Up Close: Vyner Articles’ Designer Heikki Salonen

Interview series from people and brands who inspire us

“Work clothes that drive the artists creativity“ was the motto behind this season’s newcomer to Pitti Uomo’s menswear stage, Vyner Articles. With a new take on casual menswear tailoring featuring graphics and art references that feed the soul, the label is headed by Finnish designer Heikki Salonen.

Among Finnish designers he is one of the most renowned names, rumoured to be the design director of MM6 and having worked with the likes of Diesel, Erdem and his own eponymous and unconventional womenswear line Heikki Salonen.

Graduating from the London Royal College of Art in 2008, he has been a steady name in the international fashion industry ever since. His latest project Vyner Articles, is deeply rooted in his London surroundings, being named after Vyner street in London’s East end, where the designer lives and works. “My idea was to create a new type of workwear for artists to wear when they are drunk on creativity.”

We had the opportunity to speak with the designer about his new label, his inspiration and commuting between multiple fashion labels.

Ne.Sense:
What was the original inspiration for Vyner Articles?

Heikki Salonen:
Creating clothes for people that I can relate to. All the people that do what they love and do it well and inspire others. I really like when people style themselves and keep their personal touch, I want Vyner Articles to enhance this personal style more than imposing a new one.

NS:
You’re known for your work as a womenswear designer – what made you decide to make a new menswear label?

HS:
I wanted to start over with a fresh point of view and make better decisions, like not having my name attached to the label but having more of a community around the label and doing more sustainable and affordable clothing with a true character. My work for other brands as a womenswear designer is still very important and I enjoy it very much, but it is intense. Men’s fashion however is more relaxed and the creativity around it is more intuitive. And for some reason I feel that I can collaborate more easily with people that I admire.

NS:
What is the connection between Heikki Salonen and Vyner Articles?

HS:
Rugged feel and multilayered references, in Vyner Articles they are more obvious when on Heikki they were much more subtle and rough, maybe slightly more sinister.

NS:
How do you manage the workload between designing for other labels as well as Vyner Articles? What does a day in your daily life look like?

HS:
I love my work and I feel privileged to be able to do this for a living, it’s my everyday life and sometimes it’s tough, sometimes hyper enjoyable, like life in general. I travel a lot between Paris, Italy and London, weekly basis but mostly I try to stay in London at my own studio with my doggies and my team.

NS:
There is a very musical feel to your collections, is there a specific sound that inspired you while designing?

HS:
Yes always and it always varies as well, I play music myself and many of my close friends are musicians. For me music is quite pure emotion and it can bring back memories super vividly even as far as from twenty-thirty years back. If I could bring even a little of that same feeling to my clothing, that the wearer could relate to them how I relate to music, that would be my dream.

NS:
What inspired the different fonts in your AW18 collection?

HS:
I have a great designer working with me who has worked for record labels creating the cover arts, and we always bounce around very random references. For us there always needs to be a little inside joke behind every single graphic, font, color etc.

NS:
You describe the line as Art Work Wear – which artists influenced you the most?

HS:
David Lynch, Trent Reznor, Louise Bourgeois, Ryunosuke Akutagawa, Sergio Toppi, Beth Gibbons, Alvar Aalto…
I always get inspired by people and their work and I fall in love with a new artist on a daily basis, there is too many great ones!!!!

Text: Marie Berger
Photographer: Alien Wang
Styling: Michael F. Hsieh


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