Light is important to all of us, a fact that is most pronounced when there’s no light to be had. Winters are dark and cold in Finland, and during these long months we serious Finns tend to curl up indoors and spend time alone. In the summertime however, we happily seek out each other’s company out and spend most of our day outdoors. The more the sun is out and the higher the mercury climbs, the more sociable we become.
But even if we all have troubles sometimes with the contrast between light and dark in our country, the work of a fashion designer has its own particular drawbacks. Summer collections must be created in the dead of winter, and when the sun is shining high in the sky, fashion designers have to imagine what people will be wearing a year and a half from now when it’s cold.
“It’s dark in Finland when it comes time to start planning the spring and summer collection. There just isn’t enough natural light. This calls for a vivid imagination. The colours and patterns of the summer clothes must glow in the bright crisp summer sunlight, even if we have to rely on artificial lights while we design them,” says Liisa Kotilainen, Aino’s founder and designer.
She says the upcoming spring and summer collection designs have much more consideration for lighting that previous Aino models.
“We’ve used a lot of time and energy designing the clothing in the 2017 spring and summer collection. The end result is perhaps the most colourful line we have ever produced. But like all Aino collections, it is also versatile and fun,” Kotilainen says.
If collections are planned close to a year and a half before they arrive in the stores, the photo sessions also take place quite early. For example, the 2017 spring and summer collection was shot in June 2016.
“The significance of the light is also important in the shoots. In the summertime, there’s too much of it and in the winter, there’s none at all. This collection was photographed in June, in the early hours of the morning and late in the evening. This was necessary to get a soft enough light in the images,” Kotilainen says.
She is satisfied with the final result and thanks the stylist and shoot arranger Tenna Schwartzbach Pedersen and photographer Ralf Åström for their great work. “As a outsider, Tenna brought new ideas and perspectives about Finland and Helsinki to the fore. We may not have thought about how important it is to tell our customers about where we are from and show them how our daily life and world looks.” In another change of pace, the session used three models, photographed in different areas of Helsinki’s urban milieu.
“Helsinki is an absolutely gorgeous city. It was easy to find very picturesque sites; the fantastic roof of the Rock Church in the background of some of the photos certainly made an impression on me. Perhaps we have taken our gifts of being Finnish and having a city like Helsinki for granted, seeing as how we work here every day. We needed a Danish woman to come and remind us about how great it all is,” she says.