Aalto University's fashion events bring heads of international fashion houses to Finland
From 21 to 25 May, Helsinki will be transformed into a mini fashion week, replete with catwalk, high-level social events and exhibitions, all as part of the Fashion in Helsinki event. International talent scouts, buyers, and journalists will gather to view the results of Aalto University students’ fashion collections and textiles. The grande finale of the week will be the spectacular Näytös18 fashion show on Friday night, presenting the latest young talent from Aalto University.
Lecturer in Fashion at Aalto University Tuomas Laitinen says about the work of the students, “At its best, fashion makes you a bit uncomfortable and touches a nerve and forces you to look at things in a new way. Being a fashion school, some of the students’ collections are very raw, even a bit disturbing - and that rawness and the feeling of youth is what makes them interesting.”
The versatility and artistry of textile design
The week kicks off on Monday, 21 May at 7pm with the Tekstiili18 opening exhibition at the Turbiinisali of the Cable Factory. From 21 to 27 May, Tekstiili 18 will showcase interdisciplinary approaches to textile design and collaborations with fashion, interior design and science, including a 3D hologram created in collaboration with the Aalto School of Engineering, and a dance performance projected onto the exhibition space.
“Textile by its nature is collaborative, as it is a foundation for a bigger whole. Textile design requires a technical understanding linked to artistic skills, and understanding textiles means knowing how to combine materials and structures,” says Adjunct Professor Maarit Salolainen, curator of the exhibition.
© Eeva Suorlahti
Aalto Fashion Seminar brings business to creativity
Fashion professionals, journalists and students will come together on Thursday, 24 May at the Aalto Fashion Seminar from 10am to 3pm in the Finnish National Gallery. Focusing on “Turning Creativity into a Profitable Business”, speakers including Felipe Oliveira Baptista (former creative director of Lacoste) and Patrick Scallon (creative director at Dries Van Noten) will share their insight. Alfred Vernis, director of sustainability at Inditex Group (ZARA), will speak on “Main challenges for closing the loop in the fashion industry”. Aalto Fashion Seminar will be moderated by Dan Thawley, Paris editor at Vogue Italia and editor-in-chief of A Magazine Curated By.
Pirjo Hirvonen, Professor of Fashion Design at Aalto University said: “Our goal is to create an entire ecosystem surrounding our Aalto University students and their vision. The Fashion Seminar is a step in this direction, helping young designers ground their creativity in solid business acumen.”
Fashion Friday and Näytös18
The highlight of the week is Friday, 25 May with two events: the first-ever Fashion Friday installation in Kiasma Art Museum and the Näytös18 fashion show at the Cable Factory’s Merikaapelihalli.
Fashion Friday explores fashion from a curatorial perspective, as the art of identity. The exhibition features 18 works by Aalto students, on display from 10am to 6pm, to be followed by a panel discussion on fashion and identity with Professor Hazel Clark (Parsons School of Design), Curator and Associate Professor Shaun Cole and Research Fellow Anna-Mari Almila (both London College of Fashion).
“Fashion Friday examines how contemporary fashion designers interpret identity as gendered, sexualized or ethnic. One of the questions in the panel discussion relates to the topical and debated question of national identity – does it play a role in fashion," explains Annamari Vänskä, adjunct professor at Aalto University and curator of the exhibition. "It is also the first time fashion will be displayed at the Kiasma Contemporary Museum of Art in this way."
Crowning the Fashion in Helsinki week is the Näytös18 fashion show at 9pm on Friday in the Cable Factory. Twenty-plus collections by Aalto students will be shown on the catwalk to the delight of 1,000 international guests. The event has gained international attention in recent years, and public tickets were sold out immediately on the first day they became available.
Aalto students have proven their skills and creativity year after year in international competitions, scoring nominations at the Hyères International Festival of Fashion and Photography and the dorothy waxman textile design prize, among others.