Five From Finland
Can you feel it? Autumn is starting to creep into the air in Finland and the rest of the northern hemisphere. Enjoy every moment of the crisp season with the help of this Finnish quintet.
Sandwiched between the sunny summer and the frosty winter, autumn is a season of change and transition offering plenty of exciting things to do and to reflect on.
Capture the beauty of the new season, get cosy, stay warm and active with these five Finnish brands.
Every autumn, nature puts on a spectacular show as leaves turn red, orange and yellow. Why not take full advantage of the beautiful scenery with some great autumn photos? All you need is a little bit of creativity and a good camera.
Black Eye was established in 2013 by three friends who wanted to get more out of their smartphone cameras. The core product portfolio includes various mobile lenses, such as fish-eye, wide-angle, portrait and macro lenses. They all feature a universal attachment system that suits all major mobile devices on the market.
“Black Eye opens a lot of new ways for photographing with your phone,” co-founder Arto Ekman told us a few years ago. “We are taking photography to the next level. The sky’s the limit.”
Indeed, there is no lack of product ideas. Eye Caramba, the Helsinki-based company behind the Black Eye brand, and industry behemoth Kodak have joined forces to design Kodak Ring Lights, an ultimate lighting solution for the era of video conferencing, online streaming and vlogging.
The impending autumn is making itself felt with dropping temperatures and brisk winds. The funky wool beanies, known as myssys, made by this farm-based design company from the Finnish locality of Pöytyä are guaranteed to keep your head and ears toasty. In addition to beanies and other types of headwear, the company offers cosy scarves, mittens, sweaters and cardigans.
Myssyfarmi’s philosophy revolves around the use of organic materials and production transparency. Everything is done in the countryside: soft and light Finnsheep wool comes from the founder’s own and neighbouring farms, the yarn is spun and hand-dyed locally, and all products are hand-knitted by grannies in Pöytyä.
As demand for do-it-yourself products keeps on growing and more and more people are becoming what the company calls “knitaholics”, Myssyfarmi regularly releases various kits containing all the necessities for knitting a beanie or nearly any other Myssy garment.
Earlier this year, Myssyfarmi was awarded the Fennia Prize, which is one of the most prominent design competitions in Finland held annually to recognise companies and organisations that best illustrate the strategic importance of design through their products, services or business concepts.
“We have managed to not only design a unique fashion concept but also prove that it can grow as a business and create significant impact on the surrounding society,” commented Anna Rauhansuu, CEO of Myssyfarmi. “The Myssy concept creates wellbeing by hiring retired citizens and saving wool from waste to use. Using the cottage industry as a production method guarantees a unique product design that is difficult to copy. Handmade garments have special design and energy flowing in them.”
Exploring on foot is a great way to experience autumn. For over 60 years, Finnish shoe brand Pomar has been empowering people to enjoy the outdoors and life on the move, whatever the conditions. Pomar’s footwear, designed in Finland and manufactured at the company’s own factory in Estonia, can battle through rain, slush and snow without compromises on style.
With award-winning shoe designer Minna Peltomäki at the helm of the design team, Pomar is a perfect fit not only for the harsh northern climate, but also for environmentally conscious and ethically thinking consumers. A few years ago, for example, Pomar launched its first vegan collection, which has been a huge success.
Moreover, the company has taken another solid step towards reducing its environmental footprint by introducing a zero-waste concept and launching a selection of trainers made from factory scraps and surplus hides.
“Our shoes aren’t very cheap, but we always aim to make both the design and the structure so durable that they can be worn for years and years,” told CEO Jarno Fonsén. “We’ve included various solutions to improve the grip of the sole, and our use of GORE-TEX ensures that the shoes are waterproof yet breathable.”
As the days get shorter and darker, taking the time to refine your lighting can make a notable difference to the ambience of your home, according to Finnish designer Timo Niskanen, who founded Himmee in 2014.
Himmee offers functional and timeless lighting solutions designed with a distinctive Nordic touch and manufactured with high-quality materials. The latest addition to the product line is the ceramic Circus lamp, originally designed by Niskanen for the Embassy of Finland in Brussels. The inspiration for the lamp came from the embassy´s interior, but the version intended for homes is more down-to-earth, yet eye-catching.
In addition to lamps, the company has created a series of stylish candle holders meant to remind modern people that it’s a good idea to switch off every now and then and enjoy the soothing candlelight.
“The clean-cut, democratic, classy and easy-to-approach style seems to be really popular,” Niskanen noted. “In today’s world, the manufacturing process is a big part of the product, too, and customers expect sustainable and transparent supply chains. All of our production happens as near as possible and most of our subcontractors are Finnish, and we aim to be as fair as possible in all respects.”
Let’s face it, some dread autumn because of the melancholy it can bring. This time of the year, many tend to seek encouragement, comfort and ways to support their mental wellbeing. Finnish company CupOfTherapy offers exactly this through its growing series of therapeutic drawings of animal characters complete with uplifting texts and phrases.
The brainchild of illustrator and graphic designer Matti Pikkujämsä and psychotherapist Antti Ervasti, CupOfTherapy is spreading the drawings online, as well as through different products like clothing, safety reflectors, mugs and bags. The heart-warming illustrations are also available in book format.
“Animals help us tell things that would seem awkward or even angsty if we used human characters,” Pikkujämsä explained. “An animal is simultaneously distant yet easy to approach.”
The concept has proved universally appealing and raised interest in various parts of the world. In addition to collaboration with Japanese lifestyle brand MUJI, the company earlier this year released its first English-language book, Self-Care Every Day, together with UK publisher Quercus and introduced its new apparel line in the US with the help of design, manufacturing and brand management company Jerry Leigh.