Posts tagged sustainablefashion
iluut - fashion with a cause

writer: Ona Rihu
Pictures: Elina Cerell, Iluut

iluut pink dress sustainable fashion

iluut is a transparent, ethical and mother earth friendly brand built by three strong women with a shared passion - to make a change.  Every piece of fabric is traceable, each factory they use is carefully selected and the clothes are made to last. The materials are mostly biodegradable, natural fibres that feel amazing on the skin. 
When I got contacted by Elina Cerell, founder, to do a photoshoot for iluut I was beyond excited. To be able to work for a brand that stands behind the same values is truly a luxury. Playing dress-up with beautiful sustainable clothes is like a special kind of heaven for me! Anyhow, over lunch Elina told me a little about her personal background and motivation behind the brand. That conversation really inspired me and I just had to see those words in writing so they could inspire other people as well. So, here's the story:

Where did you come up with the idea of creating a brand of your own?

 As a young child my mom always dressed me up very beautifully and her jewellery box was my favourite thing to explore. She's an aesthetician and I become one too. In my early twenties I loved to read catwalk magazines and fashion blogs because they were so full of visual inspiration. But at the same time I saw statistics about the other side of fashion industry: how polluting it is and how many workers suffered the bad working conditions. I started wondering if there could be another way of doing fashion business.

I've been blessed with a great work place, the best marketing agency in Finland (yes, it has been dominated as the best agency already twice in a row). Working there has taught me a lot! One of the biggest lessons has been that anything is doable if you just work hard finding a way to do it. I started thinking about it more and more, whether I could find likeminded people to create something sustainable for the women living in Europe. I made my first YouTube video with the help of my mom and husband. Then I bought a little targeted marketing for the video in the most appreciated European fashion cities. I shortly explained my dream and asked if anyone would love to join the project. I was amazed when super talented print designer Silvia, who has been creating designs for example for Zara, Kenzo (just to name a few) sent me an e-mail. She told me she loved designing prints but would love to do it in a different way. We started having Skype calls and brainstorming about our future sustainable brand. At the same time I went through hundreds of fashion design portfolios and was so lucky to find a newly graduate Vj living in London. Her sense of minimalistic style caught my attention. After our first Skype call to my surprise she sent me a moodboard of how our brand could look like. I was so happy! I knew I found my team and after having a little workshop in Portugal, we decided we should really do this together.

Then I faced the biggest tragedy in my life. Our eldest daughter, Amanda (the name means "loved"), died totally unexpectedly just two days before the due date. I was thinking how on earth could I continue living with empty arms and huge sorrow. One week after her death I told the girls about what happened and said I would love to do something beautiful that would honor her memory. We decided together to start the company and donate 5 % of each product's margin to a school that would be named after Amanda. That way the children in some developing country would receive a concrete action of love and our daughter's memory could live on in a such a beautiful way.

This is how iluut started. :) iluut by the way comes from the Finish word "tuuli" which means "wind", the wind of change that we would love to see in the fashion industry and how we all consume. The warm summer wind is blowing and we just launched our summer dress collection which is in pre-sale, limited time only. It ends on 16.5. Thank you for modelling for this photoshoot, we really truly loved working with you Ona! Dear reader, she looks stunning on the pictures, doesn't she?



can you tell me a little about the amanda school project?

Oh, sure I'd love to! <3 The school will be built in Ghana by the organisation called Pencils of Promise. I was so inspired by the book of the founder Adam Braun where he shared the story how the organisation was built! They work transparently and share quarterly reports how the donations are used. Also, I love how a professional photographer travels to their schools and shows in social media how the schools and students are doing.

Do you have any advice for someone who wants to become a conscious entrepreneur?

Do it together with other likeminded people because together we are stronger. Even tough consumer barometers state that people want to consume ethically, it doesn't show in the actual buying behaviour completely yet. BUT it's increasing all the time which makes me super happy! So the more people involved, the more people will hear about conscious choice and step by step the effect increases. We learned this when we did our first crowdfunding campaign at Indiegogo. Follow your vision and work hard for it.

sustainable fashion



And lastly, where do you find inspiration?

Such a great question! And my answer is pretty wide: EVERYWHERE!
My biggest inspiration at the moment is our one year old daughter. She is so full of joy and love! As a mother I would love to do my very best that we could live a better planet for her. Sounds a bit juicy, but it's so true. iluut is all about creating beautiful things consciously and that's something I would love to teach our daughter. I want to be a mom who leads by showing example. :)
It's funny but my brain seems to work in a visual mood all the time. Where ever I go, I always see the small beautiful things and often think how beautiful picture would be captured there and there... So it's super inspirational to walk in the nature, explore new cities, eat delicious ice cream, see people smiling, visit flower shops etc. And I know my team mates are exactly the same! It's so cool!
Also, last year I got to know an inspirational lady who quickly became a dear friend. Our children are the same age and as they take a nap, we take pictures. It's so great to design beautiful set ups and celebrate the beauty of life that way! Small beautiful things around us can create so much wellbeing for everyone and I think seeing people happy is worth of all effort.

thank you, elina <3
your story is an inspiration.


pictures: inlace media, pihla laine
writer:ona rihu

Clothes made out of nettle, raw silk and hemp, is it a thing? Oh yes it is! New age fashion designer Aino Kovalainen made it happen with her Finnish clothing brand Nokonen. Her brand is totally Mother Earth loving and ready to bring some spring to your closet. We got inspired by the beautiful colors and shapes of her clothes and decided to combine it with some vibrant spring tones from Zuii Organics on our faces. 

Read Aino's thoughts on sustainable fashion, working for yourself and feeling beautiful. 

Introduce yourself shortly, who is Aino Kovalainen?

I’m a 31-year-old artist soul with a side of diligence and getting things done. My family is from Kainuu, but I’ve spent my life moving around inside Finland and other countries while never really rooting myself in one place. Craftsmanship runs deep in my family. Ever since primary school I’ve felt a calling towards the textile- and clothing field. I’ve always had skills in that area and to this day it’s still the only line of business I’ve been interested in. I’ve always had a strange and lively imagination and that’s where I source a lot of my ideas from.

What’s your inspiration behind Nokonen?

I’ve dreamt of my own brand for over 10 years, and Nokonen is the result. I finally feel like I’m free to do what I want and work according to my own values. There are no limits or boundaries to my design or execution. I observe my surroundings and gather inspiring things into my mind and combine them into new innovations.

I often create patterns just by painting the canvas with whatever comes to mind and letting my paintbrush move freely. Whenever i feel the need for a certain type of garment I simply create one. The best ideas often come from “mistakes”. You need more than just inspiration to create a functional garment. Skill and knowledge about the production process, materials etc. are also very important factors. I’ve kept improving myself in these fields for ten years by studying and working in versatile tasks in design, manufacturing, sales and clothes maintenance.


Why is sustainability important to you? How does that show in your brand? 

Being environmentally friendly has always played a big role in my life. Ever since I was little I’ve been taught about the imporance of recycling, useful plants and respecting nature. Because of this background it’s been kind of obvious for me to build my brand according to these values. The whole production process of Nokonen is sustainable. I use ecological fabrics and aim to design clothes that are timeless and multi-use. 

Do you have any tips for someone who wants to pursue a sustainable career?

Educate yourself and never let go of your values. Being sustainable might not always be the cheapest or fastest way to go, but it’s all the more rewarding. I’ve noticed it’s difficult to stand behind your values while working for someone else since brands often have their own production process already figured out. That’s why I’m happy to be able to build a process that is true to my values.

How to be stylish while still respecting mother earth?

I think it’s pretty easy. There are new interesting and ecological materials being invented all the time. It doesn’t take much research from a consumer to find a more environmentally friendly option for fashion. Especially smaller brands often pay attention to ethical and sustainable factors. I think natural fibres like nettle, hemp, and banana fibers are a wonderfully luxurious and interesting choice of material. I don’t see why choose anything more harmful to the environment. 
I also like to to modify old clothes. Sometimes making something new out of something you already own is a better option than buying a new garment. This way you’ll get something unique to wear. You should always pay attention to the quality and material of a garment, whether you’re buying it new or used. High quality clothes are also easier to recycle or modify than low quality. 
Flea markets have unique and bold fashion. They’re a much better place to find clothes than low-quality production companies, but it’s good to remember to check the quality also when thrift shopping. Flea markets also encourage a certain type of mass consumerism,
because people tend to thing they can buy clothes with little consideration and sell them later if they have no use for it.

Lastly, what makes you feel beautiful?

I like to dress bold and stand out from the crowd. When I'm wearing something that looks and feels good, I feel confident and through that: beautiful. For Nokonen I also try to create so called power clothes. Clothes that make you feel good, confident and unique when you wear them. I think the fact that most of Nokonen’s clothes are unique will emphasise the feeling of individuality for the customer. Also fresh air, nature and enjoying what mother earth has to offer always makes you more beautiful!

natasha tonic - the swimwear revolution

sustainable fashion

writer: emma ranne
pictures: emma ranne


You know those dream like moments, where you can’t stop smiling because you feel like you're exactly at the right place, at the right time, in the right company?

I had this feeling when I found myself a 1-hour-drive away from Down Town LA sipping a cocktail at a tiny beach bar, while chatting about sustainable fashion with an incredibly inspiring soul at her favorite beach. 

I first came across Natasha’s work on Instagram and was soon captivated by the beautiful minimalistic style when it comes to her design. Soon we were planning a meeting via DMs as I was about to visit LA and eager to learn more about the sustainable fashion scene.

Natasha is the dreamer, designer and doer behind sustainable swimwear brand Natasha Tonić. Natasha’s swimwear launched in August 2017 with the intention to change women’s swimwear for the better, by shifting away from icky and sweaty polyester, that’s not only bad for your skin but also bad for our planet. The ultimately comfortable and soft swimmers of Natasha are made from a unique natural hemp fiber that is anti-microbial, UV resistant, durable and a healthier choice for your body.

How is it to work in the  sustainable fashion scene as a designer? Why is hemp fabric a great material for swimmers and how do you even come up with an idea like that? I'll let Natasha tell you more.

Natasha Tonic Sustainable Swimwear

Could you please introduce yourself shortly?

I’m Natasha, I’m from Belgrade, Serbia but I’m half Croatian.  These days I live in LA and since summer 2017 I’ve been working on my sustainable swimwear line Natasha Tonić.


what inspired you to start your business?

I wanted to create something that’s not polluting our skin, as we wear our swimwear so close to our body. I also wanted it to be something that you could wear more than just for one season.

Swimwear has been made out of polyester for a long time, but I always believed it would be possible to use a natural fiber instead.  When I  was still working for my previous brand I ran into hemp fabric. I learned how durable hemp is as a material. If you think about it, they make ropes to tie the boat with from hemp. If it can keep the boat from escaping with the waves of the ocean, than why can’t it survive being a bikini?

Later I was working with this fabric blend from organic cotton, hemp and four precent lycra. When working with it, I always wondered whether that could survive in the ocean. Then I had a kid and had time to research it. I really tried it out: I swam, didn’t rinse it and hung it out in the sun to dry. I put it in chlorine water. I tested for quite some time but it became clear to me that this blend worked better in swimming conditions, than polyester which I used to wear in the past.


did you always want to become an entrepeneur?

From when I was a little kid I wanted to become a designer, but being in Serbia everybody thought that was crazy.  Everyone was like ’’how are you gonna do that?’’, and so I gave up on the idea. But it was still something I always wanted to do.  My father was an entrepreneur so I kinda grew into that idea of doing your own work and figuring out your own thing to find your own spot in this world. Eventually I just decided to do what I had always wanted to do. I picked the best out of all of it and put it together.


What does a typical work day look like for you?

It’s amazing (bursts out in laughing). A typical work day for me is to wake up and drive to work. Sometimes I go by bicycle (I try to do more of that) and I just listen to the most amazing music. I love the indie music scene and to discover new tunes. When I get to work after I’ve obviously got a coffee, I just work with no music and organize what I need to do during the day. I don't always stick to the plan as that doesn't fit my nature but I just make sure I finish everything that I had in mind. Sometimes I don’t, but it’s fine. If I'm doing creative work and designing I need a 100% focus just on that. If I do marketing I just focus on that. Or than I work on the sales. I can’t do it all at the same time. I’m either creative or business and there’s no in between. When I create I just create and don't think of any mails or such, and if I do business I’m a 100% business and zero creative.


Sustainable swimwear fashion | California

What is it like to work in sustainable fashion? What does it mean to you?

I think it’s great because the sustainable fashion scene draws you to be even more sustainable. You know right now we’re doing an interview and drinking from plastic straws, which you know is not sustainable at all.  Being in the scene makes you more conscious and aware of these things. It also gives you more feelings of guilt, but it’s ok as it’s a part of it. I think people should just try to do the best that they can. I think we shouldn’t feel guilty of the tings we sometimes do here and there as sometimes we can’t even fully control it ourselves. It’s almost impossible in this world to be 100% sustainable so it’s about the idea of just trying to do the best you can. If everyone in the world did their best or even a little bit, it could make a huge change and that’s what my message is about.

But back to the fashion scene. When you're working in the sustainable fashion scene you get inspired by each other. You understand that in the end of the day it’s not about competition. It’s about really changing the things in the world for the better. It’s nice to to see what other people are doing, and to feel like the other’s are interested and value the same tings as you do in their work. 

Still the business side comes in, but that’s not what I stand for. I don't want to be the ugly side of the fashion scene which I feel like is unnecessary. Fashion is supposed to be this beautiful creative thing, instead of an ugly game. That’s what I like about the sustainable fashion scene. People being pure and honest, and there’s this collaborative spirit.


Could you tell us a little more about hemp as a material.
What makes it special and how did you come across it?

I came across hemp by accident. I was just researching things. As I’m half Croatian I’ve always been around the boats and the ropes that tie the boats to the shore, and I remember wondering what the strong ropes were made out of . When in LA I ran into this amazing place that sold hemp based fabric and ropes. And from there the idea just started to develop in my head.

I later learned that hemp is besides being super durable also UV resistant. I knew it would survive in the sea, but I didn't know how it would work in chlorine but it did. 

In the fabric used for my swimwear the hemp is mixed with organic cotton. Cotton is not durable in water on its own, but for some reason in this mix it worked out really well. The fabric feels soft on the body but yet it’s very durable. 

I was scared to sell something that wouldn't really work, so I put a lot of work in the development. What I loved the most about this blend was it was natural, and I always think natural is better. I never liked polyester, because it makes you sweat and attracts bacteria. It is just bad and uncomfortable. 

So all together it made sense. I felt it was a tiny miracle that I had found.


Besides loving the thought behind your brand I also really love the visual aspects of it.
What sparks the inspiration for your designs?

I always like to think about practicality in my designs. I also want my pieces to be good for the nature. Something that has always been inspiring me is the timeless look of Calvin Klein back in the 90s. You know the time of  Kate Moss. Already as a kid I was inspired by how it was all about the shapes, the simplicity and the practicality of the clothing. That’s why the style still stands the time.  

In my designs for Natasha Tonic it was all about the clean lines and the shapes and that simple connection to the nature. I wanted to make it different (as most opt for the 70s style) and I chose cool tones like pale blue and black instead of those warm golden tones which are very typical for California.

You can wear the swimwear with so may different clothes and it’s easy to just pull out of the closet and combine. My vision is that you can travel and wear the swimsuit on the airplane with a pair of trousers, then you go straight to the beach and you’re ready for a dip in the ocean.  After the beach there’s yoga and you can still wear it. It would work like a body suit that you can simply combine with a pair of shorts. I love the functionality of it ,which is possible since it is made out of hemp fabric.


Any tips for someone dreaming of shifting their career towards sustainable fashion design?

My tip is that you should want to do it for the right reasons. That will keep you going. It is way more challenging than regular fashion design. Every step counts and there are many people that still don’t believe in it. Don’t give up on the first challenges. Don’t get discouraged. Do a lot of research, try to educate yourself as much as you can. And just don’t stop.


check out natasha's amazing work at:


thrifting 101

Thrift shopping is one of the best ways to get creative with your style on a budget. You’ll be guaranteed with a unique look, clear conscience and a happy wallet! Here’s our top tips for a successful thrift trip.

1. go to more than one shop

If you only go to one thrift shop, you’ll more likely feel like you need  to buy something to make up for the fact that you came all the way to the thrift shop. Besides, you’ll double your chances of finding something amazing if you go see more than one selection.

2. Set your mindset

It’s important not to set your expectations to the roof. Life isn’t perfect, you won’t always find the perfect piece and you have to be okay with that. Otherwise you might settle for something less than perfect that you probably won’t even wear. 

3. Standards

Now, expectations and standards are a whole different game. You shouldn’t settle for anything that’s low-quality. Always check for holes and stains, and don’t forget to try it on! If try-ons are not possible, you can also carry a measuring tape with you.

4. Visualize

If you find something groovy you’re unsure of, just try to mix and match it with pieces that you already own in your mind. Is it really wearable? Where can you see yourself wearing it? Second hand shopping is great for events and festivals because you can just donate the piece back if you’re not going to wear it twice. Here you can really let your creativity take control and not have to worry about anything else! 

5. Have fun with it

Thrift shopping, as anything in life should be fun! Don’t get too serious with it. You’re already doing a major favour to our planet by choosing to recycle, so you should feel pretty good about yourself. Bring your friends, have crazy try-ons and enjoy yourselves! You can make a vintage moodboard for inspiration or have a challenge for the grooviest outfit combinations with your friends. Get creative!

second hand fashion finds from Helsinki