBC News, TIME Magazine, Paris Match…), it’s hard to resist the smattering of impeccably designed gaming apps available on my new favorite gadget. One evening, after a long day of PHP code, I found a surprise that YZ had left in my section of our iPad library: Angry Birds. A couple weeks and a big fat 105 levels later the game was conquered and had earned a quick-access spot on my iPad dock.

Collaboratively built by the Helsinki-based viral development and marketing company Rovio (of which Angry Birds is just one of dozens of games the firm has built for bigwigs like Nokia, Vivendi, Namco Bandai, and Apple) and gaming publisher Chillingo (of Minigore, Sneezies, Knights Onrush, and Zombie Wonderland greatness), this endlessly ROTFL game is a must-get — and modestly priced at just $5 from the app store. Be sure to delve into the game with your device’s sound nice and loud, as the snorting piggies and cackling birds are just the tip of this iceberg. Weave through 105 levels of porky destruction and build up an arsenal of 5 species of Angry Birds, each with their own destructive specialty! And if you’re a physics geek, there’s even more to love as this game is all about mastering the parabola!

Some favorite levels!

Fashion Scout » Q&A with iLook’s Nimi » Tel Aviv Street Style Deciphered

January 27, 2010

iLook - Tel Aviv Street StyleiLook - Tel Aviv Street StyleiLook - Tel Aviv Street Style
iLook - Tel Aviv Street StyleiLook - Tel Aviv Street StyleiLook - Tel Aviv Street Style
iLook - Tel Aviv Street StyleiLook - Tel Aviv Street StyleiLook - Tel Aviv Street Style


Last summer, while scurrying around Tel Aviv for an MTV Iggy feature on the city’s lively design, music, and pop-culture scene, I managed to take a quick coffee break with Nimi Avigal (creator of iLook and the new London-centric StyleTube) to discuss the in’s and out’s of being Tel Aviv’s sole street style blogger. Under a very sticky laurel tree on King George Street, we talked about the quirks of Israeli style, the lessons learned from his stint in the army, and how we’re both unhealthily obsessed with online DIY marketplace, Etsy. Check out the full Q&A below with our favorite snaps from the blog. Also, don’t miss our follow-up with the blogger – now prowling the streets of London for the city’s most stylish Brits!

QSo, who’s worth taking a picture of? What’s your process?

I just walk around; I see hundreds of people and just, whoever catches my eye… I don’t look for anything specific; I just wait for something to jump out at me. It’s mostly young people. In Israel, older people don’t really go for a unique style; they stick to what’s conservative.

QIt’s also a little hard to get creative – all the unique stuff is so expensive here!

Not only expensive, it takes courage – older people are simply more conservative.

QSo, where in your travels did you see some really curious, daring fashion?

In London! I just love London! The style! Here it would take hundreds of people to get one good photo and there, it’s like, every five! It’s so fun, because it’s much easier to get pictures. I also like the style in New York – especially Williamsburg – the feeling, the atmosphere – relaxed but cool. Like how the East Village used to be, but it’s no longer that way…

QSometimes they’re a little too cool…

Yes, but for me, someone who was there for only a week, it was fun. In Israel we have a holiday called Purim (similar to Halloween) and we have this saying: “it’s a pity it’s not Purim everyday”…

QThere are definitely some cities that embrace that saying: Tokyo, London…

And it’s fun! But, it can get a bit competitive… Here in Israel, I can walk out [of the house] wearing anything anywhere if I wanted to and no one would judge me if I’m not “fashionable” enough. In Manhattan, I did feel I needed to stand up to the level. But for vacation, it’s fun to play along – I only took my best clothes and my camera…

QGive me your favorite!

You know Kedem Sasson? You can see his influences from the East – like the big shapes – oversized…

QYes, like djellabas almost…

Very creative, yes. So, he takes the Far East and gives it a touch of sophistication – a little haute couture. You know he’s on the Israeli Project Runway – you know, like that guy who coaches the contestants?

QLike, the Israeli Tim Gunn?! Is he as sweet?

Yes, totally sweet!


iLook - Tel Aviv Street Style BlogiLook - Tel Aviv Street Style BlogiLook - Tel Aviv Street Style Blog


QSo, when did iLook start?

It’s been going for three years now and I had no prior experience… I wasn’t even really aware of street fashion or the fashion world. I just Googled street fashion and found some really amazing stuff…

QThere are some great blogs out there…

Yeah, like Hel Looks in Helsinki? I really love that one…

QYes! One of my favorites!

So I decided to hit the street – I walked to Shenkin Street – and I saw this girl wearing a Victorian dress with glowing pink bangs (the rest of her hair was black)… and I thought, why can’t Israel have a street fashion website? So, I came back home and I Googled “Israeli street fashion” and there was nothing. So I made one. It was very spontaneous: I just took my camera and walked down the street and started photographing people.

QAnd the response was?

At first they were confused because they didn’t know where the content was going to live – blogs weren’t as common three years ago… But now people are much more aware – almost everyone has a blog! Now, when I tell people “I have a street fashion blog…” people aren’t as confused. Some of them even know about iLook!

QWhat other info do you gather from your subjects?

Yes, and sometimes I ask them a few more questions, like, if they make their own clothes I ask them where they sell the stuff… or I might ask them their profession – I think it’s interesting…

QYeah! What does an Israeli accountant wear? Or a math geek with amazing style?

I try to engage with them a bit – after they tell me what they wear, they tend to get more talkative…

QThe icebreaker! Any styles you thought you would never see in Tel Aviv?

One day I came across three Lolitas! They were so cute – exactly like the pictures you see from Japan! The middle girl was a bit American Beauty: blond with braids… In Israel we have very few of these – maybe five total in Tel Aviv. I think mostly because it’s so hot here… and because it really does look like a costume. I had a few Lolitas contact me – asking me to take their picture. I think they just want to be recognized and accepted…

QSo, is iLook your bread and butter?

Oh, no! Some of my pictures are featured in Israeli magazines but that pays very little. I’m a lawyer, actually. Yes… I am…

QNo way! What kind of law!?

I just finished my bar exam but I’m leaning towards human rights law…

QGood choice! Did you pass the bar!?

Yes, thank you! So, I’m on vacation right now… I started the blog during my studies. It was a nice balance: work & play.

QDid you also design the blog yourself? It’s so pleasantly minimal…

Yes, in fact, during my military service I was in charge of designing websites – administrative stuff – but I would have fun with it, get creative… It was a great environment for me. When I go abroad, people are shocked that I was in the military. It’s really not that shocking!


iLook - Tel Aviv Street StyleiLook - Tel Aviv Street StyleiLook - Tel Aviv Street Style


QSo, what’s next for you, now that you’ve finished your studies?

Well, I’m actually moving to England for nine months! I’m going there with my partner: he’s getting his PhD in linguistics, but I still need to figure out what I’m going to do there! When I went to London I fell in love with the street fashion. Then I got to New York and I felt it was so different. Williamsburg is the one NY neighborhood that feels the closest to the fashion vibe in London…

QManhattan can get a little snobby at times: lots of labels…

…and that doesn’t impress me at all. People can tell me “Oh, it’s Gucci” but… fuck that.

QYeah! I want to hear about the random designer in the Arkansas boondocks!

Etsy!!

QDon’t get me started! The time I spend on that site…

It’s amazing – the Internet at its best!

QFor sure – all the tools! So… any crazy travel stories before we go?

Actually, yes: China! I was traveling with a local guide and he took me to his parents’ house in a little village. The house was on stilts under which lived the family pigs. The toilets were just a hole in the floor that led straight to the pigs: circle of life, you know? In the middle of the tiny house was a fireplace from which dinner was made and served. After the humble meal they opened a closet and there inside was a massive plasma TV! Crazy! They watched something Chinese, a soap opera I think, and then everyone went to sleep on the floor around the dying fire. The mixture was so intense… That’s China!


Read the full Q&A at MTV Iggy!

iLook - Tel Aviv Street Style Blog

Fashion Scout » Marimekko Pt. 2

September 25, 2009

Samu-Jussi Koski - Petra Dress


There is very little light in Finland’s long, dark winter. But we know how to cheer ourselves up; running through the snow back to the warmth of the smoke sauna, lighting storm lamps on a windy night, jumping into the black water for an ice swim, eyes shut and screaming with delight. Kindling a fire in the grate, wrapping up in the warm and sinking into a good book. Enjoying the little big things, memories of summer in the depths of winter, colours hidden in the dark, and nature, which still lives under the black and white. We know how to take colours and breathe life into them. – Marimekko

I am a long-standing advocate of gobs of color and uncanny hues in a garment. Not surprising, therefore, that the playful palettes (lilac & mustard, salmon & dark cerulean, peat & black) in Samu-Jussi Koski’s Fall/Winter ’09 collection for Marimekko give him instant brownie points in my book. Back with one of his first collections for Marimekko in spring ’05 (elegant shifts and ruffled skirts in teal, aubergine, and bright orange using Maija Isola’s Silmikko pattern) it was clear that Koski’s dance with color was a perfect fit for the Finnish design house. It also seems natural that a designer who pulls his inspiration from simple, quotidian, and slightly nostalgic moments (old photographs, jazz, cigarette smoke) would so seamlessly integrate the philosophy of dreams, contradictions, and everyday life behind Marimekko’s Autumn/Winter 09/10 line:

Of the whole collection – from the flexible basics like the Edna shirt to the rich, blue cocoon Nitya jacket – I can’t stop fawning over the Petra Dress (shown above) in which Koski refreshes Maija Isola’s 1965 Pergola pattern with the help of Maija’s daughter Kristina Isola (clearly the omena doesn’t fall far from the tree) – creating very current colorways that maintain the timeless spirit of a Mari girl, here described by Finnish woman’s magazine Anna in 1965:

“A sophisticated young woman, sexy, self-assured, with an interesting face, but not beautiful as such – a well-groomed, ageless woman who enjoys life and is surrounded by an atmosphere of vitality, a woman who refuses to be bored.”


Samu-Jussi Koski - Fall/Winter '09 Collection

Where to buy:

Find a Marimekko near you : Store Locator
Online : Finnish Design Shop

Fashion Scout » Marimekko Pt 1.

September 24, 2009

Mika Piirainen - Uranus Dress


Mika Mika Mika! How did you know that my closet’s been courting polka dots & stripes ever since my mother lost control of my fashion back in the early 80’s? In his Fall/Winter ’09 collection, Mika Piirainen, designing for Finnish uber-label Marimekko since 1994, uses some of the company’s very best patterns from past and present (Annika Rimala’s Raide stripes from 1966 & Kristina Isola’s Komeetta dots from 2008) to create bright, bold dresses that scream for attention but retain the delicacy and elegance signature to any Marimekko look. Check out the full collection of smocky dresses, nerdy chords, oversized tees & killer socks here.

One thing is for sure: Marimekko style is timeless. I unknowingly wore a 1967 Marimekko Keidas dress (another great Annika pattern) to my senior prom years ago. After moving to New York, the piece only emerged from it’s garment bag for the most special of occasions. Years into my design career I suddenly (like, anvil-on-the-head suddenly) realize that my prized dress had to be a Marimekko. Sure enough, the tiny label sewn into the collar proved me right…

Check back as I celebrate Fall at Marimekko with reviews of Samu-Jussi Koski’s latest collection and the badass pattern-making skills of Aino-Maija Metsola!


Mika Piirainen - Rois Dress

Where to buy:

Find a Marimekko near you : Store Locator
Online : Finnish Design Shop

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