Designers of the Month: Sanni Salonen & Niina Sinisalo / Kaino

Anni Hautala wearing a Kaino Rose tunic on The Voice morning show

Anni Hautala wearing a Kaino Rose tunic on The Voice morning show

How would you describe yourself in one sentence?
We’re two innovative young women with faith in intuition, a yearning for beauty, and a healthy dose of recklessness –  plus a chronic shortage of time owing to an overflow of ideas.

How would you describe your label in five words?
Comfortable, beautiful, nostalgic, timeless, unique.

Why handmade / locally produced?
Simply because it’s more fun, more personal, more environment-friendly, more individual, smarter, more genuine, more soulful… And also because it allows us more opportunity to express ourselves as designers.

How are Kaino products ethical / ecological and what does this mean to you?
Both of us are friends of nature with common sense. In our products we favor pure natural materials such as cotton and merino wool, and most of the new yarn used is organically produced. We seem to have a tendency for hoarding and have difficulty in parting with anything that might prove useful someday. As a result, our production facility is sometimes about to burst with leftover knit, which we then use to create new products: pouches, potholders, quilts, jewelry… However, it’s impossible for us to utilize all the excess material generated during production so we also donate and sell it to craftspeople. The point is not to take any usable material to the landfill.

What are your most important sources of influence / inspiration?
Imagination, art, childhood, granny’s house, dreams, nature – new ideas can actually spring from anything! We play with the original idea until it gets refined into a finished product. Both of us bring our own vision and competence into the process and work it together into a seamless weave. We both have strong,  somewhat differing visions, but each new product is still a joint creation.

Member of Finland's Parliament Kristiina Salonen wearing a Kaino evening gown for Finland's Independence Day
 Reception. Picture by Jenni Gästgivar / Iltalehti.

How has your experience as a Paloni designer been?
During the past six months of cooperation we have only had positive experiences. It’s an honour to be among Paloni’s talented craftspeople and designers, and cooperation with Minna is smooth. They’re a great, inspiring bunch that enhance our faith in our own work.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Stay true to yourself and your vision.” Especially in the very beginning we were far too susceptible to the comments and opinions of others; it was a struggle to recognize our own voice and obey it.

Your words of advice for aspiring designers / artists?
Success consists of three parts, all equally important: head, heart and elbow grease. No matter how great your vision, success always entails work – even futile work – and sacrifice and disappointments, and you must be prepared for that. On the other hand: the more you strive, the greater the value and satisfaction you get from your achievement.

What is the most memorable highlight of your career as a designer so far?
It’s difficult to name just one: during our three years of the Kaino adventure, there have been many achievements that may seem inconsequential, but for us they’ve been priceless. Most of them begin with the words ”the first”: the first official fashion collection, the first dealership, the first Kaino appearance on TV, the first ball gown at the Independence Day Reception at the Presidential Palace (that’s right!)…

Please continue the following sentence: Our passion is…
…to produce Kaino garments with soul, sensitivity and a strong will – and see how far it’ll take us!

Sanni Salonen and Niina Salonen with their Kaino Spring-Summer 2013 collection on its way to New York

Sanni Salonen and Niina Salonen with their Kaino Spring-Summer 2013 collection on its way to New York