May 4, 2020

FIVE FROM FINLAND: Meaningful accessories

phone and hand
Finnish accessories are not only designed to look stylish, but also carry deeper meaning and purpose.
Julia Bushueva

Finnish design has gained a reputation for being innovative, thoughtful and meaningful.

These five Finnish companies offer accessories that not only focus on adding style to outfits, but also seek to make a social impact while they are at it.

Oura

Mixing design and technology, Oura Ring is defined as the most accurate, comfortable and beautiful wearable available on the market. The smart ring guides its user towards better sleep, recovery and performance, and has attracted famed customers such as Prince Harry and investors such as Will Smith.

Compact and stylish, the ring draws raw data directly from the user’s finger with its built-in biometric sensors, analyses it and sends it to the mobile app that then gives feedback and guidance on their wellbeing.

“The ring is a premium product, and for us it’s crucial to be able to guarantee top-notch quality on every level,” declared co-founder Petteri Lahtela. “We don’t cut corners at any stage.”

Moreover, the data collected by Oura smart devices could soon prove useful in the battle against COVID-19, as the company recently started testing its technology for early detection of the virus in co-operation with the University of California, San Francisco.

Saintex

This family-owned company with a 70-year history of manufacturing custom-made plastic goods takes a fashionable approach to one of the most practical Finnish inventions: personal safety reflectors.

Through collaborations with both renowned and less-known Finnish designers, Saintex creates stylish soft reflectors that keep users safe in the dim. The reflectors come in all colours and shapes, including a traditional wintery theme.

With the popularity of personal safety reflectors increasing, the company is working hard on bringing style and safety to the domestic and international markets.

“In Finland, safety reflectors are always seen as something fairly mundane. Abroad, people have a more open way of thinking: safety reflectors are cool objects if they look good,” noted CEO Susanna Blomqvist. “And they also save lives.”

AIDA impact

Founded out of a desire to better the world, this Helsinki-based jewellery company places equal importance on creating beautiful earring designs and helping immigrant women to enter the Finnish labour market.

AIDA impact produces handmade jewellery using the finest natural materials while employing mainly refugee women who have encountered difficulties in the job market. The company’s charitable intentions go hand in hand with an ambitious plan to become a recognised fashion brand.

“Many of our customers don’t even know about our backstory when they buy the earrings,” pointed out founder and CEO Elina Siira. “We want to make stylish, classy and high-quality products, and it’s great that we can simultaneously contribute to social inclusion.”

MyJemma

This company specialises in smart consumer and business gear, fan merchandise and spectator event products with integrated near-field communication (NFC) tags.

The company’s first consumer product is a modern twist on traditional lockets that for centuries have been considered the most sentimental piece of jewellery. Instead of a lock of hair or a tiny portrait, the digital lockets contain a chip that provides access to a cloud service for photos and videos, and the content is revealed with just the touch of a smartphone.

“We’re not measuring stress or blood pressure, as MyJemma isn’t an activity band or a fitness tracker,” explained CEO and co-founder Marko Kallio. “We want to be an instrument for increasing feelings of closeness and happiness in people’s lives.”

nannasalmi

Textile designer Nanna Salmi started her custom-made jewellery business quite by chance. Since then, orders have come in from around the world. What makes this jewellery so peculiar and unique is the key material used – horsehair.

A hobby rider herself, Salmi knows first-hand about the deep emotional bonds between humans and their horses. With her horsehair jewellery, the designer helps her customers in transforming this close owner-pet relationship into something concrete and sophisticated.

All nannasalmi design pieces are handmade according to customers’ individual wishes and, as a rule, using the horsehair they provide.

“One product can involve weeks of correspondence to ensure the end result is exactly as the customer imagines it,” Salmi noted. “I understand this, as the item is of such emotional importance to its bearer. Often clients tell me stories about the horse, too.”

Text: Zhanna Koiviola

Originally published in October 2019

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