The State of Fashion in Finland
Design has been a part of the Finnish identity for a long time now. The Finns are high in their design, especially when it is doing well overseas. Design is normally adapted to time and place, but fashion as a branch of design is very fleeting. Its value is determined by fashion arbiters and the consumers who opt for it.
Pure and clear postmodern style has always been the trademark of fashion in Finland. While the description seems categorical, it is by no means distinct only to Finnish design. It is part of a global trend, and a fundamental element of Scandinavian design.
But there are some aspects that can be seemingly originally Finnish, though. Nature influences Finnish couturiers a lot. It is, however, more evident in classic fashion than in current fashion. This is probably an offshoot of the worldwide trend for more conceptual and abstract designs. Direct references are considered crass and boring by contemporary fashion.
Another dominant characteristic of Finnish fashion design is individuality. Finnish designers look to create specific fashion for stylish individuals and not for the hoi polloi. It is a very restrictive practice that limits the market significantly. In the end, fashion in Finland is more oriented towards design and aesthetics rather than maximizing bottom lines. The positive thing is that the fashion industry in Finland is more fascinating and varied than some of the rival fashion industries.
Universally appreciated ideals like ethics and sustainability are also relevant principles in Finnish fashion. In essence, the garment should be able to withstand the test of time. Moreover, Finnish designers set their sights on giving their seamstresses a secure and equitable working environment. They will not outsource jobs in a country with a record of exploitative business practices.
Viewpoints and notions vary on the present state of the Finnish fashion business. There are pundits who criticize it as frozen and exclusionary while others think otherwise. The bottom line is the fashion industry in Finland is doing quite well. Exporting the garments can be very problematic with styles that are bound to ideas, brands and time. A single item can only last about half a year, and only caters to a specific audience because of its premium price and unconventional design.
The law of supply and demand applies to the fashion industry just like any business. When a consumer needs something, he or she undergoes a process of decision-making before coming up with an answer whether to purchase or not the product. Everybody needs clothes.
The dilemma facing Finnish fashion brands is that the local market is not big enough to support all of them but going global entails a lot of effort and capital. Penetrating foreign markets is always difficult and the fashion companies’ products that are susceptible to fluctuations and time of manufacture make it even harder.
Source: fashion stores in Finland