WHAt InsPIres you? aSplund: Finland's dark forests and freezing cold winters are like a playground to me. Sometimes that darkness inspires something totally different. Right now I'm designing a line of kimonos that will be so stiff that the wearer will almost look like a statue of a Geisha. parIKKa: I aspire to filling my life with as many emotions and activities as possible. I'm always doing something, whether it's travelling, meeting new people, exercising, riding my motorbike, or going out to dinner with friends. Having an active and adventurous mentality is the key to becoming successful. HäGGKvISt: When I was studying fashion design in Milan I was inspired by my roots and the work of Finland's beloved architect, Alvar Aalto. I used soft and pliable wood veneer typical of Aalto's designs in my clothing, bags, and jewelry. I use reindeer leather because it's buttery soft and ecological. Reindeer are bred as meat cattle but spend their lives roaming freely around Lapland. ince breaking onto the Finnish fashion scene in 2009 after appearing on the local version of Project Runway, a reality fashion TV competition, Antti Asplund's dramatic clothing and accessories have been garnering attention around the globe. The name of his Helsinki store changes with the seasons. So far it's been everything from Darkroom to Greenhouse, right now it's Island. Minna Parikka's candy-coloured shoes, gloves, bags, and scarves have been featured in countless international fashion magazines, most recently in Vogue Italy, which described her footwear as "shoes with a touch of glam rock boldness." After only five years in the business, Parikka was awarded by Finland's Ministry of Employment and the Economy in the prestigious Timangi 2011 competition for young entrepreneurs. Her flirty, feminine and fierce footwear and accessories have graced the feet and bodies of singers like Lady Gaga. Mixing materials like the rosewood furniture veneer with sterling silver and reindeer leather, Irene Mikaela Häggkvist's elegant designs almost feel as if they were created by an architect. In addition to her unique bags, belts, corsets, and clothing, she's created a line of jewelry for the Finnish jewelry maker Kultakeskus. In 2010, she was named by Wallpaper magazine as a designer to be watched. Although their work couldn't be more different, these three designers all share the hunger to succeed, the will to push hard, and the vision to see inspiration where others don't. Plus, they have the ability to translate the everyday into something truly beautiful. HoW Would you descrIbe your creAtIve Process? aSplund: I always start the design process by writing. First I create the characters, and then I design their costumes. Dramatising the everyday helps bring perspective to the grey life most people lead. For example, I responded to the 2008 credit crisis by creating a collection of brightly coloured dresses and accessories that told the story of "The Democratic Queen of Credit Cards". parIKKa: The creative mind is all over the place, which is one reason most people think creative people are often bonkers. Finland is a great place to be creative 15
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