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Pictures: Rory Barr for Finland Today
Thousands of people hit the Helsinki Design Week Design Market at The Cable Factory this weekend on a great hunt. Some were there to sniff out the best deals in Helsinki, where others were content to take in the latest of Nordic design. Others, like me, were in for a bit of both. Finn label favorites like Lumi, Ivana Helsinki and Minna Parikka had tables overflowing with discounted handbags, sequin jackets and shoes respectively. KN Collection had a beautiful shop in shop boutique that offered one of a kind samples at 59€ each. (Full confession, I bought two.)
Apart from the retail heavy hitters, there were many fledgling brands that caught my eye. The stand out for me was Kuula + Jylhä. The brainchild of two Finnish designers: Essi Kuula and Marika Jylhä; the pair make and design stunning leather backpacks that are stripped down of any unnecessary flourishes and just focus on elegant and functional details that make these bags damned cool. On the other side of the spectrum, Kuula + Jylhä made the worlds of ruffles and bright leather collide with their scalloped cut leather shoulder bags and clutches. One of the best things about Kuula + Jylhä is that they keep their craft local, by manufacturing in both Helsinki and Tallinn.
Latvian brand Malvine made an appearance and was selling delightfully quirky earrings and brooches that are handmade in Riga. From Cats to Alice in Wonderland’s White Rabbit to Frida Kahlo, these beaded masterworks take between one to two weeks to make and are genuine statement pieces that will get people noticing. Malvine Mennika, the artist and designer of the line also sells oversized sweatshirt dresses with a rainbow pattern that scream sartorial joy.
Apart from clothing and accessories, there were ceramics, hand knotted rugs, silversmith worked earrings and much more for every budget at the Design Market this weekend. If you missed it, the majority of retailers have an online presence and would be happy to indulge your curiosity. Moreover, many will be operating at the “I Love Me” fair coming this October. While the Design Market was just Saturday and Sunday, Helsinki Design Week runs until the 11th of September. Check it out at www.helsinkidesignweek.com.