cult designer heikki salonen revives his label
Heikki Salonen was one of fashion's brightest talents until he discontinued his eponymous label in 2012. Now the Finnish designer presents his first eponymous collection in three years.
A graduate of London's Royal College of Art and Fashion East, Heikki Salonen's distinctive deconstructed aesthetic gained him critical acclaim and an International Talent Support Design Award in 2008. His early shows with Fashion East saw then unknowns Edie Campbell and Cara Delevingne take to his catwalk, before he closed his label down in 2012 to work for two other fashion houses. Now, Salonen has partnered with East London boutique Hostem to present Deadstock, a revival of his label, this time featuring both mens and womenswear. Each garment is made using deadstock fabrics taken from his former collections. The seven piece collection is all finished by hand and is indicative of the finesse of the Finnish designer. Speaking exclusively to i-D, we find out what Heikki has been up to since 2012 and why he felt the need to make a comeback with Hostem...
What have you been up to since you closed your label in 2012?
Mainly working as Design Director for other bigger labels and working on some smaller interesting side projects.
How has the industry changed since you launched your label in 2009?
When I started it was the year of the credit crunch. It was tough, though I'm not saying that it's any easier now… But I think that was the moment when most of the brands and buyers started to play it safe. It has been sad to see great things come and go way too soon… But everybody is slowly starting to recover from that now, doing things that are not for necessarily for everyone.
How did designing for other houses compare to having your own label?
The task is set by me when I'm doing my own label, and when working for others it's set by them. It is not that different, but of course I'm way more of a purist and hands on with pattern cutting and that side of things with my own labels. Mainly it is the structure and money that is different. But when I do something I really throw myself into it, I'm there 100 percent, whether it is my own or someone else's brand.
What other designers do you admire in fashion?
Any designers that follow their own path, make desirable products that appeal to people they appreciate and at the same time create a more abstract image and vision around it.
What is the thinking behind Deadstock?
The idea was to do a new collection with new ideas but using the fabrics, shapes, prints and ideas from our previous collections, merge these together and create a new collection that isn't pastiche or nostalgic in any way. It was so great to do Deadstock with Hostem they supported the idea from the very first moment, they were so open to any suggestion that we had. We wanted to do a range of pieces for everyone, men and women, teenagers and pensioners -- it's about style and attitude.
What is your favourite piece from Deadstock?
I don't pick favourites as such… but I have never done woven sock-boots before and I'm quite happy how they turned out. They are a real marriage of vanity and necessity. I also like the simple linen sack fabric hoodie.
What are your plans for the future?
Keep on working with nice talented people and hopefully produce something that other people can relate to.
Text Lynette Nylander
Photography Johanna Laitanen
Styling Anna Pesonen