In Conversation with a Finnish designer: paper magician and a rebel Justus K

Image from justusk.com

Image by Verna Kovanen from justusk.com


Helsinki-based fashion designer and performance artist Justus K does not follow anyone’s lead. Lahti Institute of Design and Fine Arts and Strate School of Design in Paris graduate gained a recognition in Finland and abroad for his intricate designs made out of paper, causing a furore at Berlin Alternative Fashion Week last spring. His worked showcased in a variety of fashion exhibitions, including the Anthology of Finnish fashion in Helsinki. This year, his collection is currently available for everyone to see at Riihimäki Art Museum. HÄN meets the designer to discuss his work.


Image by Verna Kovanen from justuk.com

Image by Verna Kovanen from justuk.com


HÄN: Where in Finland are you from?

Justus: I’m a small town boy. Originally from a tiny city called Riihimäki which is 70km north from Helsinki where I live now.

HÄN: You studied fashion in Paris, how did it affect your designs?

Justus: I actually studied branding and packaging design in Paris. There I found my way to express myself with fashion. My first fashion project, a sculptural paper dress, was chosen to be exhibited at the Cité de la Mode et du Design. It changed my point of view in design and I started to do paper fashion.

HÄN: Have you always wanted to be a designer?

Justus: I have always wanted to be an artist so basically my dream has become true. Maybe when I was a little I wanted to become a visual artist, a painter.


Image from justusk.com

Image by Suvi Ali-Varpula from justusk.com


HÄN: When did you understand that it was a job for you?

Justus: I guess it must have been last year when I did my first collection. Then I said I am sure. I am re-inventing myself all the time. That’s why I chose fashion because it is changing all the time and always going forward.

HÄN: Where do you take inspiration from?

Justus: Usually somewhere what I honestly do not know. In my previous collection I did a big research about Finno-Ugric folk art and now with my new collection, I am doing a research about a Roman mythology and Astrology. I don’t follow trends or fashion that much so the inspiration comes outside of the fashion field.

HÄN: What was the most exciting thing in your career so far?

Justus: Berlin Alternative Fashion week last march was amazing. I had a fashion show there. I had a wonderful team with me and the people in Berlin were so nice! The people, the support I got and the feeling there are the first things which are coming to my mind.


Image from justusk.com

Image by Verna Kovanen from justusk.com


HÄN: How do you see yourself in 5 years?

Justus: I think I live outside of Finland and I am continuing to do what I do now but on a bigger scale. I don’t want to categorize myself that much so I hope I am doing fashion and contemporary art projects with companies and individually.

HÄN: Do you have any favourite shops in Finland?

Justus: In Kallio region, where a lot of the locals go and live, there are many vintage and second-hand stores. The best for new fashion is definitely Acoloyth.com fashion store. It is selling very cool stuff and all the time fashion from the newest brands in the business. Brands that you don’t even have a clue about, not before they are there.

You can check out Justus K’s work here.


Questions by Kira Kolosova.