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23 February, 2020

Why Helsinki is superb for sustainable shopping

Sustainable Finnish designers are challenging fast fashion in the Helsinki shopping scene. Here is our favourite spots for sustainable shopping in Helsinki and around.

Lue artikkeli suomeksi

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’s Vintage service Finland, which buy and sell secondhand Ittala and Arabia tableware
Photo: Iittala

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:

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:

Photo: Unto Rautio, Hakola.

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:

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:

Design District Helsinki, where you can buy hats, handbags, art, jewelry and homewares
Photo: Helsinki Design District.

Sustainable treats taste the sweetest

Finally, on your journey home, pop into the organic shop Hallin Luomupuoti at Hakaniemi Market Hall or the eco supermarket Ruohonjuuri.

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.

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