Knit Owls

Flipping through pics of all the fabulous designs from New York Fashion Week, my eyes focused in on these whimsical knit owl hats. The knit hats are by designer James Coviello and were featured in Anna Sui’s Fall 2012 collection. Besides the bold colors and the smiling models, the hats added a bit of fun to the whole look. (Also see the knit owl gloves in the first pic). Who thought knit hats could be so cool? To see Ms. Sui’s full collection, go here (same source for all pics).

Knit Chair


From the first time I ran across this Knit Chair by Claire-Ann O’Brien, I fell in love with it and her designs. I love the way she takes the knit stitch puts it under a magnifying glass and makes it functional as well as engaging to look at. Design Milk just ran an article on her knit stools. You can also see her work on her website and blog.

{Knit Chair from her website}

Finnish Design

One of the threads that runs through Helsinki is the notion of embedding design in life. Perhaps that’s why it was named the 2012 World Design Capital. Of course, I was drawn to anything having to do with knitting or yarn or weaving. These are a few of the designers I was introduced to at the Design Forum Shop in the Helsinki Design District.

Odd Couture

Odd Couture is a collection of clothing by the designer label Poola Kataryna. I had a close-up view of the garment below but in black and while I initially thought it was knitted, it actually looked knotted together like a macramé plant hanger. It had that hippie look to it but still very modern. According to the designer’s website, the items are made from 100% cotton jersey from textile industry leftovers. All items are handmade in Helsinki.


I Know Why No

I Know Why No is a collection designed by Aino Vainio, a 2007 graduate of the School of Art and Design at Aalto University in Helsinki. According to the I Know Why No website, all items are hand knitted and one-of-a-kind.


Studio Jaffe

From Studio Jaffe, there were incredibly soft mohair wraps and shawls. According to the website, Marjo Jaffe-Pelkonen, the designer, weaves many of her items on a loom.


Globe Hope

Another theme throughout Finnish design is sustainability. One design store that focuses exclusively on recycling everyday items into unique clothing and other accessories is Globe Hope. Globe Hope’s products can be found at the Design Forum and at their own storefront on Mannerheimintie.

Tag from wool hat made from an old army surplus scarf.


Last but not least is Neroko, whose design team creates items for man’s best friend. I liked these chew toys – only for very special dogs!


To see many more designs from porcelain to clothing to dinnerware, visit the Finnish Design Shop online. Follow this link to see why Helsinki was named the 2012 World Design Capital.

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Johanna Gullichsen Textiles

One of our must-stops while in Helsinki was the Johanna Gullichsen design studio. Located in the Helsinki Design District, (they have another store in Paris), the storefront features table linens, bags, and pillow covers made out of the artist’s bold and geometric woven textiles. The second room contains bolts and bolts of her wonderful fabrics. They are available for purchase for furniture upholstery and there were several chairs in the studio covered in them. While we were there, the designer was in consultation with a client so we did not get an opportunity to speak with her. Nonetheless, we did revel in the various textiles.

The bold geometric design of this bag caught my attention. I love the way the pattern gives the illusion of rolling waves, like looking at a mirage of water on a hot pavement. The bag is large with a nice wide bottom and can be worn over the shoulder or cross-body.

Tetra sack in Doris black fabric with orange strap, 100% cotton. The Doris pattern is also available in blue and bordeaux.
Tetra sack close-up of geometric pattern.

The iPad sleeve was a relatively new product. The colors were particularly attractive and the simple row design keeps it balanced. The sleeve has an inner fabric fold and a velcro closure to keep the iPad safely tucked inside.

Multicolor iPad sleeve.
iPad sleeve with iPad inside (not included).

We picked up a few of these catch-all bags for cosmetics or to corral chords for electronic devices.

Small bags in Nereus black fabric, 100% cotton. The Nereus fabric is also available in blue and bordeaux.

For more about Johanna Gullichsen, read her biography on her website.

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Stella Design

While I perused the rest of the Icelandic Contemporary Design exhibit, I couldn’t help but smile at these fun and whimsical drinking glasses. All the people pictured on them seemed so cheery. I particularly liked the one of the grandmother (I presume) knitting with a big ball of red yarn at her feet. I did a little research and discovered that the glasses were designed by the studio of Stella Design. Stella Design is a young studio established in 2005 by Dagný Kristjansdottir, a multimedia designer, and Ingibjörg Hanna Bjarnadottir, a graphic designer. The glasses are part of a collection they call “My Family” which was “created to brighten up the mundane domestic life.” In my opinion, they succeeded! To learn more about Stella Design and see more adorable pictures of the “My Family” collection, go here.