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2015/08/23

My Style. Looking At Mirror And What Did I See.

dots and plaid

I haven’t seen anything spectacular lately on the streets so I think why not look at the mirror for a change. In Summer = lot of light = I love to dress up in light tones. Part of the fun is to mix my favorite patterns; stripes, plaid and dots. Mostly two at a time. Colour palette is something like white, sky blue, sand, pale gray. And the mood is good.

Summer colour cart

There is also another reason to look at the mirror. To be more concrete inside my head. I’m taking part in an online class for illustrators. There I’m supposed to analyze and think various mind blowing questions like What do you want to achieve with your illustrations.

dots and stipes with sky blue skirt

When I was blogging the first year here at Flash For Zonzon I showed this blog to one lady - let’s call her lady Portal - who had started a blog portal for Finnish Fashion Bloggers. I was curious to hear her opinion. She looked at this blog instantly from laptop. At that point I had some ten posts done. After a while she aroused her eyes and asked me with a slight amount of suspicion in her voice: Where are you heading with this?

I was like: Uuuu, I like to draw…

Shirt with dots

At that point I hadn’t really thought it too much. I started this blog four years ago as a sidekick from my daily job as graphic design and entrepreneur. That is so much computer-related work. So I needed a way to experiment with traditional illustration techniques like watercolor, ink, pastel, color pencils, line drawing, paper cut and mixed media of all of these.

To do illustrations without a need to please anybody else than me is pure joy. Feeling the connection straight from head to hand is utmost relaxing. (By the way, that’s the secret of nowadays popular adults coloring books.) Of course  one important aspect was to get a way to express my ideas related with clothing. I am a cloth designer for fist profession, anyway. Relax and have fun. With the idea that if I have fun making it maybe the audience will like it too.

Dots pattern, ping pong

 Lady Portal apparently thought that what’s the point using time and energy for a blog with no ads, no photographs of the outfit-of-the-day, no connections with clothing brands, no shopping tips where to get this and that style, no followers. In other words no nothing that is typical for fashion blogs as we know it.

Okay, but now let’s face it. My secret subconscious plan with this blog has been to become a better illustrator. At least I get an ever growing portfolio of illustrations along blogging. Maybe some day I get commissions through blog to do fashion illustrations to some media, fashion house, clothing brand, magazine, what ever. But with hands full of graphic design customer work and family life I haven’t time to do any marketing for my illustrations. I have thought that by chance the illustration work may come.

But it haven’t.
Truth is that a blog like this is like an ant sailing Ocean with a blade of grass. The possibility to run into ground is pretty minimal.

Another thing is the ping pong in my head. Is my illustration any good? I know that the duo with my stories and illustrations is okay, but illustrations alone? Does anybody need fashion illustration? Do I loose the joy of drawing if I do it on demand? But maybe then I might be able to really concentrate on making pics. Now everything is done pretty fast after 9PM when kids have gone to sleep. What would the quality of my illustrations be if I could use more time making it? And so on.

Dots pattern ping pong

Well, it’s time to do an action plan. How to find a sensible not time-eating way to promote illustrations or do some profitable things with this blog. The sad truth is that I have so much ideas in my head. Really, is it sad? Ideas for blog posts, for products, for patterns (which I’d love to concentrate on). Should I fill a lottery coupon to pay my bills for a while?

By taking part of the previously mentioned online illustration class I have promised myself that I try to move on with my ideas with Flash For Zonzon. First step is to do a online portfolio of the créme de la créme illustrations. Then I’m working on at least to get some products alive sooner or later. Like postcards or T-shirt prints for example. Small steps, little by little. Can you hear my war cry in your ears yet?

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Thanks for reading my whole outburst. I promise this will not happen too often.

PS. The canvas shoes are still alive that perform in the third picture. Four summers and still kicking.

2015/08/09

On the Street. Comfortable Travel Outfit, Esplanadi, Helsinki.

Street Style. Comfortable Travel Outfit, Esplanadi, Helsinki.

I’m back in hometown Helsinki again after refreshing month in the woods. I visited the center and realised that Helsinki is full of tourists. There is certain hallmarks of which a tourist stands out from city habitants. Sun hat, map in hand, eager look in eyes ready to spot something peculiar.

While travelling it’s wise to pack tricot clothes in order to avoid ironing or end up looking like wrinkled along the journey. This lady had realised this idea profoundly. Layering black tricot all the way and in addition interesting fluttering shape.

2015/07/30

On the Street. Captain Cap Makes the Style, Skåldö.

Street Style. Captain Cap Makes the Style.

After one month stay in the countryside there is not much to tell about street style. The only one that has turned my head is this older gentleman. I have seen him three times during a visit to a local store in boat harbor. He takes care of the vegetables and strawberries sale and has had exactly same look every time. Light-colored shirt, red scarf tied to the neck, blue captain cap and big grey mustache. Apparently he dresses like this every single day in his life.

Really it is very useful when you come up with some particular style. Then it’s wise to keep it and never again have any doubts what to wear. If the corner stones of the style have some character you end up giving more interesting impression than average. Like this chap here.

Hands back walk style

Another thing is this posture. I have noticed the habit of older men walking with their hands behind their back. You know, the walking style with hands crossed to back, upper body bent forward, staring expression in the eyes, field of view up to five meters ahead. I wonder what exactly is the age when this hand tied behind back -habit strikes a man, because it seems that this manner is never seen with men under fifty years. What is the secret behind it that all the men seem to realize?

2015/07/26

Sphinx Pinastri And Yohji Yamamoto FW 2015

Sphinx Pinastri pupa

Here we go with another nature summer story. On first few days at summer cottage I picked up a doormat before the external stairs to shake all the needles and other debris away. When I lifted the doormat I noticed a butterfly pupa below it. The insect larva had found a safe place to spend undisturbed winter time.

Pupa is extremely interesting to watch. The form is pure beauty. So we placed this Sphinx pinastri pupa (Pine hawk-moth) to veranda in an open box in hopes to see the transform to a butterfly. It took only few days when I realised that a pine hawk-moth was crawling it’s way out from the wintertime shelter. In this point the wings of a butterfly are only tiny piles of crinkle. We helped our guest pine hawk-moth to hang on to nearby geranium. There it started pumping the wings open ready to fly on.

When it was ready we took it outside hanging to pine trunk and start the living in a new beautiful form.

Sphinx pinastri / Pine hawk-moth / Mäntykiitäjä

On last post I told you how one outfit from Yohji Yamamoto’s FW 2015 collection paired well together with one nature impression. Again I find Sphinx pinastri pupa feeling in this outfit. The model feels like pine hawk-moth when it cracks the way out from the pupa. Ready to take a new form.

Yohji Yamamoto FW 2015

2015/07/16

Bat in Daylight And Yohji Yamamoto, FW 2015

Bat Flying in Daylight

Let me tell you a little story. This year I’m spending my summer holiday just like the Finnish cottage-life was described in last but one blogpost. That is close to the nature cottage life. Close to the nature means – besides woods, sea, plants and flowers – also seeing animals that don’t hang around Helsinki City streets.

The whole June in Finland was cold and rainy. When we started our holiday the situation was still like that until July started and the sun came along. On the first sunny day I encountered a surprising view above my head.

A small bat flew around, round and round on sunny blue sky above open courtyard. Bats usually start their flying and insect hunt when night falls. Apparently the cold beginning of the summer had been very meager food and sudden heat had increased the number of insects dramatically. The little bat had thought like ”Oh what the heck, day or night, I’m HUNGRY!” And started the hunting in pure daylight.

So I went to lie down on the courtyard staring the little bat flying skillful curves in the air in front of my eyes. Rare and beautiful sight.

Yohji Yamamoto FW 2015

Lately I browsed through Vogue Collections FW 2015 -magazine in grocery store. By the way, the layout had been changed more magazine-like instead of old catalog-style. I wasn’t too happy about the change so as a silent protest I didn’t buy the Vogue. Anyway in my retina was left a photo of Yohji Yamamoto’s FW 2015 collection.

Afterward I headed my way to Style.com and Yohji Yamamoto’s FW 2015 collection and – tadaa – there it was, a perfect match for the little bat in the air. The hemline feels like opened bat wings. Hands gathered as hanging bat does while sleeping. Rare and beautiful this one too.

2015/07/09

On The Street. Modern Snufkin, Kamppi Helsinki.

Street Style. Modern Snufkin with Platform Shoes, Helsinki.

I was having a lunch in Kamppi while this fellow walked by. It was a glimpse of two seconds and the feeling about the sight is in the illustration above. Black interesting silhouette. I have understood that in Japan platform shoes like this are common (watch the Tokyo Fashion video), but this pair was the first one I have seen in Helsinki.

Recently, the Internet has had a few articles about Culottes: How To Wear This Season’s It Pants. Example here on Vogue about culottes. Well, here is one option more, with platform shoes.

Somehow this guy reminds me of Snufkin (Nuuskamuikkunen in Finnish). You know the character from Tove Jansson’s Moomin-books. Forest green look has changed to black, all the essentials packed in the tote bag, hat tilted and whistling on the go.

2015/06/22

Finnhits. Sauna, Marimekko And Hai Rubber Boots.

Finnish All Time Favorites. Sauna, Marimekko And Hai Rubber Boots.

Healing Holiday
For many Finns after Midsummer begins finally summer holiday time.  A typical Finnish spend their holidays at the cottage by the lake in the middle of nowhere. A cottage is a place where you can breathe a sigh and leave stress and hassle. The daily dose of healing green woods energy starts to affect right away when you step outside the cottage. Sauna belongs to Finnish cottage life all right. It’s best if you can take a dip into the lake from the heat of sauna.

What to do at the cottage
What else besides going to sauna people do in summer cottages? Simple things that are rare to do in city, like angling from the pier, rowing a boat, picking blueberries and mushroom, chopping wood, carrying water from the well, wash dishes by hand, making food with grill and eat outdoors (literally), throw darts, reading books under the tree, stare the life of ants, walk on wooden legs, read old magazines on the attic, carve wooden boats, laze on the dock watching the clouds passing by.

Favorite things
Marimekko is the clothing brand that has a strong pond to Finnish emotion. Like sauna is Finnish so is Marimekko. Therefor I decided to take something from Marimekko SS 2015 -collection to this illustration. This simple shirt dress made of linen would be my favorite summer dress. The beginning of this summer has been filled with rain showers so yellow HAI rubber boots completes the outfit. The umbrella I borrowed from Totoro, the anime charcter of my favorite animated movie.

Visit the Sauna in Helsinki
Frankly it’s not everybody running exited countryside when holidays dawn. Alone the idea of stinging bugs is too much for some. In that case in Helsinki it is possible to enjoy the pleasure of urban sauna in the city. Some with the possibility to swim on the sea. Website Visit Helsinki offers a good list of all the possibilities.

Personally I would like to try Kulttuurisauna. (Culturesauna) The website is a bit rough but I’m sure Kulttuurisauna is worth a visit.

2015/06/15

Seasons. Helsinki Samba Carnaval 2015.

Helsinki Samba Carnaval 2015

The day was a bit rainy and temperature +13 or so, but still there was a blast of Helsinki Samba Carnaval 2015. People stood tightly packed along the streets witnessing the wonders that samba schools had prepared to show. For my part I absolutely love this happening. Samba is such a great antidote to everyday life.

In Finland there is not too many occasions to fool around with dress code. In samba carnaval the participants show shamelessly their bellies proudly presenting what they are and dancing their way through Helsinki Esplanade. What a joyful sight!


Helsinki Samba Carnaval 2015

Lately at Finland media has aroused a discussion about the right to be what you want to be, without anybody to need to rise the eyebrows saying bitter insulting comments. It all started from a concerned mother FaceBook status. She opened up herself of being tired of hearing her four-year boy nominated girl just because he sometimes like to wear pink dress and his hobby is figure skating instead of playing ice hockey. And the commentators are adults. Sad.

It all ended up to #mekkohaaste in Finland. Guys posting pics in dress for support.

Therefore I was happy to spot at least two men dancing in skirts. One in reed skirt and another in kilt. How good they looked! And what is skirt anyway? It’s a shorts with only one leg. In samba parade even a cow skull can have a feather wig.


Helsinki Samba Carnaval 2015.

Samba carnival is proud happy performance. The dancers enjoy showing itself and we the audience get a thrilling experience. So wonderful that it is nice to capture it in photos. Nowadays many times  there is this paradox that something wonderful is on the tray in front of us but we stare the wonders preshrunk through the camera lens.

Fact is that Helsinki Samba Carnaval Parade had only a few male dancing. Quickly estimated only 10% of the dancers are men. In Finland, there is a saying that the Finnish man doesn’t speak nor kiss. Sad to say but this reflects also to attitudes towards men and dance. I suppose that in Rio Samba Carnaval this matter doesn’t exist.


Helsinki Samba Carnaval 2015.

The themes of the carnival schools other reflect some topical issue at the moment. A punk band PKN (Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät) was Finnish representative of the Eurovision Song Contest this spring. Punk is on the air so Helsinki Samba School Imperio do Papagaio had punk as a theme this year. Innovative costumes like iroquois made of colorful plastic straws. We saw biker jacket theme in drum batteria collars and single dancers too.


Helsinki Samba Carnaval 2015.

One of the themes was birds. These shy young birds had just hatched in the nest.

Helsinki Samba Carnaval 2015. Paradise Bird Dancer.

The neon color trend was seen in many cases in decoration and costumes. Perhaps this bird of paradise was the most neon creature in the parade.


Helsinki Samba Carnaval 2015. Sleeping Child.

Many kids on the audience had earmuffs to endure the loud music that comes with the samba parade. Despite the loud clack, drumming, playing and singing this sweetie couldn’t resist the invite to fall sleep.

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Thank you all Samba Schools for a wonderful show and inspiration! This was 4th time in a row in Flash For Zonzon to make illustrations of happening. If you like to check it all you can click the tag samba.

2015/06/01

One Day. Oystercatcher On the Lawn, Lauttasaari, Helsinki.

Oystercatcher On the Lawn, papercut

One day when I was on my way home I walked past a green grass lawn where bright yellow dandelions blossomed. There was one single oystercatcher searching for worms. Such a beautiful graphic sight. I love these birds, handsome and humorous, always busy in finding daily meal. Oystercatcher usually like to hang around seaside but maybe this bird preferred a more colorful environment for a change.

May this be a beginning of a summer season. Kids are out of school for ten weeks holiday. Nature blossoms and the warmth will come for sure (some day). Let’s all enjoy this season with all good that will come. It’s time to move on to the sunny side.

Just one reminder. Next weekend it’s already time to celebrate Helsinki Samba Carnival. I am pretty sure that I will do a report about the happening also this year.

2015/05/26

On the Street. Rebellious Biker Jacket, Kamppi, Helsinki.

Street Style Helsinki. Bicker Jacket.

Biker Jacket is such a classic that keep one’s ground from decade after decade. The first milestone was probably marked by Marlon Brando, who performed a motorcycle gang leader in film The Wild One 1953. After that a biker jacket made of black leather has been synonym to restless rebel -attitude.

Punk is not too common style in Helsinki everyday street scene. So this young lady was a nice exception with her extra carefully drawn eye makeup. A biker jacket, symbol of rebellious mind is well suited to the picture.

I did a tour on kids clothing stores past weekend. In one shop there was biker jackets for kids. Later on I saw approximately four year old girl who wore that particular biker jacket. Well, kid are rebels, they have rebellious mind. With kids at some points it is time to oppose most anything that parents propose.

Another spotting of biker jacket was in Finnish magazine cover Apu (”Help” in English). A Finnish singer Jari Sillanpää posed on cover dressed in biker jacket. The headline was like ”Festival Year of Music Agitator Jari Sillanpää in Fifties”. So the biker jacket works as symbol of live spirit in middle-age.

Conclusion. From childhood  to teenage and middle age, classic biker jacket fits any person who wants to express some rebellious vibes with clothing.