Amelia’s Magazine | R/H Label, fashion design from Finland: meet Hanna Riiheläinen and Emilia Hernesniemi

Hanna Riiheläinen and Emilia Hernesniemi RH Label
Hanna Riiheläinen and Emilia Hernesniemi of R/H Label.

I met Hanna Riiheläinen and Emilia Hernesniemi of R/H Label on my trip to Moscow, click where they came by train (very jealous) to pitch their brand to a panel of experts for feedback, website of which *ahem* I was one. The girls studied together for six years at the University of Art & Design Helsinki, and have forged a strong partnership which made them a delight to hang out with during my stay in Russia and I was utterly charmed by their playful style, for which they are the best ambassadors. In the first of two blog posts here’s a summary of what R/H Label are up to.

RH Label by Fawn Carr
RH Label by Fawn Carr.

R/H Label was named for a combination of the girls’ surnames, and was founded only last June in Helsinki after being in the planning for way longer, both girls having studied and worked in fashion at home and abroad after graduation – I actually met Emilia a few years ago when I borrowed clothes from Agency V, where she worked as a PR. Small world eh? They took this time in the industry to learn about the commercial sides of the business and analysed what they could do best when starting their own label: clever girls. It is no surprise that their designs perfectly encapsulate the Agency V aesthetic; playful, colourful, printed. All good things in my book!

RH Label by June Chanpoomidole
RH Label by June Chanpoomidole.

Whilst the Finnish design scene is strong on the international stage, the fashion scene is something new, and so for them indigenous inspiration comes from the likes of well known furniture designers Alvar Aalto and textiles supremo Marimekko who mainly produces textiles for the home. IVANNAhelsinki is one of the only major Finnish fashion designers to have a profile abroad, as well as Laitinen menswear which has a high profile in Milan and Paris.

Hanna Riiheläinen of R/H Label in Moscow
Hanna Riiheläinen of R/H Label in Moscow.

But now is an exciting time because there is a new generation of creatives coming through. Ones to check out include fashion photographer Susanna Majuri and Helsinki based illustrator Laura Laine. Emilia and Hanna work with creatives across lots of disciplines and are inspired by Finland’s location between the east and west – a place where different visual aesthetics easily meet and mingle. Functional solutions come over from Sweden, but there is plenty of rich decorative detail to play with from the eastern side.

RH Label SS 2011 blue dressRH Label SS 2011 jacket leggings dahlia
R/H Label S/S 2011.

RH Label SS 2011 by Michalis Christodoulou
R/H Label SS 2011 by Michalis Christodoulou.

S/S 2011 was R/H Label’s first commercial collection, inspired by Dolly Parton, Mickey Mouse, Black Magic and the Nordic Summer Sky. You don’t get much more fun than that! It features a mix of local reindeer leather and bamboo jersey and all the bespoke prints were digitally printed onto silk – they like to create every element of the collection. I particularly love the purple sky and dotty dahlia prints, and was thoroughly enamoured of their ceramic eyeball necklace, created in collaboration with a local ceramics studio.

RH Label AW 2011
R/H Label A/W 2011.

RH Label AW 2011 by Michalis ChristodoulouRH Label AW 2011 by Michalis Christodoulou
R/H Label AW 2011 by Michalis Christodoulou.

For A/W 2011 they were inspired by Dragons, Mountains, Acrobats and Vagabonds. Another rich inspirational mash up! Role models that helped to inspire the collection included the strong character of Stieg Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander, and Finnish author Sofi Oksanen. Lots of black is offset again with bright prints in louche easily wearable shapes.

RH Label AW 2011 coat
R/H Label A/W 2011

Production is mainly done in Tallinn, Estonia which is 80km away, but the reindeer bags are made in Helsinki and they are keen to do more with local materials. Interest in the collection has been quick and enthusiastic and as well as stocking at home in Finland they already have stockists in Berlin, Vienna and New York. Naturally Agency V has been looking after press, which is also going pretty darn well for such a new label.

RH Label AW 2011 jumpsuit
R/H Label A/W 2011

Now they just need to figure out a way to grow the brand organically whilst retaining their creative control… it’s all about achieving that balance, which is why they came to Moscow for advice. In my next blog Hanna and Emilia answer a few questions. In the meantime take a browse around the R/H Label website and R/H Label online shop. Let’s hope they find stockists in the UK soon.

Emilia Hernesniemi RH Label
Emilia Hernesniemi of R/H Label talking to Michael Salac of Blow PR.

Categories ,A/W 2011, ,Acrobats, ,Agency V, ,Alvar Aalto, ,berlin, ,Black Magic, ,Blow PR, ,ceramic, ,colourful, ,Dolly Parton, ,Dragons, ,Emilia Hernesniemi, ,Estonia, ,Eyeball Necklace, ,Fawn Carr, ,finland, ,FInnish, ,Helsinki, ,IVANNAhelsinki, ,June Chanpoomidole, ,Laitinen, ,Laura Laine, ,Lisbeth Salander, ,Marimekko, ,Michael Salac, ,Michalis Christodoulou, ,Mickey Mouse, ,Mountains, ,Nordic Summer Sky, ,pr, ,prints, ,R/H Label, ,Reindeer Leather, ,Riiheläinen, ,S/S 2011, ,Silk, ,Sofi Oksanen, ,Stieg Larsson, ,Susanna Majuri, ,Tallinn, ,University of Art & Design Helsinki, ,Vagabonds, ,Vienna, ,Womenswear

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Amelia’s Magazine | Brooke Roberts: New S/S 2012 Season Interview

Brooke Roberts by Cathryn Nicholson
Brooke Roberts by Cathryn Nicholson.

We first spoke with fashion knitwear designer Brooke Roberts back in 2009. Here she talks about the inspirations behind her new S/S 2012 collection, which was launched with a spectacular dance presentation at The Hospital Club in September.

Brooke Roberts S/S 2012
Brooke Roberts S/S 2012.

We first interviewed you two years ago – what has changed since then? Are you still working part time as a radiographer and if so how are you juggling everything?
It’s busier than ever! I’ve been stocked at Browns Focus for three seasons, and I’m consulting for a menswear label, while running my label and working part-time as a radiographer. It’s seven days a week at the moment!

Brooke Roberts S/S 2012 by Antonia Parker.

Your collections are created in Italy from the best fabrics – what kind of exciting yarns can you tell us about in the new collection, and what are their properties?
I’ve been experimenting with bio-ceramic yarns, which have metabolic and body temperature regulating properties. I’ve also been using retro-reflective yarns, which are a wool base with microscopic glass beads bonded to the surface. I mix these with luxury yarns like extra-fine merino, cashmere and silk for a techno-luxe effect. All of my knits are unique programmes, so mixing the yarns with the programmes allows me to create really personal and innovative fabrics.

Brooke Roberts S/S 2012. Photo by Akeela Bhattay
Brooke Roberts S/S 2012. Photo by Akeela Bhattay
Brooke Roberts S/S 2012. Photography by Akeela Bhattay.

Why did you make the move from science into fashion. What do you miss about that world and what do you not miss at all?! Why did you decide that fashion was more important to you than radiography?
Being a radiographer means you lack autonomy in your work. I find that difficult. The medical images I create are incredibly detailed and textural, and inspire the fabrics I create. I think my science degree has given me a unique perspective on technology and design. I’m not the kind of designer who starts a collection by researching fashion history and other designers previous collections. I develop my ideas through interpreting medical images, creating digital knit programs and yarn experimentation. I then use fashion references to develop silhouettes. Fashion allows me to express my perspective on science and design. I find the two to be harmonious. 

Brooke Roberts medical inspired knitwear- Veronica Rowlands
Brooke Roberts medical inspired knitwear by Veronica Rowlands.

Why is it important to combine the science and the arts?
Combining the two enhances the understanding and interest in each field. They are inextricably linked. Science gives us the ability to understand and explain the world around us. That is powerful knowledge that can be applied creatively. A great example is the Wellcome Collection and Wellcome Trust, which funds art projects with a basis in biomedical science. Electroboutique at the Science Museum is another great example. 

Brooke Roberts S/S 2012. Photo by Akeela Bhattay
Brooke Roberts S/S 2012. Photo by Akeela Bhattay
What science journals, fashion and music blogs do you recommend for a bit of inspiration?
Science and technology – Wired, New Scientist, the RSNA’s Radiology journal, Suzie Sheehy‘s blog ‘high heels in the lab‘, Google! I love looking up strange materials and gadgets on the net to develop ideas for my collections. Fashion – Vogue Italia, Stylebubble, Dazed Digital, ShowSTUDIO. Music – I’m a big Radio 6 fan – not so much a music blog reader. 

Brooke Roberts S/S 2012. Photo by Akeela Bhattay
For your S/S 2012 collection you put on a dance performance in collaboration with Riccardo Buscarini at the Hospital Club which I was sadly unable to attend. What prompted this idea and what was the best part of the performance?
This idea came out of a video of a knitting machine made entirely of lego, which I found on Youtube. Riccardo Buscarini choreographed the piece from this, and Elspeth Brooke composed the score, which she and I recorded at one of the hospitals I work at. I operated the x-ray machines and she recorded the sound. The collection was a commentary on woman and machine, and encorporated high-tech Italian industrial knitting techniques with hand knit, crochet and hand-lacing. 

Brooke Roberts S/S 2012. Photo by Akeela Bhattay
The current collection is for sale in Browns Focus (including some collaborative accessories with Eye of the World), how is that doing and do you have any more plans for new stockists or designer collaborations?
The collection looks great. I’ve seen it in store and one of the styles has already sold out, so that’s great. I just returned from New York where I visited three retailers – more on that next season! I am hoping to work with Riccardo and Elspeth again, and looking forward to seeing what we can create next season. 

Brooke Roberts S/S 2012. Look book image
Brooke Roberts S/S 2012. Look book image.

What is your muse for the new collection? Any sneak ideas of what to expect, and can we expect anymore exciting shows?
I don’t have a muse. Next season will be a textural delight. Technical cables, geometry and luxury. The rest is top secret.

We can’t wait to see what Brooke Roberts does next season! Catch up with our previous interview with Brooke Roberts in 2009 here and here.

Categories ,Akeela Bhattay, ,Antonia Parker, ,Bianca Wendt, ,Brooke Roberts, ,Browns Focus, ,Cathryn Nicholson, ,Dazed Digital, ,Electroboutique, ,Elspeth Brooke, ,fashion, ,High Heels in the Lab, ,Hospital Club, ,New Scientist, ,Radio 6, ,Radiographer, ,Radiology Journal, ,Riccardo Buscarini, ,RSNA, ,S/S 2012, ,science, ,Science Museum, ,Showstudio, ,stylebubble, ,Suzie Sheehy, ,Veronica Rowlands, ,Vogue Italia, ,Wellcome Collection, ,Wellcome Trust, ,Wired

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Amelia’s Magazine | Competition: Ada Zanditon for Ingle and Rhode to celebrate the launch of Fairtrade Gold

Ada Zanditon Ingle and Rhode necklace by Fi blog
Ada Zanditon Ingle & Rhode necklace by Fi Blog.

You might remember that Fairtrade Gold launched earlier this year, seek a fact which I wrote about in my pre-LFW interview with the talented Ada Zanditon. I also mentioned that she had done a beautiful bespoke necklace for ethical jewellers Ingle & Rhode to celebrate the launch of Fairtrade and Fairmined Gold, health which will hopefully ensure more socially and environmentally fair practice in the mining industry.

Ada Zanditon Ingle and Rhode necklace by Fi blog
Ada Zanditon Ingle and Rhode necklace by Fi Blog.

The necklace is designed in Ada’s inimitable way, the boldly futuristic shape inspired by the formation of origami and emblematic of a ‘brighter future’ for the people who mined the gold that it is made of.

Ingle and Rhode Ada Zanditon pendant
Ingle and Rhode Ada Zanditon pendant

To win one of these beautiful necklaces – made from the very first batch of Fairtrade and Fairmined Gold to arrive in this country and worth over £3000 – hop on over to the competition now running on Vogue. But you’re going to have to be quick – the competition closes TOMORROW.

Watch how the necklace was made here:

To be honest I’m not really sure why I’m telling my readers about this, because I really want it for myself. Isn’t it gorgeous?!

Categories ,Ada Zanditon, ,Fairmined, ,fairtrade, ,Fi Blog, ,Futuristic, ,Gold, ,Ingle & Rhode, ,jewellery, ,Necklace, ,origami, ,Pendant, ,vogue

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