The category is garden wear, but make it fashion. The heritage Finnish brand has released a limited-time collection that exists at the intersections of workwear, gardenwear, and streetwear. We talk to the designer behind the capsule collection, Maria Korkeila, on her design inspiration and approach.
The Fiskars by Maria Korkeila Collection features 11 genderless, multifunctional styles made from organic and recycled materials (and apple leather for accessories, like the tool belt) by socially responsible suppliers in Europe.
In true fashion meets function, it’s time for utility shirts & cinched waists via apple leather tool belts, cargo pants & crop tops. We talked to the designer behind the capsule collection, Maria Korkeila, on her design inspiration and approach.
- How would you describe your aesthetic as a designer? What informs your design process?
I design unisex garments, accessories and homeware for the daring eccentrics, cheeky troublemakers and everyday provocateurs. My designs are bold and colourful but easy to wear: both effortless and titillating. I get inspiration from a myriad of things from art, music, films, my friends… It really depends on the project and collection. I like to combine a medley of references like I’m building a world for of my own for people to delve into: something so comprehensive you can dive into it and experience it.
- Tell me about your design inspirations in creating this line.
It really started with the immensely rich history of Fiskars and the beautiful Fiskars village and its surroundings (where the company was founded). Looking at the evolution of their tools, and what they are today, you can really see the past, present and future imbued in the tools they offer today. I wanted to distill that combination of tradition and modernity into the clothing as well.
- What was your approach in the materials used for this collection (recycled polyester, organic cotton, apple leather)? What sustainability parameters did you keep in mind in creating this capsule collection?
The main priorities for us starting out was that they were materials of high quality that met the functional requirements (water-repellent, dirt-repellent, blade-proof where needed etcetera) and also that they were as sustainable as possible keeping those things in mind. That meant we soured organic, recycled and pfc-free textiles in addition to vegan leather (made from apple skin, which I think is so cool). We also worked with factories in Europe that are audited and where we could easily go ourselves to see working conditions. The pocket structures have been tested in Fiskars laboratories with robots to see how long they last wear-and-tear with scissors inside them.
- How did you maintain Fiskars’s legacy look while pushing the boundaries of what gardening wear can look like?
Creating garments and accessories for a company that has never worked with apparel or any soft materials for that matter was both a challenge and exciting. How does one imbue garments with the DNA of a company that has never done them before? Nonetheless, Fiskars is a household name in Finland and a brand I grew up with –my mom is a big fan, as an avid gardener and being left-handed (Fiskars was among the first to introduce left-handed scissors), so I had a clear image of what the brand is about from the get-go. Pushing boundaries of what gardenwear can be is where my background in fashion steps in: we wanted to design gardenwear that was also suitable for urban environments and everyday life.
- This collection exists at the intersection of fashion and function. How did you balance maintaining an aesthetic identity while creating a collection that was functional for gardening and urban exploration?
The functionality of the collection was the starting point. We went to the test gardens of Fiskars and they walked me through all the physical and functional requirements (what, how and why) the garments and accessories would have. Like that the shirts and coats need to be longer in the back since you’ll be crouching a lot, pants should have room in the front for similar reasons. Modifiability was key to adapting the garments for different seasons and situations. The coat and vest can be opened in the front, to make it shorter but also so you can open it half-way and access the pockets more easily while crouching, for example. So these foundations and parameters were layed out as my guidelines to designing the collection and aesthetics followed. This was also a new and different approach to designing a collection for me which made it exciting and interesting!