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A collection in the memory of Piippa Lappalainen supported fashion material purchases of the School of Arts, Design and Architecture

Donations play an important role in the long-term development of the school's teaching and research.
Blue and green pashminas on a table. Design Reeta Ek
Textiles: Reeta Ek Photo: Eeva Suorlahti

Professor emerita Piippa Lappalainen (née Lybeck) died in Helsinki on 23 January 2023 after a rapidly progressing illness. She was 82 years old, born in Helsinki on 5 June 1940. Lappalainen's relatives wanted to organise a memorial fundraiser to support the activities of the Aalto University School of Arts and Design.

Piippa Lappalainen was a Finnish fashion designer, clothing entrepreneur and professor at the Aalto University School of Arts and Design. She was one of the founders of the Kuopio-based Piretta-P.T.A. company and its chief designer for twenty years. 

Piippa_Lappalainen Photo_Anna Maria Joakimsdottir-Hutri
Piippa Lappalainen Photo: Anna Maria Joakimsdottir-Hutri

A pioneer in the art of fashion

Piippa Lappalainen was guided into the world of textiles by her mother and mother-in-law, both skilled in sewing. Her first job was at Turo Oy in Kuopio. Designing clothes was independent and rewarding, and it involved a lot of travelling.

In 1967, Lappalainen, her husband Risto and another couple founded a clothing factory called Piretta in Kuopio. Piippa's uncompromising eye for style, nose for trends and ability to recruit talented people, combined with Risto's skills as a salesman, created a success story. At its peak, the company employed over two thousand people and was awarded the President of the Republic's Export Prize and the National Entrepreneur Award.

P.T.A. (Piretta Teen Age) was founded on the side, and its cheerful cotton accessories were particularly successful in Sweden. Piippa Lappalainen was responsible for creating the collections. Timeless style, good and durable materials and technical sewing quality were important to her. Most of the fabrics were bought from Italy. Having learned the language, Lappalainen was appointed Honorary Consul of Italy in Kuopio.

In 1987, the family sold their share of the business and moved to Helsinki. Piippa now became a member of the boards of Nanso Oy and the Ornamo Art and Design Finland. 

Piippa was appointed professor of fashion at the University of Art and Design (TaiK) for five years. Internationalisation, entrepreneurial skills, sustainability and new technologies were her particular areas of interest. 

The donation supported the purchase of materials for Aalto fashion 

Piippa Lappalainen's daughters Petra Lassenius and Tuua Hakola wanted to organise a memorial fundraiser for their mother's passing, and the Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture and especially its fashion programme was a natural choice.

"These talented young students were close to our mother's heart and we are grateful that we were able to raise a small amount of money that will allow us to create something new, exciting and meaningful in fashion," Petra Lassenius and Tuua Hakola say. 

Aalto University has established itself as a major player in the world of fashion, clothing and textiles. Aalto alumni can be found in major fashion houses, establishing their own brands that operate in international markets and gaining recognition in the industry's most important competitions. Aalto Fashion is known for its vision, originality and exceptional quality. 

Donations play an important role in the long-term development of the school's teaching and research. 

For more information on donations, please contact: 
Raila Tapio, Donor Relations, [email protected], tel. +358 50 475 9978

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