Neat fact: Helsinki cares a lot about sustainability. The self-care of a sauna built into daily life as a must-do ritual, the network of trams and bike lanes that means only 22% of residents travel by car, and the robust sustainability program at the University of Helsinki creates a little (cold and often dark, but charming) utopia.
And that extends to fashion as well. I was there last summer to visit an innovative textile lab. But when I arrived, a super smart and plugged-in young woman hit me up for a meal. After we were done discussing complex issues of sustainable fashion manufacturing she said something that made me pause and ask, “How old are you?”
17 years old. The girl hadn’t even left for college yet. Talk about being a precocious fashion activist!
She was kind enough to walk me around to the best sustainable fashion shops after lunch. So let me share them with you here:
The Pure Waste brand sorts pre-consumer textile waste by color (to skip the dying process) and turned into 100% recycled sweaters, t-shirts, and sweatshirts. It shares this space with Costo, a hat brand with fun, colorful pom poms made locally in Finland and Estonia from European surplus furniture fabrics. You can also find bow ties, backpacks and laptop cases in this minimalist store.
This fun store carriesFinnish and international eco-friendly brands like Armed Angels, Kings of Indigo, Dick Moby, and EcoAlf, along with makeup from RMS, Schmidt’s deodorant, and Woron underwear. There’s even elk leather purses from Finland. It has a cute little café too.
A close walk from the train station, this store carries almost all Finnish design, with fashion, homewares, and gifts with a whimsical, minimalist forest vibe. It’s a great place to get authentic souvenirs your loved ones will actually enjoy.