Let’s face it. It’s dark and rainy out there and the cars have a hard time to see clearly . . . especially the pedestrians. According to the law, a pedestrian must use a reflector in dark conditions but still, only every other footslogger uses the wonderful Finnish invention known as a safety reflector at the population centres, according to the statistics by the Finnish Road Safety Council. This may be because some people think that the reflective snowflake with Moomins on them hanging on a string from one’s windbreaker is plain ugly. If that’s the case, maybe the Finnish designer, Laura Juslin, can help. In a collaboration with the insurance company IF, Juslin has created a unique collection of reflective garments and accessories. In an attempt to look inside the genius of Juslin, over the course of a week in emails, I was able to peek behind the curtain. Below is the transcribed virtual interview.
The reflective scarf that you have from your collaboration with IF is seriously chic. What made you want to mix shearling with polyester?
“The interesting contrast! And also to bring the key elements of my design philosophy to this project too. Of course the fur also has functional purpose. When fur side is worn against your neck the scarf keeps you warm and safe at the same time. I wanted to bring high-end reflective to the market. That felt fresh approach. Haven’t seen those before.”
Tell me about where the collection was made?
“In June one of my favorite designer [the Swedish fashion designer] Ann Sofie Back contacted me and hired me to design a collection of reflective accessories for IF campaign. They have been taken care of the production of the collection. Knitted items have been produced in Sweden in Gällstad, which is the “tricot center” of Sweden. Gloves and scarf are made in Turkey. The reflective raincoats I am producing in Tallinn.”
I noticed that this collection didn’t involve any bright colours and uses blacks and greys. Was this to make the garments universally appealing? Or is it a nod to normcore?
“Haha, that’s true. This the first time I have designed such a dark tone collection. I usually use a lot of colors. Black and grey felt sophisticated yet cool. Reflective fabric looks best in gray and black alongside it made it look even better.”
Is this a one off project, or the start of an ongoing collaboration?
“Yes, this is a one off project in nature, but I hope the collaboration with both companies continues in some form in the future. It’s been wonderful to work with IF and Ann Sofie Back.”
Did “IF” approach you first? Did you jump at the chance save Finns from just pinning reflective snowflakes with Moomins on them on their coats? Furthermore, Was the “IF” collaboration quite an emotionally personal project for you, or a blanket statement that reflective can be stylish?
“Ann Sofie Back and IF approached me first. The project sounded exciting and fresh. The project does, indeed, have social depth and it really feels inspiring to design something that increases safety. Up in Finland the darkness puts pedestrians in danger during the winter months. The goal of the whole campaign is to get people to use a reflective whether it’s the traditional attachable Moomin character or, like in my collection, subtly integrated into a garment. I wanted to bring options where to choose from. With that said for me this collaboration is to point out that reflective can be stylish. And of course I felt really privileged to get to work with two amazing companies IF and Ann Sofie Back.”
[alert type=white ]”The goal of the whole campaign is to get people to use a reflective whether it’s the traditional attachable Moomin character or, like in my collection, subtly integrated into a garment.”[/alert]
I liked how you added leather finish detailing to the accessories. Obviously high end details are important to you. How did that come about? Is this a conscious effort to buck the trend of raw edging?
“My own aesthetics deals with a clean simplicity, and the harmony of optimal shape, surface and cut. I pay a lot of attention to detail. High quality fabrics and materials are cornerstones of my design work. Bringing leather and shearling alongside the reflective fabric as finishing. The finishing profiles the garment. It can be raw as well as long as it is made with care.”
What is next for you?
“Alongside my own Juslin Maunula collection, which will be released next spring, I have a couple of ongoing projects with clients.”
The collection is now available online at www.juslinmaunula.com with prices starting at 50€.