Maria Suomalainen


Maria Suomalainen was this year’s third place winner in the Designers’ Nest Competition in Copenhagen—a rightfully earned title, as her work demanded the attention of not only the judges, but onlookers and competing designers as well.

Having received her Bachelor’s degree from the Aalto University School of Arts, Design, and Architecture, Suomalainen has transformed her raw talent into statement art and striking found the perfect balance between weight, shape, and color. The juxtaposition of exotic shape, and controlled movement of her pieces effortlessly combine a calm, neutral palette with refreshing twists on staple dresses, jackets and two-piece sets. At just twenty-six, Suomalainen currently resides in France working as an Intern Design Assistant at prestigious fashion house, Lanvin.

Her collection shown in Copenhagen reflects the daring attitude Suomalainen possesses. Her understanding of basic technique allows her to create clothing that can be worn comfortably, yet disturbs the ideas of common style. Although Suomalainen draws her inspiration from darker artists such as Asger Carlsen, and Michaël Borremans, she creates pieces that are full of life and finds it most intriguing to see how differently other people can perceive her garments. Before her success competing in Copenhagen, she was stirring up conversation at Stockholm’s Fashion Week. Her collections displayed there brought fresh flavor and noteworthy talent to the show. Suomalainen finds her latest collection afforded her the opportunity to refine her own skills and aesthetic. By looking back on past work, and doing some thorough research, she was able to create a clear evolution through her collections.

Though Suomalainen has only given us a small taste of her talent and capabilities, her work up to this point has been an alluring introduction for what we can only assume will be even more scintillating work to come. As she continues to develop her brand, Maria Suomalainen promises to be someone worthy of our attention.

Text by Kendal McInnis
Photograph by Sara Riikonen