A week has passed since Helsinki Fashion Week 2019 – the most sustainable fashion week in the world – came to an end. While Finland may not seem like a likely fashion capital to rival the usual suspects, it’s more about the message of the showcase than the size of it. From designers that create their ranges in the most ethical, sustainable and low-impact way to an inclusive cast of models who convey beauty in an all-embracing way.
‘Helsinki Fashion Week is a trampoline for young designers and young professionals to rise and evolve in terms of understanding and creating clothing that has been made in a sustainable and ethical way,’ says HFW founder Evelyn Mora.
‘It’s important for me to keep inspiring – especially the youth – to think about where their clothes are made, who made them, and what impact they had on the environment while being produced. That’s my way of investing in the future.’
Mora’s designers to watch following this year’s show include, Kata Szegedi by Kata Szegedi and Daniel Benus, A.BCH by Courtney Holm and Unravelau by Laura Meijering. Additional highlights of HFW include Patrick McDowell’s show alongside the dock, which was a production of mass proportions (and which was mostly inspired by his father’s profession as a fireman and his mother and aunties’ favourite dresses growing up) and a pantomime of sorts by gender-fluid label Ka Wa Key.
But HFW is about more than just fashion. The main show location, the Palace of the Nobility, was covered by an ‘urban curtain’: a surface that captured CO2 and air pollutants from the atmosphere to be stored by algae and grown into biomass. The process results in freshly photosynthesized oxygen being released into the urban microclimate. And apart from the runway shows, keynote addresses, panel discussions and interactive sessions were conducted on a range of topics and by a variety of incredible speakers, all with sustainable living as their core focus.
From Thomas Rohr, the head of materials and processes at the European Space Agency discussing materials and applications used for space, as well as our ‘Plan B’ for living on the moon in centuries to come, to director of branding at Ultrafabrics, Nicole Meier speaking about the importance of material innovation, and designers Patrick McDowell and Courtney Holm weighing in on the impact of authenticity during the creative process.
What drives Mora, and the main message she’d like to get across is this: ‘Stop compromising! Be more passionate and be more curious to find out more information about the brands and materials you purchase. Stop worrying about what your peers think, go ahead and do what you think is right and what makes you feel good. You can find more inspiration for living sustainably in other industries like food, interior design or architecture too. After all, sustainability is a lifestyle not an #ootd’.
For more, follow @HelsinkiFashionWeekOfficial on Instagram and #HelsinkiFashionWeek
Feature image @kataszegedi | Wongwannawat