Finnish designers had their own space during Meatpacking Design District 2008. Hardcore New Finnish Design showcased a wide variety of Finnish talent in industrial, furniture, graphic and even fashion design.
We gravitated towards Anna Ruohonen a Finnish fashion designer currently working in Paris. In her designs Ruohonen aspires to provide an alternative to the ever-changing fashions in clothing. For her a garment is not made just for one season, but rather it should be able to withstand time. Ruohonen’s philosophy is reflected in her work on show in HARDCORE, where she presents her designs under the title Black Classics a selection of the designer’s own favorites since the year 2000. Her emphasis on timelessness comes out in the quality of the construction and the fabrics
The Swedes aren't the only Scandanavians dedicated to denim. The Finns apparently have a yen for the top notch stuff as well. koneHELSINKI (the Finnish word ‘kone’ means ‘machine’ in English) is a design company founded by Finnish fashion designer Kalle Kuusela. The philosophy behind the line centers on the "sameness" of traditional denim. Jeans are often a piece of clothing that has a tendency to look like mere variations of the same theme - despite small changes in fashion, every pair looks basically the same. koneHelsinki’s jeans, on the contrary, show that even jeans can be uniquely captivating in their design. We aren't sure how well they succeed from the small set of samples we saw but we do like the philosophy nonetheless.
Our favorite piece however came from watchmaker Stepan Sarpaneva. Son of the prominent Finnish jewellery designer Pentti Sarpaneva, he comes from a family with a long heritage of craftsmanship. He first graduated from The Finnish School of Watchmaking then moved to Switzerland to further his studies at WOSTEP. The Sarpaneva watch on show in HARDCORE is titled Time Tramp. It is a pocket watch made of the used kickstart pinion of an old Harley Davidson motorbike. "The idea was to make something simple and a bit brutal, but beautiful…like life in Finland.” said Stepan Sarpaneva in a QP magazine interview. We were certainly smitten, along with every man we have showed it to so far. Clearly a pocket watch is only appealing to a man if it strays as far away from its foppish history as possible. And it is pretty hard to get anymore "hardcore" than a kickstart pinion from a Harley.
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