September 18, 2020

FIVE FROM FINLAND: Autumn ideas

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Finnish ideas for autumn are mushrooming like, well, mushrooms in this northern land.
JULIA BUSHUEVA

Can you feel it? Autumn is starting to creep into the air in Finland and the rest of the northern hemisphere. Enjoy every moment of the crisp season with the help of this Finnish quintet.

Sandwiched between the sunny summer and the frosty winter, autumn is a season of change and transition offering plenty of exciting things to do and to reflect on.

Toast to the new season, get cosy, stay warm and active with these five Finnish brands.

1. Get inspiration from nature

Every autumn, Finnish forests put on a spectacular show as leaves turn red, orange and yellow. A source of breathtaking beauty and pure natural ingredients that can be harvested through late autumn, Finnish forests are also a source of inspiration for Hollola-based Ainoa Winery.

Founded by a husband-wife duo who moved to Finland from the US in 2008, Ainoa Winery has made a name for itself for making unique wines not with grapes but with vitamin-rich Finnish berries and other high-quality ingredients from the forest.

Turning blueberries, raspberries, cloudberries and lingonberries into delicious dessert and sparkling wines is a challenging but rewarding process. Over the last few years, Ainoa has impressed the juries of some of the most prestigious professional contents, including the 2016 East Meets West Wine Challenge in California and the Vinalies International Wine Competition in Paris in both 2017 and 2020.

“We are putting Finland on the world map of wine,” stated co-founder Paola Guerrero de Cohen. “We believe we have something special.”

2. Gear up for the colder weather, from head…

The impending autumn is making itself felt with dropping temperatures and brisk winds. The funky wool beanies, known as myssys, made by this farm-based design company from the Finnish locality of Pöytyä are guaranteed to keep your head and ears toasty.

The company’s philosophy revolves around use of organic materials and production transparency. Everything is done in the Finnish countryside: soft and light Finnsheep wool comes from the founder’s own and neighbouring farms, the yarn is spun and hand-dyed locally, and all beanies are hand-knitted by grannies in Pöytyä.

Earlier this year, as demand for do-it-yourself products soared amidst the coronavirus pandemic, Myssyfarmi released a limited-time MyMyssy kit containing all the necessities for knitting a beanie from the company’s yarn. The kits became an instant hit among knitters and beanie lovers.

“The world is full of all kinds of hats and beanies,” said marketing and sales manager Hanna Jauhiainen. “We believe that wearing a myssy is not just about covering your head – it also carries our values and ideology, meaning no industrial mass production.”

3. … to toe

Exploring on foot is a great way to experience autumn. For 60 years, Finnish shoe brand Pomar has been empowering people to enjoy the outdoors and life on the move, whatever the conditions. Pomar’s footwear, designed in Finland and manufactured in Estonia, can battle through rain, slush and snow without compromises on style.

With award-winning shoe designer Minna Peltomäki at the helm of the design team, Pomar is a perfect fit not only for the harsh northern climate, but also for environmentally conscious and ethically thinking consumers. A few years ago, for example, the brand launched its first vegan collection, which has been a huge success.

“Our shoes aren’t very cheap, but we always aim to make both the design and the structure so durable that they can be worn for years and years,” explained CEO Jarno Fonsén. “We’ve included various solutions to improve the grip of the sole, and our use of GORE-TEX ensures that the shoes are waterproof yet breathable.”

4. Create a cosy atmosphere with lights and candles

As the days get shorter and darker, taking the time to refine your lighting can make a notable difference to the ambience of your home. According to Finnish designer Timo Niskanen, who founded Himmee in 2014, lights have a huge impact on the atmosphere.

Himmee offers functional and timeless lighting solutions designed with a distinctive Nordic touch and manufactured with high-quality materials. In addition to lamps, the company has created a series of stylish candle holders meant to remind modern people that it’s a good idea to switch off every now and enjoy the soothing candlelight.

“The clean-cut, democratic, classy and easy-to-approach style seems to be really popular,” Niskanen noted. “In today’s world, the manufacturing process is a big part of the product, too, and customers expect sustainable and transparent supply chains. All of our production happens as near as possible and most of our subcontractors are Finnish, and we aim to be as fair as possible in all respects.”

5. Stay positive!

Let’s face it, some dread autumn because of the melancholy it can bring. This time of the year, many tend to seek encouragement, comfort and ways to support their mental wellbeing. Finnish company CupOfTherapy offers exactly this through its growing series of therapeutic drawings of animal characters complete with uplifting texts and phrases.

The brainchild of illustrator and graphic designer Matti Pikkujämsä and psychotherapists Elina Rehmonen and Antti Ervasti, CupOfTherapy is spreading their drawings online, as well as through different products like clothing, safety reflectors, mugs and bags. The heart-warming illustrations are also available in a book format.

The concept has proved universally appealing and raised interest in various corners of the world. In 2018, CupOfTherapy books were ordered by Japanese lifestyle chain MUJI, while 2019 brought another intriguing international collaboration: the company landed its licensing agent in the US and Canada.

“Our aim is to normalise mental health and wellbeing as well as lower the threshold of talking about sensitive issues,” Rehmonen pointed out. “Each drawing evokes different reactions in different people […]. A feeling always carries a message we should listen to. If you never stop to wonder where the emotion stems from, you won’t know what’s holding back your happiness.”

Text: Zhanna Koiviola

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