Historical Design Vs. Good Design
- are the traditional values of Finnish design obsolete from the point of view of business?

rector, professor Yrjö Sotamaa

Design As Business And A Way Of Life
“People think of clothes the way they think of hamburgers. Hennes & Mauritz’s cut-price culture is blasphemous towards clothing: cheap rags straggling over full racks have no value whatsoever in anybody’s eyes,” says Paola Suhonen, who appeared on the cover of the business magazine Optio[1] with a sunny smile. Paola Suhonen is one of the brightest new stars of Finnish design.

Paola Suhonen is an entrepreneur and calls her company, Ivana Helsinki, a new generation haute couture house. It makes products which are well-finished and in great demand (desirable) - not fashion but clothes that last for years. She says she believes in sustainable design, the traditions of Finnish design culture, ethicalness and ecology. Small and beautiful.

Ivana Helsinki has a turnover of approximately one million euros, most of which comes from exports to Japan and Italy. “My work is designer-oriented and I don’t want my company to grow much bigger. My father, a former clothing manufacturer who is also involved in this company, is always wondering why I want to curb growth.

“The feel of the work is very important to me; for me this is a way of life. I also feel responsible for the seamstresses I employ. I will never take my production to countries with cheap labour,” says Paola Suhonen and continues, “If it starts to look like I should betray my values and make too many compromises, I’ll move on to something else. The world is full of work for a designer.”
This is rare talk in today’s business world.

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Design Management
VIZO Workshop

“Design makes the Difference”
Brussels, Belgium - 29/30 November 2002

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