Aalto University: Näytös22 fashion show brought a jackpot for Hanna-Lotta Hanhela

It was buzzing at the Glasshouse Helsinki on Aleksanterinkatu last Thursday evening, with the annual fashion show of Aalto University’s fashion students coming about. The event was the launch of the latest collections by young fashion designers, and also awards for successful student work were awarded. A total of 22 Bachelor’s and Master’s degree students’ collections were on display.

Näytös22 is one of the most important fashion events in Finland and was seen for the second time in a row as a virtual event. Videos projected on canvases sharing the spacious event space told the story of the young designers’ work and sources of inspiration. Amongst the crowds the soon-to-be-released collections were seen worn by both models and fashion professionals. There was not only excitement but also the joy of reunion in the air.

Näytös22 was shown on a big screen at aalto.fashion – and the atmosphere was like in a real fashion show with catwalks.

‘And the Award goes to…’
The main prize for Näytös22 was awarded to Master’s student Hanna-Lotta Hanhela.

‘The collection shows great skill and willingness to challenge oneself as a designer. The silhouette is strong, yet effortless and the use of colour is both distinct and balanced. The jury was really impressed by the level of finishing and the overall attention to the whole’, the jury stated, consisting of Caroline Pretterebner, Senior Designer at Raf Simons, Siiri Raasakka, Senior Knitwear Designer at Burberry and Siru Juntunen, Menswear Designer at Givenchy (the two last namedalso having graduated from the fashion programme at Aalto University).

Also Finnish Textile & Fashion (Suomen Tekstiili & Muoti) awarded Hanna-Lotta Hanhela. The jury was impressed by the timelessness, quality, excellent handwork and finishing, commercialisation potential and versatility of the collection. Hanhela’s storytelling and taking the personal experience to the next level were praised. The collection reflected a coherent vision, the designer’s personality and emotions.

Marimekko Award was given to two designers this year: Hanna-Lotta Hanhela and Bachelor student Pyry Komsi. The jury was impressed by the touching, personal inspiration of Hanhela’s collection as well as the execution of the colours. Komsi’s collection was praised for its cheerfulness: the idea is simple, yet playful and surprising.

The Fiskars Award was given to Bachelor student Pyry Rämö. The innovative approach and radical transparency of his collection was appealing. The cuts and holes allow one to see inside the garment – one doesn’t have to stick to what the surface suggests.

A relationship with grandmother behind the winning collection
Hanna-Lotta Hanhela’s Strength of Body – Fragility of mind collection is inspired by her grandmother, who had significant influence on her interest in clothes and fashion, but with whom the designer also had a complex relationship. For the memory of the grandmother, who had Alzheimer’s disease, the collection is designed from the perspective of a tailor losing their memory.

Lecturer in fashion Elina Peltonen says: ‘Hanna-Lotta’s work combines both integrity, clarity and a high level of finishing with open-mindedness in new observations and ways of working in design. She has grown enormously as a designer during her Master’s studies and has challenged herself persistently. At the same time, she has used her knowledge of pattern-making and tailoring, which has resulted in a collection that is also extremely skilfully executed from a technical point of view and is therefore a very finished and a credible whole.’

To the winner success came as a surprise.

‘I first felt overwhelmed, shocked but elated’, Hanna-Lotta Hanhela describes her first feelings after the award ceremony. ‘It feels amazing to see that something you’ve worked on for so long and to such close proximity resonates with other people. It also feels validating to see craftsmanship and high quality being valued by the juries. Makes me feel like I’m on the right path.’

The designer is keeping her mind open to what comes next. ‘I’m interested in exploring opportunities internationally. There has also been some interest to purchase pieces from the collection, so I want to explore production possibilities. First, however a bit of a holiday is in order to recharge.’