Three Aalto fashion students again in the Hyères finals

Among the ten finalists are Venla Elonsalo, Sofia Ilmonen and Arttu Åfeldt.
Yksityiskohta muodin opiskelija Sofia Ilmosen mallistosta. Ilmonen on vuoden 2021 Hyères-finalisti.
Detail from the collection by Sofia Ilmonen. Photo: Juho Huttunen

The 2021 Hyères finalists were announced 6th of April. Among the ten finalists are a master's student Sofia Ilmonen and bachelor's students Venla Elonsalo and Arttu Åfeldt, all from Aalto University. They were selected for the final from 185 applicants.

The annual Festival International de Mode & de Photographie Hyères is one of the most prestigious design competitions in the world, but last year it was not held due to a pandemic. The 36th Hyères Festival will be held from 14 to 17 October.

The jury consists of the most renowned international influencers in the field. This year, the jury will be chaired by Louise Trotter, creative director at Lacoste, who sees the finalists as very diverse.

'Every one was unique. The depth of research really blew me away—their work is incredibly rich, and they are all strong in their interest, ability, and approach to design, but what surprised me was their self-expression and individuality. It’s very high level', she said to Vogue fashion magazine.

Fashion design professor Pirjo Hirvonen sees organising the competition after a year's break as a strong recreational injection, and the industry is also seeing a rise from the pandemic. It is also reflected in the activated recruitment demand in the fashion education program.

Quality is emphasized

According to professor Hirvonen, with this year's finalists it is a lot of quality: the focus is on clothing, quality and on how they fit.

‘What all our three students' collections have in common is their overall quality and strong control  of shape, as well as strong zoning and structural skills in clothing, combined with a personal view of fashion’, says Hirvonen.

The main idea of ​​Sofia Ilmonen's collection is modularity and the versatility it brings.

‘My starting point was to look for a solution to the shortevity of clothing that would act as a protest against the waste of the clothing industry. All the outfits in the collection are built of squares of same size, so the shape of the pattern pieces will not determine its function in the future. The idea is that a garment lasts a while, because it can be modified over and over again with the help of buttons and button loops’, Ilmonen explains.

The name of her collection ‘Same Same but Different’ playfully describes the idea of ​​the collection: the squares remain the same, but the shape can change.

‘Getting to the finals of the competition is a great thing! I'm a bit puzzled, though. It'll be great to be able to present my work to a larger audience and represent Aalto University’, Ilmonen describes, certainly catching the feelings of all the finalists.

Arttu Åfeldt merges classic menswear with game aesthetics and school uniforms. The collection uses waterproofing techniques from dry suits such as seam taping, and the pockets are made with heat transfer vinyl finishing. Nylon bonded with a stripe print fuses classic and functional and gives a new expression to pinstripe suiting. As the functional fabrics change appearance when wet, Åfeldt has added an extra active element to his minimalist menswear. 

Venla Elonsalo examines the emotional relationship between a soft toy and a person. She has utilized 3D modeling, digital pttern making and and traditional methods of making teddy bears to make her collection.

'The collection has been inspired by my childhood soft toy collection, as well as early 1900s children's clothing. It has been important to involve the inherent nature of soft toys to my design', says Elonsalo.

Despite the competition preparations being hampered by pandemic restrictions, Ilmonen and Elonsalo are expected to graduate from the study program this summer. Arttu Åfeldt won a training period at the Bottega Veneta, Italy in the Designers' Nest fashion competition at the beginning of the year.

According to the CEO World Magazine rankings, Aalto University is the fourth best fashion school in the world this year.

More information:

Pirjo Hirvonen, Professor, fashion design, tel. +358 50 3636011, [email protected]

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