Makia makes clothes with a Northern mentality
Makia, a Finnish street fashion brand, known for its distinctive visual brand and out-of-box thinking, was founded in 2001. A group of friends with a background in snowboarding and skateboarding started making their own clothes as they couldn’t find anything that they wanted to wear in the shops.
“In 2006 it was suggested that ‘maybe you could do something more with this’ and that’s when we actually started. We have been working steadily for the past five years and we have a purpose, with a state of mind that we want to be the most successful street fashion brand from Finland. But of course, step by step,” tells Nicolas Prieto, project manager of Makia.
Makia employs altogether nine people who only design clothes that they would like to wear themselves. In that sense Makia feels that its clothing is an extension of its makers.
Finnishness and Scandinavian design can be seen in Makia’s clothing in clean lines and cuts. The clothes are designed to last even the harsh winters in the Northern latitudes and to stand the test of time.
“The biggest compliment for us is when we see people wearing our stuff that was made over five years ago.”
Makia outsmarts other brands with exceptional marketing stunts
Makia has created an international stir with its campaigns and stunts. Whether it’s a sponsoring agreement for Zimbabwe’s team in the Sochi Winter Olympics or a campaign with Finnish Formula One driver Kimi Räikkönen, the fuss is guaranteed.
“We are such a small brand so we need to be smarter than everyone else, just to survive. We are doing stuff that we like and hope that like-minded people will like it too,” Prieto adds.
An example of Makia’s out-of-the-box thinking is their summer 2014 collection Full Steam ahead, which got its inspiration from Mika and Aki Kaurismäki’s film Saimaa Ilmiö from 1981. The guys at Makia decided that it was time for a remake and headed to the Finnish archipelago in nearby Helsinki.
“Of course nobody, in their right mind would do a one-hour documentary feature film, have a radio station, 14 bands and a lot of Lapin Kulta (beer) on the boat for six days. But somehow with a lot of luck, hard work and enthusiasm, we pulled it off.”
Makia has just launched its Fall/Winter 14/15 collection Greetings from Makia, which is their third Finnish themed collection. Part of Makia’s brand is to use average blokes of all ages as models for their collections but this autumn world famous skateboarders, actors and photographers can be spotted in Makia’s look book.
“We wanted to showcase Makia as a place, our way of life, so we invited different people from all over the world,” Prieto explains.
“We showed them what we like to do in our spare time so we went fishing, surfing, on icebreaker ships, sauna, playing ice hockey and looking at Helsinki by night. What we wanted to showcase here, is that maybe Makia is a bit more than the clothes; it’s the way of life that we represent.”
Clothes for like-minded people
Makia’s main market is Europe. The brand is represented in 25 different countries and last year its web store delivered to over 40 countries worldwide.
At the moment Makia has its eyes on the German market and maybe the US in the future.
“The US is a market where you have to be big or go home as the Americans say. For a market that size you would have to have a few million euros for pure marketing and it’s a bit too much for us to chew at this moment.”
Makia’s every move is thought through to avoid past mistakes when going into new markets.
“Every market has its own laws in a way but then again, we feel that we are going to sell clothes to people like us and we are quite certain that they are all over the world,” Prieto sums up.
Text: Sara Vihavainen
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