In Finland, with its endless green forests and bright blue lakes, people take a deep sense of pride in their nature. Ethical fashion has always been an important topic among Finnish creatives and consumers. Päivi Savolainen, the founder of handmade accessories brand MAKEEDesign, also shares this concern for the environment. Completely self-taught designer creates her pieces out of recycled candy wrappers. MAKEE means ‘sweet’ in Finnish, the word that people often used to describe the quirky accessories for the first time they saw them, according to the designer. Intrigued, HÄN chats with the brand’s founder to get a taste of her work.
HÄN: How did you get into design?
Päivi: I love creating beautiful things by myself. And I’ve always been curious about different kind of materials and how well they play together and what you may create out of them.
HÄN: What did you do before setting up your company?
Päivi: I had my own dressmaker’s shop (I worked out of home) for ten years. My shop was specialized in custom clothing for women, such as dresses, blouses and accessories. I also sew clothes for men, especially some training clothes for our local ice-hockey team.
HÄN: How did you decide to set up MAKEEDesign?
Päivi: I wanted to focus on accessories. Also, my second oldest daughter wanted to have a lampshade made out of white and red striped candy wrappers so I made that for her, and I made a couple of small pouches too as there were some extra candy wrappers left. That’s basically how the story began: I made a lampshade for my daughter, got inspired by the recycled materials and tried what else I could make out of them.
HÄN: What is the philosophy behind your brand?
Päivi: One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. I want to recycle as much as I can, and as we all know, leather gets better with age. Candy wrappers are too often too beautiful to throw away. So why not creating something nice and beautiful out of them?
HÄN: Where do you get inspiration from for your designs?
Päivi: Mostly from nature. I love flowers, colours and all the shapes of leaves. Also, my younger daughter often brings me high fashion magazines to spend some quality time by myself. I love shoes, accessories – everything beautiful and feminine. You can find those things in nature and in the magazines!
HÄN: How long does it take to design one piece?
Päivi: It largely depends: sometimes one is ready on very quickly, sometimes it takes days to get the shape I want. But that is a good thing about creating something new: you never know what may happen, when and in which way!
HÄN: What do you like the most about your job?
Päivi: Creating beautiful things that people can wear.
HÄN: How would you describe Finnish fashion and design scene?
Päivi: Vivid. Brave. Growing all the time. More and more we have young talented designers who are not afraid of following their dreams. Finns are like that: persistent if they got something in their mind. That’s common for all Finns. And that’s one reason why Finnish fashion scene is bigger and better all the time.
HÄN: What positive changes would you like to see in Finnish fashion in the future?
Päivi: More collaborations between different brands. It would be evolutional!
Check out MAKEEDesign and learn more here.
Questions by Kira Kolosova.