Rokulipäivät Fashion Show

Growing up in my hometown, my old dance association would occasionally hold fashion shows in collaboration with some of the local stores. At first the fashion shows were their own separate event, but at some point we started holding the shows at our hometown’s summer fair, Rokulipäivät. I had a hard time at school at the time of the first fashion shows and it meant a lot to me, when I was asked to be a mannequin for it. It gave some self-confidence to a school bullied girl who was suffering from panic attacks and anxiety. I think we did our own hair and makeup for the first fashion shows, but with more experience we gained more partners for the shows. Since they were a dance association’s fashion shows, we included dance performances to them. It gave the models some time to change outfits. I honestly don’t remember how many of the shows I participated in, but the last one was in 2013 – the year I graduated from high school and moved away from my hometown.

Rokulipäivät 2012 - photo by Antti Nenonen & Paavo Pajala
Rokulipäivät 2012 – Photo by Antti Nenonen & Paavo Pajala

Participating in the fashion shows gave me an idea of what it takes to hold a fashion show before I started to study fashion business. Figuring out all the different elements of a show and making their combination work. Though the fashion shows held in our little home town weren’t anything special. The audiences for our shows mostly consisted of the relatives and friends of the people participating in the show. I think that was one of the factors that resulted in us holding the fashion shows at Rokulipäivät; making it more of a commercial event for our partners. After the looks were displayed, the audience could immediately go buy them.

My old dance association apparently hasn’t held a fashion show in Rokulipäivät for a while. This year one of my best friends Ella Puoliväli decided to take up the torch and held her own fashion show. Unlike the previous fashion shows, she was displaying her own designs. The show wasn’t anything extravagant. She asked friends and acquaintances to model for her, we did our hair and makeup at her fathers firm, changed our clothes at the fire station located next to the stage and went to the stage without holding a dress rehearsal. Ella was so nervous that she forgot the route she was supposed to walk. It wasn’t anything fancy, but it was special to us and we had a great time. Though to be honest, we were all just glad once it was over. I’m sure a lot of you can relate to the relief once a big project is done.

The clothes she was displaying consisted of two collections: Millianna and Suomi 100-vuotta. Millianna was her final project from her studies as a clothing artisan. The collection is army inspired as she completed military service after graduating from high school. You can read more about the Milianna collection here. The Suomi 100-vuotta collection on the other hand is inspired by Finland’s 100th year anniversary. The clothes are especially inspired by our region’s national costume. She even used some authentic pieces like helavyö, as accessories. All Ella’s clothes are made-to-order. While creating both Milianna and Suomi 100-vuotta collections, she first sought out the models and then created the clothes according to their measurements. Unfortunately we couldn’t use all the original models for the Milianna collection in this fashion show, so they didn’t fit as well on the secondary models.

Rokulipäivät 2017 – Ella and the models

I wish we had more time to prepare for the fashion show. Originally I had planned to do a project related to the organizing of the show, but I simply didn’t have the time for it. I was too busy with my thesis and another fashion show that was approaching a deadline. Ella too has been working on multiple projects over the summer. Because of this she was preparing the clothes for the fashion show until the last night before the show. One worry was whether or not everyone would have clothes to put on for the show. As a precaution, Ella invited our friend Mirka to her house for the week before the fashion show. It wasn’t for stress relief or anything like that. Mirka is also a clothing artisan and her task was pretty much to work until they both dropped. I unfortunately didn’t have the skills to help out in that regard. Instead I was there as moral support, working on another fashions show’s looks while they were working on the clothes.

After the fashion show was over, we went to a near by estate to take pictures of the Suomi 100-vuotta looks. When Ella created the Millianna collection, she held a photoshoot for it so there was no need to photograph them. This was however the first time the Suomi 100-vuotta looks were displayed. Ella unfortunately didn’t have the time to create all the designs she has for the collection. But in my opinion it was better not to rush with the designs too much. She’ll have time to create the clothes in good quality for her next fashion show, which she’ll have in Turku in the fall with her old class mates Outi Matilainen & Meri Peltonen. In case you’re in Turku 25th of August 2017, you can find out more information about the event and sign up for it here.

Please do check out Ella’s page if you’re interested to get detailed information about the designs. She’ll be writing about the Suomi 100-vuotta looks in the future. The post about Milianna is already up and you can read it here.