A Bird’s-eye View of Fashion in Finland
For more than a century already, design has been very important to the Finns. 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 worth is not only ascertained by fashion professionals, but also by the people who patronize it.
Pure and clear postmodern designs predominate fashion in Finland. While the attributes seem definitive, they are by no means specific only to Finnish design. It is part of a global trend, and a fundamental element of Scandinavian design.
Some elements can be actually uniquely Finnish, though. Finnish couturiers are often inspired by nature. 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.
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 prohibitive practice that substantially narrows the target market. In the end, fashion in Finland is more oriented towards design and aesthetics rather than maximizing bottom lines. 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. It believes that a garment should 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.
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. Whatever the truth may be, the Finnish fashion industry is faring very well. Exporting the garments can be very problematic with styles that are bound to ideas, brands and time. A current design can only last for six months in the shelf and is geared towards a limited market because of its higher markup and bold style.
The law of supply and demand applies to the fashion industry just like any business. A needy consumer will go through the process of coming up with a decision before actually buying a product or not. Everybody needs clothes.
The problem staring Finnish fashion companies is that the local market cannot sustain all of them but expanding internationally requires a lot of work and money. Penetrating foreign markets is always difficult and the fashion companies’ products that are susceptible to fluctuations and time of manufacture make it even harder.
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