Designers See Us Lapinlahti

Designers – See Us Lapinlahti is an experiential event that brings together mental health promotion through the arts and fashion. The opening event will be held on 19.8.2022. After that some of the costumes and art will be on display in the gallery of Lapinlahden Lähde. Where – Helsinki, Finland An outdoor event at the courtyard of Lapinlahden Lähde, Helsinki
Address: Lapinlahdenpolku 8, 00180 Helsinki. For who – See Us – Lapinlahti is for anyone who is seeking information about mental health, is interested in arts and culture, part of the fashion industry, wants to support open discussion and is looking for networking opportunities. This is the place to get inspired. From who – From people to people. Our team consists of three fashion designers and one event coordinator. Three fashion designers Krista Virtanen, Anna Palmén and Kati Määttä have good networks in the Finnish fashion field. They have worked with numerous photographers, stylists, make-up artists and artists and produced the annual KOE fashion show. Event coordinator Hannah Hietala works closely with young Finnish artists and events, which expands the event’s coverage of the creative field. She is one of the people behind the Emmi From Finland collective whose mission is to make the world a better place. Values – For the common good! Our mission is to bring art to the people through the project, to increase its value and to promote mental health through it. The values of our project are equality and fairness; we want to allow everyone to experience art and culture regardless of a person’s background. We believe we need more sense of community and creating culture is one of the most effective ways to do it!

Here is our first designer Jarkko Karppinen. As a designer Jarkko is value-based and interested in the issues of the social culture of clothing without forgetting sustainability. For Jarkko it feels awful to forget his values and his own style. He doesn’t want to hurt anyone when designing new collections.

REBELS is a menswear collection aiming to break up norms and stereotypes about how men can dress. REBELS also seeks to challenge the view of stereotypes. The visual inspiration of the collection comes from photographs of young adults in the 80s and their clothing. Some of the collection’s materials have been found from flea markets and some of them have been sponsored by Heidi Rajala and Pukuvuokraamo Kostyymi. The end result of this all is black and a mix of leather and translucent materials. Although Jarkko designs for men, the outcome is usually genderless.

Jarkko is graduating from Muotoiluinstituutti and his thesis collection will debut at KOE22 – Fashion Show this spring! Photo: Valtteri Nevalainen.

Our second designer is Inka Tikkinen. As a fashion and clothing designer Inka draws inspiration from different colors, materials and textures. Fabric manipulation techniques and abundant shapes are significant part of her designs.
Inka’s work is focused in sustainable design. She is constantly learning and improving her working methods towards more sustainable and ecological way. She finds interesting trying to design something new – even something that has a ”high-end” -feel – from recycled or waste materials. She is using less new materials and thinks designing clothes from seconhand and recycled fabrics is challenging but rewarding.
Inka often feels overwhelmed about the amount of clothes and textiles being produced in the world. That’s the main reason she tries to design ecological and sustainable clothing items. Her goal is to design less but better.

Our third designer is Eevi Kivistö. Eevi’s designs are based on her values and experiences. Things and memories that are important to her and that she treats with passion are the basis of her expression. Her journey as a fashion designer began from designing print fabrics and making clothes out of them, which she still does through her brand.
Fashion design and other creative things has played a very important role in Eevi’s life, especially in terms of mental health. Throughout the years she has unleashed all her emotions in to creativity – good and bad. To her, art has been a mainstay over difficult times.
As sustainability is very important value for Eevi in her designs, she has found another interesting side to fashion from her hobby – windsurfing. She realized the amount of trash coming from old surf equipments and has started to make clothes and accessories out of them.
Upcoming collection HiR 16m² will be made from an old surf kite. HiR 16m² has been inspired by surfing and water. How cool it is to almost fly freely on the water but also how scary it is to be trapped under the waves – this can be mirrored to a metaphor for life and mind.

Our fourth Designer, Eerika Heikkilä is a designer and a textile artist. Art is the most important form of self expression to Eerika. When she creates she will let the art lead the way. That’s the path to make her work look like herself. Eerika loves layers and stories behind her work. Everything has a deeper meaning, but some of it is just for herself. As an artist she is very intuitive and wants to feel a connection to the work.

By using recycled materials she speaks against the unethicality of the fashion industry and the environmental impact of it. Recently, mental health has been her inspiration. The collection is called IN THE selfHOODS. How the past is present in everyday life and what kind of impact our past experiences have on our growth and coping? Eerika explores this theme in her works by bringing own experience, her imprint into the textile. Photo: Sami Jaamala.

Our fifth designer, Anniliina Parkkinen. As a clothing designer and textile artist Anniliina Parkkinen draws inspiration from historical garments and has a focus in costume design and wearable art. Her designs incorporate dreamlike fantasy elements with a touch of surrealism and gore. Storytelling is at the center of her designs and she often utilizes methods of character design in her designing process.
Anniliina has worked with many different kinds of materials and techniques and is constantly learning and trying new techniques. She is currently utilizing knit design and textile art, especially fabric manipulation and ornamentation as a part of her designs. Through sustainable values, she is currently exploring natural dyes as part of her designs and sees alternative dying methods as particularly interesting. She has also incorporated slow manufacturing practices in her work, such as handknitting and hand sewing inspired by historical techniques and sustainable values.
Anniliina has developed an interest in exploring the emotional aspects of creative processes. Both her Bachelors and upcoming Masters theses delve into the different phases of a creative process. In her collection for See Us -Lapinlahti she dives deeper into the complexities of the creative process, by visually representing the fluctuating emotions and inner turbulence.

Our sixth designer Ella Kärkkäinen. As a clothing Designer Ella has two different identities to design. She is practical, innovative and functional where the work is based on deep research. Customers’ needs and wishes create challenges that Ella drives to solve. 

Ella`s other way to express herself and design is abstract and experimental. She uses watercolors and fabric leftovers to create beautiful sketches which she likes to name with gender neutral names. Ella admires people who dress how they feel, not what they think they should. The most inspirational topic for Ella is sensitive men with curious minds as a child.

Ella likes to mix her photographing skills with clothing designing. Her own photographs give personal stories behind the pictures which she uses in the fabric as elements. One of her favourite techniques is cyanotype.

Mieleni kohina collection has three different stories behind it about mental health. Ella has interviewed his friends and family about their experiences with mental health issues. The topics discussed are burnout, depression and orthorexia. The Collection tells wordless thoughts and feelings inside the mind to wearable clothing. Sometimes it feels hard to speak when you can`t find the right words but it is even harder to hide it especially when no one knows. 

Our seventh designer Palmén Anna. In this society, there are a lot of metrics, it feels like you have to succeed and be successful in everything, and that’s what people are aiming for. The fear of failure is huge.

“The moment when I became unemployed after graduating was contradictory. I had exhausted myself with the graduation collection and the fashion show, so it was good to take a break. But when I was unemployed and looking for a job my mood started to go down when it was so hard to find a job in the fashion field (in Finland and during the corona virus pandemic). I felt like a failure, bad, useless. I suddenly found the excitement to start doing screen printing frame and the print. Being creative was good for me. I got positive energy from it and I got to see the end result when I did everything myself from the beginning, it felt good.” – Palmén Anna

The Self Point mini fashion collection was born from a struggle with one’s own insecurities and at the same time overcoming the exhaustion caused by unemployment. The print depicts a continuous dragon fruit (Pitaya). The dragon has been considered the primary source of good luck. The purpose of the collection is to be empowering, energetic and beautiful. Beauty has a positive effect on mental health. 

Our eighth designer, Krista Virtanen. Her collection is been born intuitively and explores how holistic sensory experiences are important for the well-being of our minds. Coronavirus changed our ability to sense and experience.

“Personally, I felt that society locked me in a cage. Freedom disappeared (freedom to see, touch, experience, and feel). What was left was the rules. The restrictions also hit the creative field very radically.

What is life without touch? Our senses are often the last thing that we have before we die. Even a small touch/presence can be a significant experience for a person who is struggling and dealing with issues on various levels. What is life without music that can be experienced throughout the body? What is life without art that can be felt with your whole being? What is the impact this has on us in the long term? Mental health problems are constantly on the rise. Why is the topic still being so ignored?

The collection encourages resistance to the digital world. Let’s remember what is important to us. What if we lived our lives to the fullest as long we have time left? By feeling, experiencing, seeing, and touching. Personally, I observe, feel and live my life through my emotions. With my work, I want to evoke emotions and create a world in which you can immerse yourself. Art is a tool to create another dimension, a sensory experience, which can influence people’s well-being and mental health. The years have proven to me that everything is temporary and things pass by quickly. Let’s enjoy them to the fullest.” – Krista

Our ninth designer, Kati Määttä. As a designer she’s interested in designing pieces that take a stand for something important, for example human rights and equality. In her previous work, she’s been interested in breaking taboos and addressed a lot of topics related to femininity and sexuality. She has a burning desire is to create something that is not only beautiful on the surface, but also has a more significant ideal in the background.

Vertigo is the name of her mini-collection inspired by her nocturnal creative moments. “My creation is made with an experimental mind and with hand-painting technique. It takes shape during the actual work, as I ultimately decide it to be complete. My panic disorder is also caused by my own pursuit of perfection towards myself. So now I want to do something rough, something unbalanced, asymmetrical, but so that it becomes a whole. This is where something fragile and maybe broken has become unique and empowered. I also practice incompleteness in myself and the fact that everything does not have to be so polished and perfect. Maybe even small mistakes just makes us more interesting?”