It’s been said that there really is no Finnish culture since everything is brought to us from somewhere else. Our national hymn was composed by Friedrich Pacius, who is from Germany. Coffee was invented by the Arabs in and drunk in Yemen since 1200. Sauna is also not a Finnish invention. The American Mayan Indians went to a steaming room 900 years BCE. Finnish have however adopted these creations as their own. The Finnish are often described as shy and quiet. Small talk is not a Finnish strength. People talk when talk is needed and mean what they say.
What about Finnish style in dressing up and does our culture affect it? Does a Finnish person want to dress as unnoticeably as possible to avoid attention from others to minimize possible discussions? One thing that does affect Finnish style and not always in a good way is our ever changing weather. Finland has four seasons and the degree changes vary from winters -30 temperature to summers + 25 degrees. This adds a challenge to looking smart every now and then.
There is one Finnish shoe designer who has made a name for herself outside Finland. Her shoes have been presented in Vogue, Elle and Glamour magazines and they are worn by Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga. Her products can be called many things but one thing they are not is shy.
Bunny shoes by Minna Parikka. (Picture from: http://myfashionblogpost.blogspot.fi/2015/04/chic-shoes-minna-parikka-bunny-ears.html)
Lady Gaga wearing Minna Parikka shoes. (Picture from: http://www.iltasanomat.fi/viihde/art-2000000920667.html)
Do women in Finland wear these shoes? Yes, they do. I’ve seen many Finnish women wearing them and they are always noticed. I think that Finnish women are constantly more daring in the way they dress. Finnish style is still considered somewhat awkward when compared to our neighboring countries. There are many prejudices about Finnish style. Firstly we try to copy everything the Swedes do but they always dress better. Secondly our women are not as feminine as Russians are, since we don’t always care to wear heels. Thirdly we are not as tanned and blond like the Norwegians who are by these perceptions basically the same as Swedish women.
These are opinions that depend on who you’re asking. I think Finnish women are more daring and unique that the women in our neighboring countries. Style has not maybe mattered to us so much in the past and what we say has mattered more than how we look. This is now changing since Finns have understood that when you’re trying to make a good impression the whole baggage matters. I think Finnish women can dress up well when they want to. They can definitely make a statement when they want to. They can also choose to dress so that they won’t be noticed because Finnish women dress to impress themselves. Not others.
Text: Tiina Laukas, a student in Independent Study in English course