Author: minna-sarela

Paloni goes Kluuvi!

This is so exciting! Tomorrow the Ex Tempore Pop Up Shop opens at the shopping center Kluuvi, and Paloni will be there with a bunch of other interesting and upcoming labels and designers.

 Ex Tempore Pop Up Shop

So, for the coming two weeks, this will be the place to find the coolest Christmas gift (for yourself or) for your dear ones. Ex Tempore will be open every day starting from tomorrow, Saturday Dec. 8th until Saturday Dec. 22nd. It’s located on Kluuvi’s second floor.

We also have other very exciting news: we have a new designer whose creations will be for sale at Paloni for the first time at Ex Tempore. She is also known as an international blogger and as an author, and as a pioneer of making and promoting do-it-yourself high-fashion out of recycled materials. I’m sure many of you already guess who I’m talking about. Yes, she is the trashionista Outi Pyy, the blogger from behind OutsaPop Trashion and the author of the brand new book Trashion!  So, among all the other items at Ex Tempore, you’ll find Outi’s shredded shirts by the label OutsaPop Trashion. Starting from next week, you’ll also find them from Paloni’s concept store at Eerikinkatu.

Outi Pyy in her shredded shirt. Picture by Hanne Granberg

 Outi Pyy in her shredded shirt. Picture by Hanne Granberg for

Tomorrow you also have the chance to hear a bit more about trashion and to meet Outi in person. She will be at Ex Tempore giving a presentation about the backgrounds and ideology of her book at 4pm (free entry!) after which you’ll have the chance to buy a signed copy of her book (35€). The book is amazing, and I’ve wrote about it before, here.

Hope to see you at Ex Tempore – if not tomorrow, then during the coming weeks!

Minna / Paloni

SIPILÄ dress and Finland’s former president on TV

The journalist Hannamari Hoikkala has just interviewed Finland’s former president Mrs. Tarja Halonen about the Finlandia prize and about tomorrow’s Independence Day on Finnish national TV. Hannamari dignified the occasion by wearing handmade Finnish design from Paloni – a SIPILÄ print dress by Linda Sipilä. The dress is also available on our online store.

Hannamari Hoikkala, Linda Sipilä
Hannamari Hoikkala, Linda Sipilä 2

Work practice program at Paloni

This week, I had two lovely girls doing their work practice program at Paloni. Thank you Eevi and Linnea for all of your help and hard work!

As a part of their week’s schedule, I asked the girls to write a small story of how their week was so that they could also share their experience with all of you. The story is below.

If you are looking for a place to do work practice or internship, we’re always open for new suggestions and cooperation possibilities. Internships can also be arranged so that the student can work a part of the time at Paloni, and the rest with our designers.

Minna / Paloni

Hi, we’re Eevi Komaro and Linnea Kivelä, two nine-graders from Lauttasaaren Yhteiskoulu. We had a five-day-long work practice program at Paloni.

We started on Monday November 19th at about 9 o’clock. We had to come earlier so we had time to sort the shop that was pretty messy after last week’s fairs. We inventoried the shop’s products and took them to their own places.  By 11 o’clock when the shop opened, it already looked like a shop again. We continued inventory and put products on display until 3 pm when our workday ended.

On Tuesday we packed a closet for Glorian Koti magazine’s photoshoot A funny moment was when a deliveryman came to fetch the 2,5 metres high closet by  bicycle. Later, two men came to get the closet with a delivery van.
a closet for Glorian Koti magazine's photoshoot
The end of our day we spent rolling a 30 kilos pile of carpet rag into rolls for the evening’s crocheting course with Molla Mills.
The end of our day we spent rolling a 30 kilos pile of carpet rag into rolls for the evening's crocheting course with Molla Mills
On Wednesday and Thursday we cleaned the shop from dust that had came from the carpet rags. Dusting all clothes, jewelry and other products took one day. The other day we washed windows and the floor.
On Wednesday and Thursday we cleaned the shop from dust that had came from the carpet rags. Dusting all clothes, jewelry and other products took one day. The other day we washed windows and the floor
On Friday, which was our last day at Paloni, we played errand boys. Our first mission was to buy two magazines from a kiosk. The man behind the desk laughed at us when we tried to find the right ones. Then we ran to buy silver and white masking ink buttons for the shop’s display window’s Christmas decorations. We also wrote this report about our work practise program.

We liked to work at Paloni, which is a very nice little shop full of lovely clothes, jewerly and stuff. We liked especially the jewerly. We were suprised that Paloni is so international that you really need English here.
It is nice that there is this kind of a shop that supports Finnish designers, is ethical, ecological and stands out from the mass.

Eevi & Linnea

The super duper Saturday

Last Saturday was quite a day. Actually it was one of the busiest we’ve ever had. While our designer Elli Hukka was representing Paloni at the Design District Market at Vanha ylioppilastalo, our sushi chef Thomas was preparing international sushi rolls for our Restaurant day at Paloni, and I was running Paloni’s stand at the huge event Suomen kädentaidot in Tampere.

The preparations for this weekend had already started many weeks back when our designers made the products for the markets and when we started planning on the Restaurant day with Thomas. Our stand was built at Tampere on Thursday, and I drove there with the rest of the products that same night. Luckily the PaaPii toys kept me company on the way, although some of them were already sleeping…

PaaPii at Paloni
Building a stand (especially if you want to stand out with it) and taking all the products to such a big event as Suomen kädentaidot with its 36.000+ visitors and three halls is not something I wouldn’t call a small task. But it’s always worth the effort. I get a big dose of energy from these events, from meeting all those old and new friends of Paloni’s.

Paloni at Suomen Kädentaidot 2012, Tampere
There was one person that I especially enjoyed meeting at the fair, as I’ve admired her work for a long time. Anu Harkki, the editor-in-chief of the brand new mook (book/magazine) Koto living, fell in love with the Vietto Neppari dress that was presented to the customers for the very first time ever at this event. The next day Anu wore the dress as she was giving crafting tips on the “Idea stage”, and we soon run out of the dresses… Luckily the designer Minna Kaartinen is already preparing a new set of them to Paloni.

Anu Harkki, the editor-in-chief of the brand new mook Koto living, fell in love with the Vietto Neppari dress
Anu Harkki, the editor-in-chief of the brand new mook Koto living, fell in love with the Vietto Neppari dress 2
But while all this was taking place in Tampere, the most patient clients of our International Sushi Kitchen waited for 45 minutes while our chef Thomas was preparing more sushi for them. The restaurant run out of sushi a couple of times during the evening, but Thomas persistently made more and kept the restaurant open until the promised 7pm.
Molla Mills & Thomas Tsang - The international sushi kitchen
Molla Mills & Thomas Tsang - The international sushi kitchen
Thank you to all who visited the restaurant! It’s always great to have such a buzz in here, and to do something unexpected together. My big thank you also goes to Molla Mills for running the restaurant, and for our chef Thomas who made it all possible, came all the way from Amsterdam just to have this restaurant at Paloni and prepared all the delicious sushi in an apartment hotel kitchen. Like my mom said: “I’ve seen quite much, but this is utopia for me.” You guys made utopia reality.
Molla Mills & Thomas Tsang - The international sushi kitchen
Molla Mills & Thomas Tsang - The international sushi kitchen
Molla Mills & Thomas Tsang - The international sushi kitchen
Molla Mills & Thomas Tsang - The international sushi kitchen
Minna / Paloni

At the NRJ Fashion Night

Regards from the NRJ Fashion Night! A spectacle fashion show with live music by Don Johnson Big Band, The 69 Eyes and The Rasmus is always a pleasure to see and experience, but still the most interesting part of this event was seeing the finalists of the NRJ Fashion Awards.

A busy catwalk & The Rasmus playing

A busy catwalk & The Rasmus playing.

The NRJ Fashion Awards is a competition for the Finnish fashion designer students, the future stars. Such competitions are from my point of view very much needed. They bring to the front new talents. I’m sure the most important benefit for the winners is not the financial prize, but the visibility they get and the new connections and networks they build.

The winner of this year was Varpu Rapeli, a fashion designer student from Lahti University of Applied Sciences. The judges had been unanimous, and it already tells something. The winning concept was called Nightlights and included two knitted outfits. The clue of the all-black creations was in the surprising cuts, shapes and combining sleek, unfinished, matte and shining surfaces to create an entity that seemed simple and dark from far, but was in fact full of textures and details. I will follow Varpu’s future conquests with a deep interest.

Varpu Rapeli's Nightlights on the stage. Picture by NRJ

Varpu Rapeli's Nightlights on the stage. Picture by NRJ.

There was one competitor whose works I had paid special attention to already before the competition: Lotta Astrid. Even though her works didn’t make it to the top three, I see a lot of potential. (I think it also must have affected the result that Lotta is first and foremost a shoe designer whereas the other finalists were clothing designers, and the clue of Lotta’s outfits was the shoes. The main purpose of the clean-lined clothes seemed to be to accent the idiom of the shoes.) Lotta’s shoes seemed nothing like sewn together, but rather carved into their dynamic form. Lotta has also spoken for slow shoe design and sustainability in footwear designing and manufacturing, e.g. on the Modin magazine. I respect that.

Good Omens by Lotta Astrid, picture by Lotta Astrid

Good Omens by Lotta Astrid, picture by Lotta Astrid.

And of course there’s always the after-party, and if and when it’s good, the after-after-party. This time it was especially good! 🙂 I enjoyed the evening in a Viuhka dress by Tauko (available at Paloni in all sizes, price 245€, designed and made from recycled fabrics by Mila Moisio & Kaisa Rissanen, sewing by Satu Korhonen in Helsinki). I paired it with 2.elämä Design’s jewellery (also from Paloni), my Kennel&Schmenger shoes and  a flee-market find scarf.

Minna Särelä and a Viuhka dress by Tauko
Thank you to NRJ for the competition & show, and to Steffi for the after-party!
Minna / Paloni

The International Sushi Kitchen comes to Paloni

Sometimes the world just surprises me. It’s full of funny coincidences when you give them the chance to happen.

Some weeks ago, I got a message through Facebook. A man called Thomas Tsang had noticed the handicraft workshops that we organize at Paloni with Molla Mills, and wanted to ask about the possibility of organizing a sushi-making workshop here. After a few messages, we concluded that we have an idea for the next Restaurant Day.

Only some weeks later, the man sent a note that he will come to Paloni so we can discuss the details of our plan. And soon he was standing in front of me.

I learned that he was born in Hong Kong, but moved to California to study. There he learned the skills of making sushi at a local restaurant, run by a Japanese chef who had his restaurant in NY City before opening one in California. Now Thomas lives in Amsterdam and runs his own dentistry clinic – such a funny combination with his personal passion for food! But making food is still a central part of his life, and his specialty is combining pan-Asian influences with western cookery.

Thomas Tsang, the international chef for Paloni's next Restaurant Day

Thomas Tsang, the international chef for Paloni's next Restaurant Day

So, on the next Restaurant Day, Paloni will turn into the International Sushi Kitchen, and serve an international sushi set with 2 pieces of each of the following:

1) California roll (an American version of sushi with crab meat & avocado)
2) Futo maki (a very traditional Japanese sushi with egg & veggies), and
3) Korean “Kim chee” roll.

The set will cost 5 euros. The restaurant will be open on Saturday November 17th from 4pm to 7pm at Paloni, and Thomas will prepare to serve to about 120 lucky customers. No prior reservations needed – first come, first served.

And the most funny thing was that when Thomas was here, I told him where to find Molla Mills, the actual person and designers whose work he had followed through the internet, and now the conclusion is that our restaurant will have a very charming and lovely waitress and assistant – Molla Mills that is.

Korean Kim Chee (or "kimchi") rolls with brown sushi rice and black sesame seeds. This version is made with vegan fermented cabbage. It's spicy and may contain higher levels of live lactobacilli (a healthy bacteria) than yoghourt

Korean Kim Chee (or "kimchi") rolls with brown sushi rice and black sesame seeds.
This version is made with vegan fermented cabbage. It's spicy and may contain
higher levels of live lactobacilli (a healthy bacteria) than yoghourt.

Futo rolls with egg and mixed veggies

Futo rolls with egg and mixed veggies.

California rolls with avocado, crab meat and wasabi sesame seed topping.

Ps. To take a look at how our previous Restaurant Days have turned out, see here for the Picnic in Ghana and here for the Savolaiskahvila Lorraus.

Minna / Paloni

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.