The first thing I noticed as soon as I got off my ferry to Helsinki, Finland, was a casually dressed teen with ripped Abercrombie jeans, a random t-shirt with a rocky print and an extravagant, oddly shaped fur hat projecting outward and embellished by two flaps hanging there on the sides. Very odd, I suddenly found myself thinking. Overly odd, I stated as a good italian used to elegant high heeled ladies and well-groomed, pink-shirted men. But I mean, we all know, besides stereotypes, that northern people have a quite unique and honestly controversial perception of hot and cold.
Around march, on the beggining of the lovely and much desidered spring, in Italy we basically wear what I see Brits wear in November, and as soon as the tiny little streets of my minuscule city get crowded and filled up by curious tourists, northern people are always quite easy to spot. They are without the shadow of a doubt the ones with weird open sandals, pale complexion and no sleeves while we Italians bravely start feeling springy by showing off a pair of white jeans instead of black wintery trousers.
Since the first moment I arrived in Helsinki, where I currently am on holiday, all I saw was FUR. Fur everywhere. I kept seeing it in every tiny corner like a nagging nightmere... I actually think I started having delusions and hallucinations after a while. Beige and grey beautiful furs in the classy high fashion shops, furs in the everyday wear shopping centres, furs in the traditional open-air market down on the port. Everywhere, honest.
As a fur's lover, I tingled with excitement.
Fur is the only good thing about cold weather and my favourite excuse to look classy and on trend; indeed the trend keeps coming back and you will never think it's old school neither too modern... Still, in a way I feel like it's both old school and modern. And why is fur so great? To me, personal opinion, it's because it can be used in different ways and overall with different intentions: fur can give a little more attitude to a boring white blouse, yet it has an immense power to embellish and refine an even more boring jeans and a t-shirt. As I always say, fur can change your outfit, as much as the right shoes and accessories can do.
Afterall, the main goal for a woman as regards her style is to always be able to balance things in order to look never too elegant, never too casual. Even though, this Fins definetely do not do. To them, wearing a t-shirt when it´s ten grades outside is ok, but only with an overly warm hat or scarf. Again, creepy. And odd.
Despite this little incomprehension issue between a typical italian girl and phisically insensitive Fins, what I'm loving the most about Helsinki is the street style. As it should be in every good capital city, even small ones, I could pleasantly see a lot of diversity. While it could sound a little cheesy, trust me: diversity in terms of clothing is usually given for granted and as a native of a tiny minusculous city I can definetely say that people LOVE comformism, they love not being judged and they love looking like each other if no one has that little sparkle of creativity to stand out. Actually finnish people seem to be quite brave and positively careless of what everyone else thinks, which I love.
Besides, it's not like they wear sloppy outfits just because they don't care. With a bit of reasearch, in fact I now know that finnish fashion has made a striking entrance in the fashion industry recently. Indeed it is always more prominent and important in the Helsinki Design week thanks to new seminaries and courses led in the spring. Finnish designers work also abroad for some of the most important houses in fashion industry, like Diesel, Calvin Klein or Nina Ricci. Moreover, thanks to bloggers and the press the world is getting to know some talented finnish designers and in the last few years some grand design exhibitions where held in New York and Tokyo. Compared to other northern designers, like the Swedes, Finnish ones have more character and usually make interesting and creative products more likely to have a chance in international markets. As far as style and fashion are concerned, creativity is the key. New and fresh is what greedy buyers look for, and apparently finnish designers are doing good.
To sum it all up, Finland is not all about shy and awkward fish lovers, but it rather has a cool fashion world and a nice amount of good fur that, let's make this clear, we all envy (Italy first). Go and you'll see... it's worth the journey and the cold to see graceful parks, a beautiful scenery and such lovely open-air markets selling real finnish food and clothing.
Traditional, creative, beautiful. Loving Filand and its oddly-worn fur.
Love you all,