Sustainable local designers are challenging fast fashion in the Helsinki shopping scene, and Finnish design brands are reinventing themselves to embrace the circular economy. Ethical and ecological is now in, while throwawayism and impulsive consumption is so last season.
We picked our favourite spots for sustainable shopping in Helsinki and around.
Designed for long-lasting love
Iittala’s Vintage service, launched in spring 2019, buys and sells second-hand Iittala and Arabia tableware.
Having immediately found a passionate following, it has now expanded from a single pilot store to a Finland-wide initiative. Ideal for finding yesterday’s design gems, colourful table centrepieces, and pieces missing from your tableware series, Helsinki’s most central Vintage selection can be found at the Iittala Store on Esplanadi.
The available items change every day, allegedly at lightning speed.
3 x vintage tableware stores:
- Iittala Store, Pohjoisesplanadi 23
- Astialiisa, Runeberginkatu 59
- Momono, Yrjönkatu 1
Eco fashion and natural cosmetics
Nudge on Yrjönkatu has been the go-to location for Helsinki’s eco fashionistas for a decade. This shop covers several bases of sustainable lifestyle with its ever so tempting range of clothes, jewellery, accessories and natural cosmetics.
One of this winter’s must-haves is a Myssyfarmi lambswool beanie, made by a Finnish grandma at a farm in Pöytyä.
3 x conscious clothing stores:
- Nudge, Yrjönkatu 30
- Lumoan, Katariinankatu 1
- Pure Waste Concept Store, Yrjönkatu 34
Furniture to pass down generations
Hakola from Southern Ostrobothnia, Finland, has been producing furniture at the same factory for 50 years. Its products are renowned for their understated style and timeless design based on local traditions and a respect for carpentry craftsmanship.
A selection of sustainable sofas, poufs, tables and shelves is complemented by beautiful homewares like cushions and lamps. All materials are durable and easy to care for, as the products are designed to last from one generation to another.
Our favourite is their sofa almost completely made of recyclable materials. Its cushion fibre contains PET plastic bottles and its wooden legs come from table production surplus material.
3 x fair furniture stores:
- Hakola, Fredrikinkatu 28
- TRE Store, Mikonkatu 6
- Artek 2nd Cycle, Pieni Roobertinkatu 4–6
Stylish second hand
A few years back, Relove transformed the way second-hand clothes are bought and sold in Helsinki. Carefully selected clothes, many from well-known designer brands, are elegantly displayed in an aesthetically pleasing, light-filled space.
Relove even has a cafe serving breakfast, brunch, lunch and delicious snacks. The shopping experience has been fine-tuned to perfection and is just as appealing as shopping in a traditional clothes store.
3 x stunning secondhand stores:
- Relove, Fredrikinkatu 25
- WST Store, Iso Omena (Espoo)
- Little Copenhagen (childrenswear), Annankatu 12
Creativity meets quality
An ethically minded shopper can easily spend an entire day at Design District Helsinki, browsing everything from hats to handbags and art to jewellerry and homewares.
Its independent designer stores are the place to go for sustainable gifts, whether for yourself or your friends and loved ones. Countless cosy cafes and little art galleries complete the experience.
At the heart of the Design District, you’ll find St. George Bakery, where freshly baked bread with traditional Finnish fillings will boost your energy levels.
Don’t miss the first Monocle Shop in the Nordic countries, tucked right behind the bakery.
3 x designer gift shops:
- Lokal, Annankatu 9
- Monocle Shop, Yrjönkatu 13 (Hotel St. George)
- Lapuan kankurit, Katariinankatu 2
Sustainable treats taste the sweetest
You’ll find sustainably produced delicacies taste even better when served on the high quality designer tableware you’ve just purchased, while sitting on a Finnish-made wooden chair and wearing an outfit by a local designer.