The Finns are coming: our guide to the latest in Nordic style

Aalto autumn/winter 2015 collection available at Fenwick Bond Street

It’s hard to remember a time before everyone coveted Dinesen floorboards, Acne pistol boots and Arne Jacobsen chairs. But what style mavens are waking up to is that not all Nordic design comes in muted, moody shades. Some of it is loud. Notably that of the less talked about, but soon-to-step-out-of-the-shadows, Finns. Inspired by the country's rugged landscape, their raw and often exotic approach to design is about to hit the mainstream. And with one of the country's hottest labels, Aalto, coming to Fenwick Bond Street, Carolyn Asome talks to the brand's creative director, Tuomas Merikoski, about what makes Finnish style so unique.

Aalto aw15

Key styles from Aalto's autumn/winter 2015 collection available at Fenwick Bond Street

1) Don't mistake Finnish style for the rest of Scandinavia

Not everyone realises it, but our style is quite different from that of other Scandinavian countries because Finland is much more isolated. What is really intriguing is the mix of influences from Russia and Sweden. If you try to simplify it, there’s this craziness, which comes from Russia. Then from Sweden there is this cosmopolitan, Western strand that is softer. Plus, Finland is a big country that is full of forests and lakes. So Finnish style is more raw and direct.

2) The Finns are more individual than their Swedish cousins

People wear whatever they want to here. It’s very original. They are much more likely to choose vintage clothes or their parents' clothes, which is very different to Stockholm where there is an army of people wearing the same outfits - it’s like a trend factory there. In Finland, it’s much less institutional and it’s also a market that is very youth driven and price conscious. 

Official Tuomas pics high res

Tuomas Merikoski, creative director of Aalto

3) Finns don’t do small talk

Silence and respect are quite typical Finnish characteristics. Finns give each other space and avoid lots of unnecessary small talk. It’s quite possible to go to the supermarket without speaking to anyone at all. This trait can be difficult to explain to foreigners but it’s just a way of being. They can be really silent but every so often they can really go for it, party and be wild.

4) Finnish homes are bold, bright and beautiful

We use more colour at home than you might expect with many of the materials chosen for their vibrant hues - think of a brand like Marimekko with its big flower motifs, screen-printing and primary colours. Finnish style is more visceral than Swedish style, which can be quite formal and conformist.

finnish house

5) Finland is the home of stylish wet-weather gear

Finns do care about how they look but nature here is very important. Life is a little less urban so there’s more emphasis on climate than fashion and adapting to outdoorsy situations with what we wear.

6) Finns love their food

Finnish food is having a huge boom. As a lot of Finland is made up of vast wilderness, our cuisine is related to this so typical food is lake fish, game or things you find in the forest such as mushrooms and berries.

7) Finns love tango music

There’s a big culture for it. Yes really. It’s basically the number one thing in music and it’s a really big part of the countryside culture: it is a bit exotic and cool. You can head into the countryside and you will see these big platforms where you can have live tango music and go dancing.

8) There's more to the country than Lapland

If you come here you have to visit Helsinki. It’s where most of the clubs/designers/galleries are. It’s also worth visiting Lake Finland in the Eastern part of the country and exploring the indigenous Sami culture, whose lifestyle has been unchanged for centuries and centres around reindeer herding. 

Aalto available at Fenwick Bond Street

By Carolyn Asome