September 11, 2014

Julia Lundsten gives rubber boots a city look

Julia Lundsten was presented The Finnish Young Designer of the Year award in 2007 by Design Forum Finland.
Julia Lundsten was presented The Finnish Young Designer of the Year award in 2007 by Design Forum Finland.
PEKKA SAKKI / LEHTIKUVA

Last year, shoe designer Julia Lundsten, who has run her company Finsk for 10 years, did away with the “outdoorsy look” of Nokian Footwear’s rubber boots. The result was a popular city boot collection that was continued this autumn. 

Last autumn, Nokian Footwear introduced a rubber boot collection designed by Julia Lundsten, known for her shoe brand Finsk. In addition to Finland, the Finnish city wellies have been in high demand in the other Nordic countries and in Holland and Belgium, in particular. 

“Everyone knows that Nokian Footwear’s boots are high-quality and have good master plugs. Already as small children, we are taught that they last a lifetime,” Lundsten points out.

“I wanted to preserve all of these characteristics in my collection, but to do away with the outdoorsy look. Partnering with Nokian Footwear perfectly matches my design philosophy, as I’m used to working with natural materials, such as leather and wood. Nokian Footwear’s boots are made from natural rubber,” Lundsten says. 

Shoe designer Julia Lundsten

– Graduated from London’s Royal College of Art in 2003.

– Won the Manolo Blahnik Award two years running as a student.

– Established her company Finsk in 2004. Lundsten has a penchant for working with leather and wood, and Finsk’s shoes are particularly known for their graphical lines and their abstract wedge heels.

Two collections were created for autumn 2013 and spring 2014, showcasing a lot of the wedge heel familiar from Finsk’s shoes. Most of the boots are black, but with some splashes of colour. The autumn 2014 collection was released in August. 

“The aim was to design boots that can be worn in the city and which are suitable for both walking and business meetings,” says Lundsten. 

“My favourite in the new collection is the strap-wedge model. I own a pair in navy blue and orange. With them I can cheer up my outfit when I’m wearing black. I also have the same boots in black, which go with anything,” Lundsten says.

She plans to continue co-operating with Nokian Footwear at least until 2016.

“The best is when customers come back time and time again”

This year also marks the 10th anniversary of Lundsten’s London-based company. Over the years, Finsk has built up a loyal clientele.

Caption: The autumn 2013 and spring 2014 collections showcased a lot of the wedge heel familiar from Finsk’s shoes.

Caption: The autumn 2013 and spring 2014 collections showcased a lot of the wedge heel familiar from Finsk’s shoes.

Nokian Footwear

“In Japan, demand has been growing steadily from year to year, and we also have a lot of customers in the Nordic countries and Hong Kong,” Lundsten explains. “Recently, inquiries have also been received from the Middle East. The UK is a difficult market, even though our head office is located there.”

According to Lundsten, running a small company is not easy, but it is rewarding.

“Small things are what matters: it’s not important that Lady Gaga wears our shoes but that our loyal customers come back time and time again, thank us and give us feedback.”

“Over these 10 years, we never meant to actually expand operations. We are planning to focus more of our efforts on that in future, however. We are also planning collections with other partners, but we will concentrate on them once our co-operation with Nokian Footwear ends.”

Text: Salla Kosunen

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