Less is more. This saying by world-famous Mies van der Rohe has been put to practice in Estonia more fully than anywhere else in the world.
Although some Nordic designers still try to convince us that more is more, pure Scandinavian contours and colours will have always a place in our hearts. Several contemporary Estonian designers have taken minimalism which has been in fashion since the 90s to a whole new level and are proving that there is nothing boring or vane in minimalism.
For them, minimalism does not mean just fewer things. Minimalism means fewer, but very high-quality things. Eco-friendly materials, multi-seasonal designs and the focus on high-quality sewing work are the values that these brands bear. These designers do not see fashion as the current symbol of wealth, but as a symbol of values.
Piret Ilves – Estonian guru of minimalism
Fashion designer Piret Ilves founded her own brand and fashion house ten years ago – at a time when minimalism was an exception rather than rule in Estonian fashion. Her success has inspired many other designers to return to this style that is so natural for the Nordic people – and it’s largely thanks to Piret Ilves that minimalism is so alive and kicking in Estonia.
Her collections mix the cool and carefree approach of West European culture capitals with the Japanese pure and strict contours. Her dresses and coats have been catching the eyes in offices, cocktail parties and receptions; this spring she added to her collection the first leisure sweater and promises more surprises.
In 2015 her comprehensive and thoroughly minimalist collections brought Piret Ilves her Golden Needle, Estonia’s most important fashion award.
Her creations are on sale at her fashion house in the Old Town (Rüütli 16) and in WAB store in the Forum Shopping Center.
Her light grey and pale green sweater can easily be combined with everyday more formal wear.
August – Elegant casual clothing meets haute couture
Young fashion designer Äli Kargoja is the person behind August, a brand created four years ago that immediately attracted interest of European fashion fans. Äli is a graduate of prestigious Studio Berçot in Paris who has better than anyone else found the balance between masculine and feminine fashion.
Fans of the Capsule brand could easily compile their seasonal wardrobe with only one of her collections which offer everything from elegant Sunday brunch costumes to everyday casual chic trousers and blouses.
At the same time the minimalistic collections of August are extremely trend-conscious. The fashion designer himself characterizes her creations as natural, functional, and fresh. The fabrics include organic cotton and poplin and lightweight bamboo silk as well as linen, this summer’s material of choice.
The spring collection of August has pure Nordic colour palette, ranging from multilayer black to light. Forest green and light blue add colour to a great combination of elegant leisure and high-quality clothing.
August collections can be seen in the brand new studio at Fahle House (Tartu maantee 84a) and in Tali design stores. The studio can only be visited by prior arrangement at email@example.com.
What makes August attractive are its attractive ascetic forms, high-quality textiles and slow-fashion principles.
Varkki – Refined vanity in our everyday life
Jaana Varkki founded her women’s clothing brand nine years ago, after a successful ten-year career of designing fashion for men. Jaana Varkki creates fashion for independent and creative persons who respect both themselves and time, who dare and want to stand out among the crowd. Varkki is a borderline between high couture and mass fashion. It combines the artist’s attitude and unique creativity with the know-how of large-scale industry. This creates harmony between wearability and crossover design ideas. These are limited collections with the distinct designer’s handwriting, expressed in the game with details and lines.
Varkki is a classic representative of slow fashion – in a year, the designer creates usually one full collection which can be worn even for ten years. In the Nordic climate, the fashion designer pays less attention to seasons and more on how to combine the garments and use them in layers so that they can be worn all year round.
Varkki’s collections look completely urban, and at the same time undeniably sexy.
Varkki’s creations are on sale in a brand new studio store opened in Telliskivi creative city in the middle of May and in the Tali design store.
Studio Nahk – Minimalist form, clean silhouette
Stuudio Nahk is a brand of leather accessories in minimalist style created by Karin Kallas and Erik Past in 2012. They design bags and other accessories for modern women who have an individual style, but also love comfort and practical beauty. Minimalist forms, refined proportions, details and contrasting materials reflect contemporary uniqueness and timeless elegance.
The collection of Stuudio Nahk includes bags for city life, larger bags for work, travel accessories, and small shoulder bags suitable for evening rendezvous. All bags are made by local craftsmen from carefully selected Italian and Spanish leather.
Stuudio Nahk Studio & Showroom is located in the Tallinn Old Town at Müürivahe 17-1.
Photo: In addition to bags in different shapes and sizes, this spring’s collection includes shoulder straps to match the accessory with the mood.
In the colour palette, this season’s must is undeniably white. Other colours worth mentioning are mild pink, classical beige and, in limited quantities, unexpected metallic.
Guild – rebellious perfectionists
The three men behind the core brand are Joan Hint, Sten Karik and Peep Vähi. Former T-shirts designers, they also designed the dress that stole the reception hosted by the President of Estonia, creating excitement even in the editorial departments of Elle and Vogue.
The trio wears their own designer clothes and turns heads in the streets, but their mission is to dress well also others.
They themselves are so noticeable and colourful that at first glance one could not label them as minimalist – but there is no doubt that their collections are minimalistic, allowing their wearers to stand out among minimalism and perfect lines.
The reference to the Medieval Times is no coincidence, as the company has taken over the work philosophy from this era, ie that before selling the product its creator must be convinced that it is perfect. Guild’s creations can be found in a brand-new studio store in Tallinn Old Town at the corner of Lai and Vaimu streets.