Working With Ethical Collection And A New Project



This year has showed to me very hard competition about all customer projects and jobs. There’s even hundreds of people applying for one job. I thought last year, that it would be nice to arrange illustration exhibition and have there a good reason to do new illustration portfolio. Arranging exhibition takes money and this year I experienced very hard competition of works, so I thought that maybe it will stay a dream. Then I got letter about a week ago, that I will get a bursary for arranging exhibition and it renewed my plans.

I have been a bit confused for changing my plans, because I had just got into good workflow with the rest of the outfits of Natja K. Ethical Collection. So I have been finishing what I was already started to do. I have been working with leather remnants and black remnants are finally getting to end, but this work has taken time. I finished coat in picture below among other pieces and my plan is to finish all outfits for collection as soon as possible. I have planned to take collection photos at one day of all outfits in next summer. After photoshooting all clothes, I thought that it will be about time to do own website project, when there’s not easy to have customer projects at the moment. I will have very good material of my own, photos and concept of whole collection.

Now it is anyway turn to do more illustrations for the art exhibition. I’m actually bit stressed, because I’m not sure if there’s free turns in the place, where I had thought to arrange it. Enough works to show the style of the exhibition works should be done first and after that the owner of the place tells if she accepts them and when there’s free time for exhibition. If the room I have been thinking isn’t going to work, I have to find anyway the place to arrange it preferably in next six months. So having a time for doing an own website project seems to be bit far now, but if I get website project from some customer, I will do it at first place anyway.


Leather Parka & Parka Trend



This winter and spring I have seen at least every other in the streets wearing a parka coat. Parka is classic coat type and belongs to garments, what have always their state in the wardrobe. This parka trend started in fall 2011 and now it has really shown in the streets of Helsinki, as parkas have been on a sale on many cloth business chains for many years.

Short history of parka coats

Parka coats were originally invented by Caribou Inuits, who live in the Northern parts of Canada. Coat type was developed and used by military of USA in 1940’s – 1970’s. Fishtail parkas were developed to the Korean War in 1948. The name fishtail comes from the fact, that the coat is shaped like a fishtail at the back. Fishtails could be tied around the upper legs to make them be in warm or folded up by using snap connectors to enable the moves needed during the combat. Parkas were designed to be “core” coats, what are alone insufficient to protect against dry cold. They were to be worn with other layers of clothing and that’s why parkas are big at their size.

In 1960’s parkas became the iconic clothes for mod subculture in UK, because they were excellent to protect smarter clothes under the parka from dirt, when mods drove with their scooters. Parkas were cheap and there were a lot of them on sale in army surplus shops (


Parka trend

Parka coats had big presence on fall 2011 runways, for example Rag & Bone, Altuzarra, Jean Paul Gaultier, Philip Lim, Jason Wu, Mulberry and Alexander Wang presented their versions for spring 2012. Parka trend continued on fall 2012 and become the most trendiest coat for men for winter 2012/2013. On fall 2013 parka coats were presented by Just Cavalli and Tommy Hilfiger. Trend continued every year and became a huge trend – and this spring’s most hottest coat is parka. That trend shows, parka coats are everywhere in Helsinki now.

Designed parkas has been called luxe parkas. Trendy detail in parkas has been leather sleeves after another coat trend of last years, black woollen material with black leather sleeves. Above left in the picture there’s one example of leather sleeve parka without specified brand told taken from Ebay. There’s always lots of ribbons hanging from parka coats, because of the tightening possibilities and history of the coat told before. On the right picture above there’s my leather parka, where I used shoe laces as ribbons on waist and hem, because they last in use and have clean ends.


My leather parka

I made this leather parka with same pattern as I did brocade parka for ethical collection with wool lining. There’s very different starting point for designing into Natja K. Ethical Collection F/W 2014/2015 than trends, but for brocade parka there was parka trend on it’s part behind the design decisions. I’m still working for the collection and let’s say that it is “Slow Design” among Slow Movement, because I have done a lot of more urgent things during last months. The clothes made of remnants take multiply time to do than clothes made of normal pieces and I have made of it also a bit stressful challenge to myself. Slow Movement advocates a cultural shift toward slowing down a life’s pace and it is good to remember when I’m working – and not all the time to the collection, but for something else.

Above in the picture there’s the additional materials for the coat, bought mostly from Eurokangas and Stockmann. On the right there’s parts of the star shoe laces, what I bought a couple of years ago to use for details in clothes from Milan. I used them as ribbon of the hood and I had to add a piece of another ribbon between them, because there was only those snippets left. I used also broken recycled zipper for details on coat’s sleeves.

I had bought once a couple of years ago this beautiful green leopard lining from Eurokangas. When I saw it, I knew that it is special bolt, what is there only once. It was also cheap, 5,90 €/m and the fabric is 100% polyester, what doesn’t need steaming, watering or washing first, because it doesn’t shrink. Coat is made of reindeer leather from Ahlskog Leather and it isn’t this time of remnants. Making clothes or accessories from leather it takes always a little more time to think how to cut pieces from leather than from fabric, but this coat was anyway so much quicker to do than the brocade and leather remnants parka.

I’m very satisfied for the result. Leather coat lasts a lot of use staying clean. This parka is neat enough for using it to client meetings at falls and springs. The coat is definitely very me, black leather with zipper details and green leopard lining.