I have been to Sweden and I have been to Norway. During each trip I came to appreciate and love Scandinavian design. However I never went to Finland but after discovering Frenn, I feel like I should. I discovered the Helsinki-based company at the beginning of the summer on social media and I had to reach out to them to learn more and tell you about it.
The label was launched by Antti Laitinen (the designer) and Jarkko Kallio (who was kind enough to tell me about all the brand). Together they envisioned a menswear line that is simple yet pushes the boundaries of traditional office wear. In a nutshell: clean lines and flattering fits mixed with natural materials for the urban working man. I discovered Frenn through their Spring/Summer collection but I think I’m an even bigger fan of their most recent pieces, which embody everything one needs for Fall.
I featured this washed wool jacket in our Fall Selection #86 and I am equally impressed with the tweed version, perfect for colder days. Antti clearly likes to design casual blazers and there’s nothing wrong with it since he’s pretty damn good at it! The collection also has a lot of gray and denim which gives it kind of an evolved workwear aesthetic that I love (take these trousers for instance). I strongly recommend you take a look at their e-shop here, and please feel free to reach out on Twitter to let me know what you think.
Discussing Helsinki, Finnish Aesthetics & International Development With Antti Laitinen From Frenn
Where are you from and where do you live now?
I am from Kuopio, a countryside town in the eastern part of Finland. There I grew up surrounded by fabric swatches and creating my own wardrobe. That eventually led me to build a career in fashion. Now I am living in Kallio, the coolest area of Helsinki. The Guardian wrote a story about the neighbourhood which was once a no-go area, now filled with cool cafés, boutiques and creative spirit.
What do you do and how did you get there?
Together with Jarkko Kallio we created the brand Frenn, fresh Nordic tailoring. We both have extensive experience in the design industry but had the ambition to start something of our own. Frenn was born out of the belief that it is possible to meld comfort, individuality and credibility in contemporary menswear. We want to create high-quality pieces men will wear for years and cherish for decades. We believe in humanity, responsibility and individuality. To build a brand from scratch you will need determination, strength and resources. It has been an intense trip to get there, but that’s the only way!
Premium quality, interesting textures, compelling colours and prints.
What inspires you and what motivates you?
Each new season starts from fabrics, shapes and colours. They are what will lead us when art and life around us will inspire us. It is something that you can easily see in our designs. Premium quality, interesting textures, and compelling colours and prints meld in refined, individualistic menswear. For the Fall/Winter 2014 collection I was inspired by the first frosty mornings of winter. The warming materials such as washed wool and bamboo will protect from the coldness with style. Motivation comes from the will to make something better for the environment, the people and ourselves!
What is your go-to outfit and how would you describe your style in three words?
The classic Frenn outfit would definitely consist of our denim suit with a white shirt or white organic tee-shirt and high quality wool overcoat for the Fall. Relaxed, fitted, easy.
We are currently looking for retailers all over the world to turn Frenn
into an international success with Finnish aesthetics.
What big project are you currently working on?
Currently we are building Frenn to be an interesting international success with Finnish aesthetics. We are looking for retailers all over the world. With that in mind we have done some touring in Paris, Berlin and New York over the summer. The first Frenn overcoats were just sent to New York!
We are currently designing our 2015 Fall collection. I found some luxurious, soft fabrics with interesting textures and colors from Paris: Première Vision. I can’t share all the details yet, so you’ll just have to wait and see what’s to come!