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Pay more, buy less – FFF´s guide to ethical fashion

There`s a lot of talk about ethical clothes but what really makes a piece of clothing an ethical one? And why does it matter? FFF asked these questions from Anniina Nurmi, designer behind the sustainable clothing brand Nurmi and the creator of the website Vihreät Vaatteet which gathers information about ecological fashion and responsible consuming

Why should you buy ethical fashion?

– Today’s clothing industry is one the most twisted industries in the world. We´ve got used to get a T-shirt from a chain store that costs only an euro or two – that shouldn’t even be possible! Cheap price tells that people who have been part of manufacturing process as well as the environment have suffered for that piece of cloth.

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Why do sustainable clothes cost so much more than t-shirts and dresses from regular chain stores?

– People often ask why sustainable clothes cost more. I think the question should be reversed: why are the cheap clothes so cheap? If you want people who manufacture the clothes to get a fair wage and MINIMIZE THE IMPACT ON THE ENVIRONMENT at same time you must be ready to pay a little more for what you’re wearing.

What makes ethical clothes ethical?

Ethical clothes are manufactured respecting humans as well as animals. Whether it´s the farmers working in the cotton field or sewers in the factories they all have received a fair compensation of their work. These workers should also have a right to have safe working conditions, unionize, and be able to actively improve their rights themselves.

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Would you describe us the ordinary manufacturing process of clothes?

– The process includes producing the material for fabrics and turning them into fabrics, dyeing, printing, cutting and sewing. Many industries today are very mechanized but production of clothes requires still a lot of hand work – there are not yet robots which could make our clothes, at least not cost-effectively.

How can I be sure that the clothes I buy are really as sustainable as they are claimed to be?

– This should be much easier for consumers than it is now. At the moment making sure that the clothing is sustainable forces one to make a lot of detective work. Clothing business should operate more transparently so consumers would know which products are really ethical.

When it comes to ethical working conditions at the moment the safest way is to trust certificates like Fair Trade certificated cotton or Fair Wear certificate even though there are downsides to certifications as well.

Many times locally produced clothes are counted as sustainable. However, problem with these clothes is usually that only the sewing part of the process is made near you. Customer should also know where the material comes from and in what kind of conditions it is produced.

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What do you think about big brands making clothing lines that are marketed as ethical?

– Well it is of course a step forward that big chain stores use ecological materials even in some of their products as even that makes a big impact because of the big volumes. However, these claimed ecological lines are usually ethical or ecological only in a superficial way. They often concentrate for example only on the material of the cloth instead of making a really ethical cloth that should cover the products whole lifecycle.

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Many might find it hard to change their consuming habits to more sustainable. Where should they start?

– A good way to start is to question do you need to buy a new garment at all. If you do, Then choose a product of high-quality that you really love and which you’ll use for years and years.

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MOIMOI way of life

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MOIMOI is a sustainable leather bags and accessories brand based in Helsinki. The brand believes in traditional craftsmanship, durable materials and clean designs. If you seek for timeless, beautiful bags and accessories for everyday use this is the right brand for you. Behind this beautiful brand is a Spanish designer Raquel Alonso Miranda.

 

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Raquel was born in Vigo, in a city east west of Spain where she also graduated as a Master of Arts. During these studies she spent one year as an exchange student in Finland. Despite all the countries with their well-known fashion capitals, how did she end up choosing Finland?

– I was studying a Master of Arts so most of the schools we could go were more Art oriented. I chose Finland because of the school that I was able to learn more about textile, clothing design and traditional techniques like weaving, dying, leather handcrafts or hats felting.

 

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MOIMOI was born as a final project but it wasn’t always clear that it would be exclusively an accessories brand.

– When I made the final study project in Barcelona I planned a clothing brand. Also the first MOIMOI collection in 2010 was accessories and clothing. After this collection I felt more comfortable making accessories and I started experimenting with leather. Finally in 2011 I launched the first only accessories collection.

Main materials used in the collections are reindeer leather from Lapland, cow leather from Spain, finnish birch wood and water based colors for the fabric printing. While studying in Finland Raquel developed a special interest in Scandinavian functional design. It all goes back to a certain exhibition at the famous Helsinki Design Week.

– I started to appreciate the clean designs when I came to Helsinki for the first time on a school trip. It was the Helsinki Design Week and I went to the Cable Factory to see a product and furniture design exhibition. I immediately liked all the simple forms and the use of wood. Later on, when I made the project in Barcelona I came back to this idea and I got the main inspiration from Scandinavian architecture and furniture design books.

 

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Raquel is the designer and the founder of MOIMOI but she hasn’t built the brand alone. Kalle Järveläinen is a co-founder and a partner of MOIMOI and together they wanted to create something tangible, something that lasts long. How did they meet?

– We met here in Helsinki at the time I was making an internship at IVANA Helsinki. Nowadays Kalle is taking care of the online presence and graphics and recently we started to design the first men bags together.

MOIMOI was established in 2010 and the brand has been slowly growing ever since. Nowadays you can find their products in shops around Finland, Spain and even in Japan. What are they working on at the moment?

– I just presented the new products for the next SS15, so production is the next step and also preparing for a promising Christmas Campaign.

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Haldin F/W 14/15 “Friend”

Helsinki-based clothing label Haldin combines high quality materials with bold colors and strong prints to create wearable clothes. Inspiration is drawn from “life, movies, music, the natural, unnatural and supernatural, childhood memories and the peculiar things lurking in the corners of the mind”.

 

91-1024x585But where did the inspiration for their new collection “Friend” F/W 14/15 come from?  Fashion Flash Finland asked, and the forces behind the brand answered.

For Haldin, the F/W 14/15 collection is basically a declaration of love. It is a celebration of friendship, love and odd couples.

“The only truly miserable thing with having the label is that we have so little time to hang out with the people, who are the most important to us. Our friends and family are definitely a weird bunch of people and also the very best bunch of people in the whole world.”

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The ultimate inspiration for the collection was their friends, family – and maybe also two of them. The design label was born when Leena Haldin and Jonas Hellsten met.

“We had little in common and came from enemy lands but we fell in love anyway. Together we founded a company to fight evil by making clothes and accessories for men and women.”

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The prints in the collection are based on Haldin’s ambassadors of love, the Chimp and the Vulture. The inspiration for the vulture print rose from a strong feeling that homage for the vulture killed by Conan the Barbarian was well overdue.

 

When we asked, which piece in the collection is their favorite, the answer we got (after much thought) was:

“Everything! We love it, all of it! The SS15 collection is not too shabby either, so we are already looking forward to showing it.”

List of stockists available at Haldin’s website.