Finnish fashion designer Marita Huurinainen transforms plywood into shoes
Marita Huurinainen is a famous Finnish fashion designer who started wearing dresses she designed and sewn herself already at her 5th grade graduation party. Only at the age of 24 she started studying clothing design at the University of Art and Design Helsinki (SF), and after finishing upper secondary school she took up studies at the University of Helsinki’s department of political sciences, with the aim of getting “a proper profession”
After her graduation in Art and Design, she planned to work abroad, but the offer made by Marimekko was tempting her, because she was elected among graduates to design collections for the company, and for a period of two years.
During 2006-13, Huurinainen worked as a designer for various companies in Finland and Japan. At the same time, she developed her own products. She was fascinated by the freedom that working as an independent designer would bring, even knowing well that the sector has its challenges. She states: “A designer must know what people want before they know they want something. That is the challenge.”
The best known accessories designed by her, is probably the wooden shoe named Wave, which won the Ornamo Design Award in 2009 for its concept. The sole of the shoe is made out of bent veneer. In a way, it represents a modern take on a traditional material.
The idea for the Wave shoe stemmed from a study of shapes. Huurinainen was testing various products made out of different materials, and not with the intent to create a shoe collection, but ended up with one.
She also has a line of fur items, made out of the fur of wild animals. Even though the Wild concept has been well received, Finns are still sceptical about fur products.
For Finnish designers, ethics is a bigger issue than for designers in general. There is no need to emphasise eco-friendliness. It is a sort of an automatic consideration. Eco-friendliness might have something to d9o with being modest and down-to-earth. For example, in the Wild line, the origin of the furs can be traced. The pelts bear the Wild Finnish fur label, whi8ch also accompanies the finished products.
Another highlight of Huurinainen’s career was winning the Baltic Fashion Award for international experimental fashion. She comments: It felt really good to receive recognition after having worked so hard. The prize was the beginning of something new. The next goal, she is planning to develop a company. The two distinct lines are to be merged into a more cohesive whole. Huurinainen will soon also launch clothing collections for men and women. Not just fur, maybe a cocktail dress. Definitely, these creations will be made of lots of natural fibres.