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
with a sunny smile. Paola Suhonen is one of the brightest new stars of Finnish
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.