„My muse? A cool girl with brains.” From his underground youth in Finland, through his artistic taste and inspirations, to his sustainability agenda, Tuomas Merikoski from AALTO shares what's on his mind.
Tuomas, who are you?
I come from middle-class background in Finland and was very influenced by the country’s youth culture and alternative music scene. I love creativity in every context and treat limits as challenges. As I was a part of the music scene, I naturally discovered fashion and found it very interesting from a creative point of view.
Does your collaboration with Repack mean that AALTO is a sustainable brand?
Not entirely, but we try to address sustainability in all our our activities. By working with Repack, we solve the problem of e-commerce-related waste. If you order from our online store, you’ll receive your products packed in the Repack bag that is both made from recycled material and is reusable in itself. You can sent it back free of charge by putting it in any post box.
Could you tell us more about how logos were used in the SS18 collection?
I was researching the idea that our society is inundated with signs, signals and logos. I’m skeptical about overconsumption and the motivations that drive it. The logos are a symbol of our urbanity, with its upsides and downsides. They’re not really essential, so why not rework them in a way that makes them fun and gives them a positive message? So I met with the Finnish graphic design collective GRMMXI and asked them to create a series of fun fake logos. I also love brutalist web design, and it was one of the starting point for this funny reinterpretation of familiar signs.
What are the inspirations behind your SS18 collection?
The collection is called After Natures and takes its inspirations from the current state of the world, and its future, as shaped by human actions and the nature itself. I worked with a positive attitude, with hope, inspired also by our second nature—Internet and the digital reality. Other influences came from Naomi Klein’s No Logo book and the ‘30s, a liberating time for women.
Who is your muse?
A cool girl with brains. Her face stands out in the crowd. I love diversity, but my muses are very often the women that surround me, strong, intelligent, sexy and independent.
What is your cult film?
Gattaca, where beauty is found on all levels, in the visuals, the soundtrack, and in the story itself, with imperfections at its very heart and a quest for freedom. The performances of Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman are extraordinary.
What album or song is playing in your head?
Recently it’s the Ibeyi album, I think it’s beautiful, complete and spiritual in a modern way. I felt the same way when I discovered Erykah Badu at the end of the ‘90s. I follow my instincts rather than the hit of the moment.
What did you dream of as a child?
So many things… I had the ambition, and the enthusiasm, to do things well, to push my limits and challenge my habits. I remember I wanted to be a CEO of a bank or a trip-hop musician.
Who’s your favorite artist?
There are many, but I’d say Peter Hugo, the great photographer of contemporary art.
Interview by Laure Ambroise, published in L'Officiel and Jalouse n°208.
Portrait by Johan Sandberg
Repack bag in the SS18 show
Photo by Raffaele Cariou
Photo by Amber Mahoney
Uma Thurman in Gattaca
Directed by Andrew Niccol (1997)
Portrait #17, South Africa, 2016