Style

Looking #insideout at Uniikii  

By: Canadian Living
Canadian Living
Style

Looking #insideout at Uniikii  

By: Canadian Living

Finding clothes and accessories that are both comfortable and stylish, while maintaining a high standard of quality, seems to be the paramount goal for shoppers these days, yet the search often results in bags or shoes that will merely last a season. And trying to find products that are ethically produced? Let’s not even go there. Uniikii is a breath of fresh air in this category, meshing clean-cut, quirky Scandinavian design with sustainable business practices and a socially conscious attitude. Born out of a desire to bring traditional Finnish design to the Canadian market, Susan Asunmaa and Joanna Walker launched Canadian-based Uniikii Inc. in 2012. The company marries three brands under one roof: footwear and bag manufacturer Lahtiset, jewellery and housewares producer Aarikka, and Vancouver-based fashion designer Nikki Babie. Reflective of Uniikii’s sustainable philosophy, all products are handmade by workers in Finland and a portion of each Uniikii purchase goes to charitable organizations, such as World Vision’s No Child For Sale.

From left: Reppu by Jonas Hakaniemi for Lahtiset, $228; Aki Choklat for Lahtiset Sivu boot, $338, uniikii.com.

Lahtiset has an almost century-long history in Finland specializing in felt boots. To this day, it maintains the cherished Lahtiset-family “wet felting” construction method, which results in one seamless piece of lamb's wool that is treated in local spring water with no added chemicals. The felt boot shaft is molded to a rubber sole, producing footwear remarkably softer and sturdier than most felt products. It can weather a variety of Canadian elements and still feel toasty when worn without socks. Their modern and minimal approach to design extends to a line of structural leather and wool bags and backpacks designed by Finnish designer Jonas Hakaniemi, which will support the weight of even the heaviest laptop.

Clockwise, from left: Kiiruna Necklace, $98; Hetta Necklace, $80; Taiga Necklace, $98, uniikii.com.

To complement Lahtiset’s discreet design, Aarikka, the brainchild of Kaija Aarikka, a former student at the Institute of Industrial Arts in Helsinki, brings forth a bold, graphic aesthetic in all things housewares, from embellished candlesticks to smoothy-polished beaded baubles. All jewellery is delicately handcrafted using elements of wood, making it a perfect gift for those who appreciate modern, artisanal pieces. For the clothing aspect of the business,  Nikki Babie uses silky, eco-friendly bamboo textiles in her designs to create a flattering drape that feels heavenly against the skin. The pieces are perfect for the busy woman who wants an easy garment to transition from day to night with just a switch of accessories. Starting to put together your holiday gift list? Uniikii’s bold baubles and practical bags and boots make fabulous presents. To make your holiday shopping a little easier, Uniikii has opened a pop-up shop for the holiday season at 2989 Bloor Street West in Toronto. And with the hashtag #insideout, Uniikii is encouraging its customers to share a photo of themselves wearing their products in their own ‘uniikii’ style. For more fashion news, visit our Style Desk blog.
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Looking #insideout at Uniikii  

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