blog fashion kids style trends stylist shopping

Ik ontmoette het Finse design duo Saana ja Olli tijdens de persdag van Sugar Helsinki en W.Green. Deze twee lovebirds ontwerpen geweldig mooie homeware met een groene insteek. Alle producten worden lokaal en eerlijk geproduceerd, gaan lang mee en zijn tijdloos doch modern in ontwerp. Ik word er persoonlijk nogal hebberig van. Dat is dan weer iets minder groen #knipoog. Theedoeken, ovenwanten, kleden, bedlinnen, kussens, fijne canvas tassen, posters, plantenpotjes en een kamerjas om van te dromen! De lijst is werkelijk eindeloos en alle items sluiten naadloos op elkaar aan. Ben je een verzamelaar, dan zou deze introductie zomaar eens heel gevaarlijk kunnen zijn!

Voor wie Alter een beetje volgt is het waarschijnlijk geen nieuws als ik zeg dat ik een groot voorstander ben van duurzaam leven. Deze groene golf is voor mij persoonlijk eigenlijk het gevolg van mijn voorliefde voor kwaliteit. Als echte quality seeker ben ik continu opzoek naar de perfecte versie van een bepaald item. In die zoektocht ontdekte ik dat ik het niet alleen belangrijk vind dat de buitenkant klopt, maar ook dat de 'binnenkant' a.k.a. het productieproces, de oorsprong van het materiaal en de werkomstandigheden van de fabrieksarbeiders klopt.

Wanneer ik dus praat over het verbinden van het innerlijk en uiterlijk doel ik ook op de 'binnenkant' en buitenkant van een product. Extra bonuspunten als dat verhaal ook klopt. Saana ja Olli is daar een mooi voorbeeld van. De Finse tortelduifjes ontmoette elkaar in 2004 op een illegaal festival in Oripää en startte niet lang daarna ook hun design romance door zich beiden in te schrijven voor de opleiding textiel ontwerp aan de Turku University of Applied Sciences. 

Hieronder leer je dit award winning duo (in het Engels) beter kennen. 

 Links, Olli. Rechts, Saana.

Your brand name presumably gives away that you two are also a couple in real life. How did you guys start your design romance?

During our college years we noticed that there were no eco-textiles that we found interesting, so we thought of designing them ourselves. We made our first collection totally DIY and completely sold out at the first design sale we went to! We were super happy with the response and started searching for good local subcontractors. At the end of the year we won the best young company in Finland award. We later graduated (2011) and have been doing Saana ja Olli ever since.

Was working with locally produced materials a logical choice from the beginning? Did you set out to be(come) a sustainable brand?

Yes, it was. When we started most design companies were complaining in the media that manufacturing in Finland was not possible and shifting their production to abroad. We took that as a challenge and wanted to show that it is possible to make a living with Finnish-made quality products. 

You’ve won several design awards, which one represents you the best and makes you most proud?

Winning the best textile product award in annual Finnish design gala was very nice as a recognition, because we had just graduated from school back then. And of course being chosen into Monocle's Top 25 Global Homeware brand list was super. It tells a lot about the shifting interest into new and independent design companies compared to old corporations.

You are physically linked to your products by drawing the patterns onto the fabric yourself. In what order does the design process take place?

We have had the same process with all our collections since our first one. In the beginning we discuss the themes we want to channel. Then we let the idea rest and develop for a couple of months before the both of us start drawing individually. When we have enough material we sit down and reshape the pattern into a rotatable form. All our textiles are manufactured from meter fabrics, so each product randomly has a different part of the pattern. That makes the products more interesting, since they are not identical.

What is your overall view on consumers behaviour these days? On what level could they do more or less?

We have noticed that the knowhow of the average consumer has risen thanks to the sustainability and ethical issues featured in the mainstream media nowadays. Also the situation of small independent design brands like us seems quite good (at least in Finland).

How does sustainability reflect in your own buyer behaviour and wardrobe?

We aim to be critical consumers. We have been vegan for over ten years and are big flea market & second hand store fans. When we have to, we buy durable materials and clothes that are timeless yet stylish. Saana is also a fan of Finnish vintage outfits by Vuokko and old Marimekko. They stay in style for life.

Are your designs part of your personal style & story or consciously designed for a specific target group?

We both are interested in forgotten folk craft history so in all of our collections we aim to channel that type of feeling into the modern era. We design products that we personally would enjoy, and have found out that there is a surprisingly large group of people that enjoys our aesthetics.

What do you wish for in the (nearby) future?

That our work keeps at the least the same progress as it has done from the start to this day. And that we finish our 103-year renovation project (www.toukolaakso.fi) and open our dream cafeteria/showroom in the basement hall. Also, at some point, we’d like to design our own minimalist off-grid summer cottage. A stylish hideaway using traditional Finnish building methods.

Great design with a sense of purpose

Ik hoop je geïnspireerd te hebben met deze Finse ontdekking. Ga zeker even hun webshop bekijken, de prijs/kwaliteit verhouding is super! I'll see you all next month of gewoon straks via Instagram waar ik mijn dagelijkse portie aan stijltips, shoptips en mode inspiratie deel.

Liefs, Selina

Comment