The State of Fashion in Finland
Finland has always been known through the years for its inclination toward design. The Finns are proud of their design, notably when it’s acknowledged internationally. Design is usually dictated by time and place, but fashion is perhaps the most short-lived branch in design. Its value is determined by fashion arbiters and the consumers who opt for it.
Fashion in Finland has always been identified with pure and clear forms and postmodernism. While the attributes seem definitive, they are by no means specific only to Finnish design. They are worldwide trends and an essential aspect of Scandinavian style.
Some characteristics can be very much distinctively Finnish, though Finnish fashion designers often look to nature for inspiration. It is usually more noticeable in the works of older designers than from emerging ones. This can probably be attributed to the global trend for more conceptual and abstract inspirations. Direct references are considered crass and boring by contemporary fashion.
Individualism is another differentiating trait of Finnish fashion design. Finnish couturiers come up with fashion lines suited for consumers with a strong sense of style, not for the common people. It is a very prohibitive practice that substantially narrows the target market. It can be said that fashion in Finland places more importance to design and artistry rather than increasing profits. The upside is that the Finnish fashion industry is more compelling and diverse compared to some of their competitors.
Universally appreciated ideals like ethics and sustainability are also relevant principles in Finnish fashion. At its core is the understanding that the garment will be able to withstand time. Furthermore, Finnish designers want their sewers to work in a safe and fair working environment. They will not open production lines in countries where workers are routinely exploited.
Impressions on the current state of the Finnish fashion industry varies depending on who was asked. There are some who think it is stagnant and discriminatory while others are much more optimistic. The bottom line is the fashion industry in Finland is doing quite well. Export can be very tricky as the clothes are so bound to inspiration, 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.
Like other business enterprises, the fashion industry is dependent on the law of supply and demand. A consumer in need of something will undergo a decision-making process before eventually buying the product or not. Clothes are a basic need for everyone.
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. As hard as it is to enter foreign markets, it is doubly so for fashion companies with products that are vulnerable to many factors and the period they were made.
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