We had a great honor to represent FEDITED in New York Fashion Week this fall wearing Finnish design. And our outfits really got noticed! The talent from Finland is something out of this world and we’re supporting it any ways possible, let us introduce you: our all time favourite jewellery brand, Aistikas.
Aistikas is a family owned small business from Hämeenlinna, Finland. We took photos of enchanting Milja, the head of marketing and the daughter of Cyraine Ilangakoon Laakso, the designer behind the Aistikas -brand.
Cyraine learned to make Frivolite lace (an old technique she uses on their products) when she was only eight years old. Her grandmother taught her in Sri Lanka where she’s from. We interviewed Cyraine about her work and Aistikas:
Your jewellery is so beautiful, it’s all handmade right? How long does it take to make one earring for example?
Yes, the jewellery is handmade. The lace is made individually from thread with the smaller beads woven in while making the lace. The bigger crystals are mounted by hand and then attached on to the the lace, by hand. The time it takes to make a piece of jewellery depends very much on the size of the item and also on the size of the crystals or beads used. In the bigger items, each piece is made separately. If there are many layers of lace, each layer is made separately.
“I get my inspiration from antique jewellery.”
Do people understand why handmade jewellery, clothes, shoes etc cost more or do you get often comments that your products are too expensive?
By and large, most people in Finland understand why handmade jewellery, clothes, shoes etc cost more. They appreciate the time and effort that goes into each item. Of course there have been comments regarding the price. It is to be expected in a world used to mass produced clothing and accessories, but these have been relatively rare.
I sell handmade silk scarves made by two small craft companies in Sri Lanka. Barefoot (handwoven scarves) and Yoland (handpainted scarves). Both companies train and employ women which makes a huge impact on society in poor countries. This, in addition to the fact that the scarves are beautiful, is the main reason why I support them.
Is it easy to learn that technique you’re using for the Aistikas jewellery?
The technique of making Frivolite (or käpypitsi) is not too hard. It was quite popular in the late 1800s and early 1900s in Finland but died out in the 1940s. Classes are offered quite often at the Työväenopisto’s around Finland.
Where do you get you’re ideas and inspiration?
I get my inspiration from antique jewellery. The shapes and designs in antique jewellery suits working with lace and I personally like old jewellery. Visits to museums, books and exhibitions of jewellery are where I get my ideas.
What do you think about Finnish fashion and design?
There has been a leap in Finnish clothing and accessories design since I first came here in 1994. A lot of new designers and new ideas. They are not all things I like or would buy, but the very fact that there are so many new designers and products is, in itself, exciting.
How about Finnish street style or sense of style generally speaking?
Finnish street style/sense of style, in general, still tends towards being safe, conservative. The trend is mostly towards established brands and a tendency towards not being different. I miss the fizzle of standing out from the crowd, of being ahead of fashion.
Could you tell your opinion about fast fashion and slow fashion?
I am not sure what exactly you mean about fast and slow fashion. If fast fashion is the trend toward mass produced disposable fashion, then I dislike it for many reasons, the lack ethics in production, exploitation, consumerism…an almost endless list. Slow fashion, if it means valuing quality, good workmanship, originality… classic styles, that’s what I like.
How is it like to be an entrepreneur in Finland?
Becoming an entrepreneur in Finland has been easy in some ways and hard in others. There is a lot of support to start a business, however small. It is unfortunate that I started my business at the start of a recession. It has been difficult and it would be really nice to see signs of recovery in the economy. It, unfortunately, takes a while for any recovery to be reflected in consumer confidence… so, not any time soon I think.
What plans you have for Aistikas in the future and where do you see Aistikas let’s say, in five years?
Plans for the near future – to survive!! Seriously… to try out some new ideas. The wedding jewellery I did this year was interesting. I would like to do some really big items of jewellery and also widen our area of sales. Milja handles the online marketing and publicity. We plan to put more effort as well as resources on our website, advertising and publicity on social media.