How would you describe yourself in one sentence?
I`m a playful, strong-willed and sensitive person with a huge passion to create.
How would you describe your label in five words?
Unique, soulful, ecological, beautiful, mystical.
Why handmade / locally produced?
Making products with my own hands is very important to me. It gives me a deeper connection to the materials and the products I`m making. It also gives me artistic freedom to do many kinds of variations in decorations and colors. Making things by hand, I feel being a part of a long line of artisans. All Ainokainen products are made locally, in Helsinki by me, except the knitwear, wich is made in Kotka, my hometown.
How are Ainokainen products ethical / ecological and what does this mean to you?
Ainokainen uses as much as possible carefully selected recycled, vintage and surplus materials. I want to make something beautiful and useful out of something that already exists. Using recycled materials is my ecological choice and gives extra value to my products. It is very important for me to respect the nature, as well as human and animal rights in my work.
What are your most important sources of influence / inspiration?
Many things inspire me! It can be a good piece of music, something I suddenly see through a bus window, history, colors, nature, dreams, materials themselves. I also like forgotten places, such as abandoned houses. There are stories and influences everywhere. You just have to be open to capture them.
How has your experience as a Paloni designer been?
It has been fun to be a part of Paloni`s family of designers and a joy to get know Minna. I have also met many wonderful designers and got a great opportunity to participate the Paloni in NYC project with Ainokainen. I can`t wait what we will do next. Starting from June I have started leading lace jewellery courses at Paloni, so that is a new kind of inspiring co-operation. I think Paloni is the right place for Ainokainen.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Listen to your intuition and follow it. Remember that no matter how big your project is, by doing it piece by piece, it will be finished. As they say, a field is sown one potato at a time.
Your words of advice for aspiring designers / artists?
Be clear about what you want, but at the same time remain open and be always ready to work your ass off. As one photographer whose course I attended told me: “Never think that you are finished. If you believe that you have nothing else to learn, you might as well quit.” He had heard this from his own teacher.
What is the most memorable highlight of your career as a designer so far?
Every time I see an excited face looking at my designs, it is a highlight for me. Other highlights have been Ainokainen’s first fashion show in Berlin Fashion Week in 2010, the Paloni in NYC project, taking part in a styling competition on TV last year, and getting media attention such as the cover of Voi Hyvin Magazine. Many musicians have also supported Ainokainen, for example Yona, Maija Vilkkumaa, Ona Kamu and Anna Inginmaa.
Please continue the following sentence: My passion is…
to create beautiful and interesting designs ecologically and ethically. I hope to bring joy and to spread the ecological message through my work.
Designer Netta Kervinen (middle) with her colleague Paloni designers, Anna Talvi of TOHONO (left) and Mari Himmanen of First Crush (right)