Heidi Karjalainen is the Young Designer of the Year 2017

MA fashion student Heidi Karjalainen won the prize of the Young Designer of the Year. Her design of the Finnish folk costume combines traditional men's pinstripe with women's formal party wear.
Vuoden nuori suunnittelija Heidi Karjalainen, Helsingissä 25.9.2017 Copyright Messukeskus Helsinki

Heidi Karjalainen is a Bachelor of Arts and is currently studying at Aalto University’s cloth designer programme. She receives a prize of 5,000 euro donated by the Finnish Fair Foundation, and will get her design to the fashion show at the I Love Me fair.

"The recognition and thanks for the work is rewarding, it also strengthens my readiness as a fashion designer. It's great to see that my aesthetic views in clothing design raise interest. I am grateful for this recognition and it motivates my work in the future", Karjalainen commented on the prize.

Good skills for working life

The annual competition for Finnish textile designer students was focusing, as on honor to Finland’s centennial, to design a modern Finnish folk costume; a new and fresh view of what Finns should wear. Karjalainen's folk costume design consists of two parts. Its inspiration has been in men's pinstriped suit and in women's formal party wear. In the entity, feminine shapes and masculinity combine with the current fashion language.

"This year's assignment was a pleasure for me. In my childhood memories the folk costume was a formal dress, and so I based my design on the traditional folk costumes - their materials, silhouette and colors. My work combines elements of men's suit and women's party wear. Furthermore, there is a connection between the pinstripe and the traditional stripes of the folk costumes", Karjalainen tells about her design.

Karjalainen explains how studying in the Fashion programme at Aalto University is providing her with excellent skills in working life. "During the studies, we are challenged to explore our own design philosophy and to find suitable working tools for ourselves. During the training we gain skills that can be utilized in the work. I am particularly pleased with the personal guidance that takes into account my own situation and my needs", she says.

After graduation, Karjalainen would like to design women's clothing in an international fashion house. "I am particularly interested in the dialogue where the traditional design language of a fashion house combines with the designer's vision. In addition, I want to see how the ideas move back and forth in the design teams before they get their form as a final product", she says.

Praise for a strong woman

"The assignment was challenging, but Heidi crystallized in her design well the restored look of the maid of Finland. Her costumes communicate and express the strong and persistent Finnish women. The often-hidden sensitivity of women appears in the revealing upper part of the dress while emphasizing the face of the wearer. High-quality execution of Heidi’s costumes shows her versatile talent and understanding of good quality", says professor Pirjo Hirvonen from Aalto University.

According to the jury, Karjalainen’s design is timely, but it also well brings out the spirit of the folk costume. The pinstripe fabric used in the costume is an interesting choice, as different generations interpret it in different ways. In addition, the dress has a masculinity that is visible in small details. "The costume is a tribute to a Finnish woman. It is a modern dress for a lady, worn by a strong maid of Finland. The winner has also used the folk costume, and the winning costume shows appreciation for the traditional folk costume", says Jaakko Selin, Chairman of the Jury.

The Young Designer of the year is a competition created by the Finnish Fair and funded by the Finnish Fair Foundation. It is one of the oldest competitions in Finland and was organized this year for the 23rd time. The jury consisted of fashion journalist and designer Jaakko Selin, fashion designer Ritva Falla, chief-editor of Elle magazine Taru Marjamaa, fashion designer and stylist Nina Nuorivaara, and fashion designers Katri Niskanen, Hammi Mettinen and Mari Talka.

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