Nomen Nescio approaches fashion like furniture design

Nomen Nescio, the Helsinki-based label that approaches fashion like furniture design

“We wanted to create basic pieces and then gradually improve on them, like you would if you were designing a chair,” husband and wife duo Niina and Timo Leskelä of Nomen Nescio say of their thoughtful genderless collections.

Too often, ‘sustainable’, ‘unisex’ and ‘seasonless’ are nothing more than catnip terms for a bloated fashion industry looking to please weary consumers. Yet for more than a decade, husband and wife duo Niina and Timo Leskelä have quietly operated a clothing brand in their native Finland built around these exact ideas. Their label Nomen Nescio offers well-made and edited collections sold internationally and presented in their new crisp white Helsinki flagship. Think clothes for everyone, regardless of age, size and gender, and always made only in black. In Latin, the name means “anonymous person”: “We want to make clothes that do not concern us, but for the people who wear them”, explains Niina.

Their whole ethos has minimalism at its core. “We approached the brand as if it were a design company rather than a fashion one. We wanted to make it slower, by making basic parts and then gradually improving them, like you would if you were designing a chair,” says Niina. “If you made chairs, you wouldn’t change them every six months. We wanted that kind of freedom. The couple took their time meeting buyers in Paris, traveling to Mexico, Japan and New York to see where their ethos rang. “We are always thinking about how our values ​​exist outside of the Nordic countries,” she says.

Name Nescio

These values ​​– concern for the planet, buying once and buying well, not consuming too much, taking your time – have become concerns that are not only “Nordic”, but more global. “I don’t know if it comes from Finland’s history, we haven’t had kings or queens, so maybe society has been more humble, more democratic… the access we we have free education and things have affected us deeply. We are proud of these things, but at the same time, we represent something more global. A lot of Japanese minimalist ideas are quite close to Nordic ideas. And the thing unisex is quite common here in Scandinavia but is perhaps quite new in southern Europe.

Niina hates the word “unisex,” but currently uses it as shorthand for inclusive. The cut of a Nomen Nescio collarless linen jacket is cut from the sleeves, which means it can sit on different bodies. The label’s drop-crotch pants and soft merino singlets range in sizes XXS to XXL. Durability is also there. The duo add around 20 new styles to the collection twice a year; ten are totally new and ten are carryover styles in new fabrics. Fashion – as the mantra goes – has been so fast for so long, but the tide could be turning: “In Finland, we want to think clearly about what we want to buy and not rush into something quickly. We encourage people not to make spontaneous purchases in our store. We want them to think about what they really need. To go home and check what they already have in their cupboards before returning. And they do. §

About Gertrude H. Kerr

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