Nurmi – Sustainable Style from Finland

Goodlifer: Nurmi - Sustainable Style from Finland

Nurmi is a Finnish sustainable clothing label that wants to “bring back the times when both the quality and the design of clothes were meant to last.” Anniina Nurmi, who hails from Tampere in the north on Finland, decided to start the company after completing a fashion design degree at Lahti Institute of Design and working for a large Finnish clothing company for four years.

Nurmi believes in creating things that will last a long time, and for that reason does not do seasonal collections that quickly go out of style. Instead of producing large quantities, as is the norm, garments are made in smaller production runs, thereby reducing waste. The label uses materials like organic cotton, hemp, recycled (deadstock) fabric and e-leather, which is made from a waste by-product of the leather industry that is normally sent to landfill.

Goodlifer: Nurmi - Sustainable Style from Finland

I caught up with Anniina to find out a bit more about her design and sustainability philosophy, the challenges in starting a company and the influence of Finnish design.

What motivated you to start your own label?
Already during my fashion design studies I started to wonder my career choice: why do I want to design and put more and more new clothes into this world? I thought of switching to a totally different profession, but then I realized that there’s a way to make clothes in a different way—a sustainable way. I started to gather information about sustainable clothes and my interest for the ecological and ethical clothing industry grew and grew.

After a few years I thought it would be great to share this information with others as well. That’s how my blog Vihreät
Vaatteet (which means Green Clothes in English) began in 2008. It started as a hobby, but during that same year I also started running a web shop selling ecological clothes from many different labels around Europe. There were very few nice sustainable clothes available in Finland at that time and I wanted to do my own part in bringing more of them.

A few years passed by and I felt that it was time to launch my own clothing collection, so the Nurmi label was established in 2010. At the moment I’m working full time as an entrepreneur running the Nurmi label, writing the Vihreät Vaatteet blog and working with different design and consultancy projects in the field of sustainable fashion.

Goodlifer: Nurmi - Sustainable Style from Finland

Why is sustainability important to you?
The consumption culture in our Western society nowadays is way over its limits. We need to change the way we consume clothes and give up the throw-away lifestyle. Through my label I want to do my part in making the clothing industry more sustainable. I do feel that there’s no other way to make clothes in the future.

What are some of the challenges you faced when launching your line?
Compared to a “normal” clothing collection, there’s a lot more to consider when building a sustainable clothing collection: where and how to produce in the most ecological and ethical way possible, what materials to use, how to design long-lasting and high-quality garments, and so on. I think the most difficult think in the beginning was to find interesting ecological and ethical materials that are also really high quality.

Goodlifer: Nurmi - Sustainable Style from Finland

You have Sourcemaps for each piece on the site, do you think supply-chain transparency is important for consumers?
Yes, I do believe that more and more consumers are interested to know the story behind a product. And not just an imaginary story that a marketing department has developed, but the real story of the production process and all the people involved in the making something.

Are there things you are still looking to improve upon?
Of course, loads! I’m constantly sourcing for better, more innovative materials, looking for new production places, designing even more timeless and long-lasting products. The list could go on and on!

Goodlifer: Nurmi - Sustainable Style from Finland

Helsinki is the World Design Capital this year, has that influenced the creative community in Finland?
There’s a lot happening in the field of design which is really great. There’s many different good events which are officially part of WDC, but also many “alternative” creative, communal projects & events which are even more interesting. Such as Cleaning Day, which turns the whole city into a fleamarket and Restaurant Day when anyone can build up a restaurant of a cafe for a day.

Would you describe your aesthetic as distinctly Finnish?
I do believe that there’s a lot of distinctly Finnish characteristics in my design: clean-cut, simple, functional, Scandinavian.

Goodlifer: Nurmi - Sustainable Style from Finland

Sounds like something we could all relate to, right? Nurmi currently sells simple and graphic dresses, tees accessories, bags and denim, all made from deadstock fabric or organic cotton. There’s also a cube necklace based on the graphic form of Nurmi logo, which is handmade in Finland from birch wood grown in the carpenter’s own forest. Clearly this is a brand that has a big picture view on sustainability.

Find out more and connect with Nurmi:
Online store / Facebook / Twitter / Blog

About author
A designer by trade, Johanna has always had a passion for storytelling. Born and raised in Sweden, she's lived and worked in Miami, Brooklyn and, currently, Ojai, CA. She started Goodlifer in 2008 to offer a positive outlook for the future and share great stories, discoveries, thoughts, tips and reflections around her idea of the Good Life. Johanna loves kale, wishes she had a greener thumb, and thinks everything is just a tad bit better with champagne (or green juice).
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