October 2012

Dressing up Elina from Big Brother Talk Show

Kaino and Emmi Malmström at Big Brother

Picture by Vesa Silver

Stylists and bloggers are some magicians. They have the power to bring to the public new phenomena, trends, designers and labels that we should know about, but yet don’t. The magic is that these are the people who can make the decisive difference in a beginning designer’s career, when there’s no resources to buy visibility, by offering that visibility for products that deserve it.

I got to meet the stylist Vesa Silver at the “I love me” trade fair a week ago. Vesa’s style sometimes brings to my mind a modern city warrior, but it turned out that in person Vesa is an easygoing person and fun to work with. His pro style-hunter eyes spotted the Emmi Malmström Shoes and Kaino rose tunics we had on our stand, and he asked for a photoshoot cooperation for a TV show: for dressing up Elina Viitanen, the hostess of the Big Brother Talk Show. And of course I agreed. (You don’t say no to Vesa. Unless you’re very stupid, which I try to avoid, eh.) Even though I’m not the designer, I always feel a deep gratitude on behalf of the designers when their work is noted by a rock hard professional.

Last Sunday the live program was shown on SubTV. The designers commented on their Facebook accounts the feelings of seeing things they’ve made on the TV. And Vesa Silver twiited and shared pictures of the outfit on the social media.

Thank you Vesa Silver! Thank you designers Emmi Malmström, Niina Sinisalo and Sanni Salonen for creating so beautiful things to Paloni’s customers!

Kaino at Big Brother

Picture by Vesa Silver

Minna / Paloni

Regards from I love me / Muotimessut

Regards from I love me - Muotimessut
Sometimes when learning things through experience and feeling like having to learn so much all the time, I wish I had some experience from the fashion industry before opening Paloni. But then, I also think it’s my biggest asset that I don’t have it. It has freed me from doing things like everyone else.

But there is one huge endless learning process that’s universally the same, whatever the industry sector in question: networking. An entrepreneur doesn’t need to know everything, but one should know the people who know. When this network of networked people starts to grow, things become easier, and in many cases also much funnier. There’s so nice and interesting people in and around the design and fashion scenes that I’ve enjoyed getting to know!

Outi Pyy
When we participated the “I love me” event (Muotimessut) a week ago, our stand was a part of the Design District Helsinki joint stand. This network is one of the valuable networking and cooperation channels for the best design stores in Helsinki. We also cooperated with the author Outi Pyy whose book Trashion! was for sale at our stand, and Outi was there to sign the copies. A big thank you both to Aino Vepsäläinen from Design District Helsinki and for Outi Pyy for making our participation at the event possible and special!

Minna / Paloni

Eva & Manu in cooperation with Paloni

Eva & Manu performing at Paloni's birthday party

Eva & Manu performing at Paloni's birthday party

When Paloni celebrated its first birthday last June, the French-Finnish duo Eva & Manu was a natural choice for that special evening’s performers. Their extraordinary story of traveling across Europe and creating their own music, and then turning that journey and its music into a debut album is just so inspiring. I think these musical talents are a good example of what it means to follow your passion, and how dreams can come true when you do what you want to do, and give your whole heart to it. You can read more about this amazing story from Eva’s and Manu’s blog Travel in music.

We had some good time at Paloni's birthday with Eva & Manu
We had some good time at Paloni's birthday with Eva & Manu

Yesterday, I got the second chance to listen to the music by Eva & Manu live – they had their first gig performing their album songs with a band at the club Tavastia here in Helsinki. I love the perfectly beautiful music by this duo, but this time I also had a special reason for going to the gig – I anticipated that Eva would be wearing something from Paloni on the stage.

And she did. The Vietto Kimono top with printed sleeves. Maybe I’m subjective to say, but I think the natural white top really made her the center of all attention on the stage on the spotlights, and the flowy sleeves with printed details made each movement a part of the show – playing the keyboard and asking the audience to join a song with her hands.

Eva & Manu, The Vietto Kimono top with printed sleeves
Eva & Manu, The Vietto Kimono top with printed sleeves
Eva & Manu, The Vietto Kimono top with printed sleeves

Picture by Minna Kaartinen

It also happened that yesterday Minna Kaartinen, the designer of the label Vietto, brought a similar Kimono top to Paloni, only with different colors. Looks just as good to me!

Vietto Kimono Top

Minna / Paloni

Designer of the Month: Charlotte Cooper / Hoo Hats

Designer of the Month: Charlotte Cooper / Hoo Hats
How would you describe yourself in one sentence?
I’m a wry, warm-hearted, endearing, slightly compulsive & completely irreverent workaholic.

How would you describe your label in five words?
Clever, cozy, kind to the environment. Wait, that’s six.

Designer of the Month: Charlotte Cooper / Hoo Hats
Why handmade / locally produced?
I’m not a shopper. I’m just not. I have a really hard time getting excited about mass-manufactured clothing & other items. But get me in the middle of a huge craft fair like Portland’s Crafty Wonderland or Seattle’s Urban Craft Uprising I’ll go bonkers. There’s just something about the energy of wearing/carrying/using unique handmade items – you can’t help but feel proud of the maker, you feel lucky to be on the receiving end of someone else’s genius. Aside from all that, I simply love to create stuff. I never met a handmade project I didn’t fantasize about tackling (damn you, Pinterest!). If only there were 70 hours in a day…

How are Hoo Hats products ethical / ecological and what does this mean to you?
I’m devoted to the idea of upcyling. I’ve always hoarded leftover bits & pieces of this & that just in case they might prove useful someday ages & ages hence (you really should see my garage! ak!). When my family outgrows clothes, I give each item a once over & salvage what I can for future sewing projects before shipping off the rest to the local charity shop. And so when it came to producing my hats, it was obvious where I would turn for my source materials. Each Hoo Hat is crafted by hand from lovingly rescued wool sweaters that I score on periodic visits to Value Village & the like. In addition, the hats are lined with fleece made from recycled plastic bottles & the felt encircling the eyes are made from eco-felt. So, that’s what? –somewhere around 95% of these adorable hats are essentially saved from a landfill? That feels pretty good! And to top it off, I’ve found other fiber artists who are salvaging my scrap so I have virtually zero production waste. It’s really amazing.

What are your most important sources of influence / inspiration?
I’m inspired by my children. Hoo Hats was birthed at the start as a gift for my son, whose middle name “Shannon” -meaning “wise little owl”- inspired the entire effort. But generally speaking, being present day in & out with them has taught me that I don’t want a “real job” so long as they still love me more than anyone on earth & want to be near me. And so I’m motivated to continue creating here at home. I’m always dreaming up new brands & designs (all those beautiful scraps, you know!). The wool itself is awfully special too, I should note. There’s nothing like rich teal or rust orange cashmere to set me to daydreaming of all the possibilities….

 Left: The singer-songwriter Chisu posted a picture of herself wearing a Hoo Hat to her Facebook site last winter. Right: Fabrics waiting to become Hoo Hats.

Left: The singer-songwriter Chisu posted a picture of herself wearing a Hoo Hat to her Facebook site last winter. 
Right: Fabrics waiting to become Hoo Hats.

How has your experience as a Paloni designer been?
Fantastic! Minna is a pleasure to work with & I’m so flattered to have been given a place on the shelves of Paloni among the work of so many other amazing makers. It’s really been an honor.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Since my product is seasonal, things have a tendency to get completely nutty in my studio every autumn & I am known to mildly freak from time to time. A fellow designer friend who’s been doing this a whole lot longer reminds me not to take myself too seriously. No matter how crazy it gets & how important my deadlines may seem, they really are just hats. No one’s dying in line waiting to get one. It’s not like I’m curing cancer or anything. When I put everything in perspective like this I am better able to enjoy the process, despite the sometimes frantic pace. I’m doing this because I love it, after all.

Your words of advice for aspiring designers / artists?
Keep monkeying around until you find your niche. The trick is to create a product that people want, that you love to make, & that you can sell for a reasonable enough profit. If any one point on that triangle is missing, you’re going to have an awfully hard time making it work long term & enjoying the process in the meantime.

Designer of the Month: Charlotte Cooper / Hoo Hats
What is the most memorable highlight of your career as a designer so far?
Besides getting that first email from Paloni?:) I’d have to say it was something of a surprise when Etsy notified me that I’d be a featured artist in their Fall 2012 Look Book. 800,000 active sellers on Etsy & they pick me?! It was quite astonishing, really.

Please continue the following sentence: My passion is…
My passion is…to live each day to the fullest, as present as possible in the thrilling moments & the mundane alike –to be made happy by small things. If I’m doing that, I’m doing pretty good.

Trashion! is here

I’ve had the privilege of getting to know Outi Pyy, the woman behind the well-known blog OutsaPop Trashion. Outi is a pioneer of creating fashion out of recycled materials. She calls it aptly trashion (combining fashion and trash). On her blog, Outi shares the ideas of herself as well as those of others on creating the most hip styles out of already existing materials.

Outi’s ideology fits very well together with Paloni’s – the creativity, the eco-consciousness, the do-it-yourself culture, finding your own personal style, and the most important of all – following your passion. Outi’s passion shows in everything she does.

We started cooperation with Outi last summer by organizing evening courses with her at Paloni, where she instructed different do-it-yourself projects.

Outi showing her works and teaching trashion at Paloni.

Outi showing her works and teaching trashion at Paloni.

On the first course, we were shredding colored army surplus t-shirts and turning them into stunning flowy net-like creations. Outi calls it shredding therapy, and I very well understand why – it is therapeutic. And my own outcome from that evening has ever since been one of my favorite pieces.

Wearing my shredded shirt

Wearing my shredded shirt.

On our second Paloni & OutsaPop Trashion course, we turned boring blouses into their more fashionista versions by cutting out the shoulders and decorating the holes with zippers and pearls.

Upcycling in action: Outi cutting out the shoulders of a shirt.

Upcycling in action: Outi cutting out the shoulders of a shirt.

This project turned out to be more challenging, at least for me, and the outcome was something a bit different from the original plan… But like Outi says: “There are no mistakes in trashion, only unexpected outcomes”. Such a liberating thought that we could all apply to other areas of life, too…

Outi marking the place for cut-outs on Steffi's blouse.
Outi marking the place for cut-outs on Steffi's blouse.

Already for years, Outi has had the dream of turning her ideology and ideas into a book. Yesterday I was one of the very lucky guests celebrating the launch of Trashion!, the most interesting fashion book of the season. Yes, that’s right. After years of planning and working, collecting ideas and now turning them into stunning pictures and do-it-yourself instructions, Outi is the author of the brand new book called Trashion!

The book includes 28 projects with illustrated instructions, absolutely gorgeous pictures taken by Mikko Rasila, tips and inspiration for finding your own style, as well as useful information on how to be eco-consciously fashionable. The book is written in Finnish.

And here it is, on Paloni’s display window. Come get yours before they’re gone.

And here it is, on Paloni's display window. Come get yours before they're gone.
Outi will also be at Paloni’s stand at the I love me / Muotimessut event at the Helsinki Trade Fair Center on Saturday & Sunday 20. & 21.10. at 12:00. From there you can buy your Trashion! copy and get Outi’s signature on it. Our stand is a part of the Helsinki Design District joint stand, and our stand number is 5g21.

Go Outi! Go Trashion!

Minna / Paloni