Runway Rendezvous: A Recap of the Captivating Collections at Helsinki Fashion Week

–by Jayna Rohslau

Did you know that sustainability and edginess could coexist beautifully? Experience the fascinating fusion of eco-consciousness and cutting-edge designs at Helsinki Fashion Week.

Sustainability makes for good company. While the spotlight is on the big four (New York, London, Paris, and Milan), Helsinki Fashion Week is the world’s first to have the goal of 100% sustainability. During the July 20-23 event’s ninth iteration, nonconformist designers stoked the fires of social change through their innovative and environmentally-friendly design practices.

You could call it otherworldly

The lines between physical and digital dimensions were blurred; previously, within the Nordic week’s Digital Village, attendees could wear looks in cyberspace and purchase ‘Phygital’ garments.

That being said, this year’s main focus was on executing change within this world: prioritizing inclusion during the fashion shows, highlighting circular initiatives and bringing more attention to tumultuous mental health conditions within the industry. 

Regarding circularity, event founder Evelyn Mora explained her partnerships with TheEcoVillage and CircularEconomy:

“It is most vital to work and collaborate across industries. It’s the ultimate key to realizing a circular economy in all sectors and aspects of human life… together, we have the power to inspire people to see the benefits and adopt a circular lifestyle.

At No Kill, we wholeheartedly agree with Mora’s community-minded approach. Altering the global outlook on fashion takes more than a village – it takes another world. Believe us; we’ve been there and back in our pursuit of a more sustainable future. Below are some of Helsinki’s Angels – in other words, some of the key designers that you want on your radar.

Malaika Mollel

Malaika Mollel’s creations are impressive. The Finnish-Tanzanian designer takes inspiration from nature, her imagination and the artistic creativity in Helsinki. Call her an artistic triple-threat as she makes her mark from ceramics to canvas to silkscreen to (surprise, surprise) garments enveloping the human form. Rather than a facelift for your literal face, wear one on your torso for extra spice. Why have two faces when you can have fifty?

Paulina’s Friends

Your fashion friend just got a quirky Nordic update. Formerly a concept store for contemporary art, design and vintage fashion, PAULINA’S FRIENDS has transformed into a conceptual independent brand. Designer Paulina’s approach is grounded in fashion world experience along with her deep knowledge of cultural and art history.

For Paulina, excess is tasteful. She transforms rare couture fabrics from all over the globe into crazy patchwork couture powered by “the principle of serendipity.” Other new rules seem to be “the principle of wearing knits with sequins” and “the principle of wearing whatever the Helsinki you want” – from tiny hats to metallic cowboy boots. The message is unmistakably to live your crazy fashion dreams. With an attitude like that, we also want to be Paulina’s friend.

Studio Lamea

Enter Studio Lamea, and you are treated to a bright new world. Let’s call it fashion heaven. Here, you can do anything you want – from dramatically posing in a wedding dress look-alike at a pool table to sauntering around in a frilly jacket with the latest trendy accessory – the kitchen utensil. We know it’s what you’ve always wanted.

Playful and absurdist to its core, the brand proclaims it is all about “giving garments a second (and obviously way better) life” and “saving the planet while looking fabulous.” It’s like a more glamorous / less problematic take on when celebrities adopt children or a more sartorially pleasing / less embarrassing interpretation of the Project Runway makeovers. This year, the brand’s Madonna-Whore complex was reborn as a dissociative sugar baby with cut-outs and sweet details like a bow resembling wings / evoking both purity and provocation. What can we say? Fashion heaven makes its own rules.

House of Parvi

Tailored like a silk glove. While you probably can’t expect the House of Parvi to throw any house parties, Parvi Chadha’s ecological brand makes a case for a more elegant affair where cocktails will be served and clinked together in perfect synchrony.

Another glass of rose, anyone? Florals for spring may not be groundbreaking, but the rose petal fabric draping this year’s models is a promising new growth. The material emulates silk and exerts its superiority by being 100% sustainably crafted. Other flowering fabric choices include aloe vera and lotus stem. Another delightful bit of intrigue is the brand’s botanical scarves. Look closely; they can also be worn as tops and dresses for a day-to-night change between events. Indeed, this high-fashion brand is virtually blossoming with promise.


Borbala Ferencz knows what’s next in trashion. Her namesake label was inspired by her upbringing in post-communist Romania, where discarded materials were the most accessible for the emerging designer. Since then, she has found ways to be innovative even if “life gave us lemo…um…trash.” 

Humorous and bold, she believes “limitations can enhance creativity and lead to new levels of freedom.” In other words, don’t look to the sky for the limits of sartorial inspiration – a path beyond may be in that pile of discards over there.

If you’re concerned about the climate crisis, waste not. While patchwork epitomizes upcycled fashion, Borbala’s silhouettes grant the scraps a ’90s twist. While some may complain about wearability, since when do the youth care about wearability? Kids these days wear trash like Shein, and Borbala, at a price point better than what most independent designers charge, proves that one human’s trash is, in fact, a stylish treasure trove.


Cult streetwear brand JUSTUDIOS is ready-to-wear for everyone on anyone at any time (now say that three times really fast). While most made-to-order brands are difficult to envision on a large-scale model, this unisex brand seems poised to roll over the competition. So what’s the logic behind the seams?

To us, the crowds that gathered around the show say it all. It would appear to be the overarching consensus – whether on the runway or coming off the ramp, JUSTUDIOS is picking up speed for a reason. 

In our current age of overwhelm, no-nonsense streetwear is a cultural refresh that makes more sense than ever. We never thought we would see the day, but here acid-bleached jeans are clean, minimalist, and, dare we say, something we would actually want to wear. 

Likewise, for cropped blazers and hoodies that have an edge. The painted skateboards accompanying some of this year’s looks add a sporting touch, not that they’re the main selling point. We support this label because, as their site notes: it’s not (fast) fashion. Turning tricks, its model might prove a (faster) antidote instead.


Call us style Vikings. Forget the raiding of the fashion closet in the Devil Wears Prada; we would much rather pillage from the hauls of Berlin & Helsinki based 7585. As an avant-garde and haute couture atelier, the label sources their fabrics from famous houses like Martin Margiela, A.F. Vandevorst, Dries Van Noten, Raf Simons, Ann Demeulemeester and Haider Ackermann. Although we would be content to hoard this raw material and bury it for safe-keeping, the label refines its cache into cutting-edge artisanal blazers, cyber-inspired hoodies, and gender-fluid minis. As if this wasn’t enough, several items also transform. From an architectural vest that can be worn as a skirt to an organza transformer with removable sleeves. Suitable for an era in which people are expected to be chameleons, nothing in your closet will work harder on a flexible, cross-discipline basis.

Day to night, ,,East” to ,,West.” In an industry where brands descend like sinking ships, 7585 shows no sign of losing momentum. The two lines running showcase the brand’s progressive framework. 7585 EAST is the wearable and limited edition capsule collection. At the same time, 7585 WEST specializes in one-of-a-kind garments set off perfectly with personally customized glamour. The artist platform also regularly collaborates to create more casual garments, proving they are the designers for all seasons. Consider us impressed with the way they’re steering their future.

Mai Niemi

Kauniainen-based Mai Niemi is known as Finland’s Fairy Godmother for a reason. The designer aims to combine “art, fashion, Feng Shui, global and local myths, Kalevala, fantasy, wellbeing, connection with nature and vibration technology” in her design. It pays off: the Nordic Paradise Collection debuted at Helsinki Fashion Week to considerable acclaim for its “wearable nature experience,” highlighting the mythical fables and spirits of Finland. 

While far more complex than the standard two-step process of waving a wand and observing results, this magical recipe is undeniably worthwhile. After all, was Cinderella’s dress sustainable and organically produced? We didn’t think so. Admittedly, it is simple to blame certain brands or industry practices. Brandishing a zero-waste technique and avoiding the hindrances of plastic and synthetic fiber, Mai Niemi is under no such illusions. Weaving feathers and textiles in an intricate display, Niemi understands saving the planet is no matter of witchcraft but taking responsibility into our own hands. 


We can envision critical assassin turned critical darling style maven Villanelle outclassing everyone in these maximalist updates to the Nordic minimalist uniform. Checkered rainbow sequins, white fringe and fraying tabs don’t seem like natural workwear. Still, the label has convinced us they are safe for the week and weekends due to modest necklines, long hemlines, and immaculately crisp finishing. Perfect for someone who is done hiding their true self, VIMMA proves the charming versatility of a former wild child who cleans up nicely for her court date. At No Kill, we will never underestimate the utility of a wild print when buttoned up with your hair pulled back. Provided that, like Villanelle, your job is on the more – how shall we say it – creative end.

The eternity clothing concept of woven, jacquard, and patterned fabrics testifies to original goodness. VIMMA has also set the record straight on the environmentally and socially minded front. Providing customers with seamless assurance, the brand operates by a ‘three-hour rule’ and always stays mindful that it takes a maximum of three hours to travel from the factory to the office. Cut and assembled within Finland, environmental and human rights are also aligned; the brand ensures it does not support crooked seams. Regardless, why get away with murder when you can get away with wearing what is effectively a rug to work? We would really like to cite our strong preference for the latter.

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