Thursday, 21 March 2013

Made in Kokkola

The town of Kokkola is located in the Western coastal area of Finland, about 60 miles from where we live. It used to have a successful clothing manufacturing industry. The most noted type of fashion to come from the town was coats and leatherwear. That fact can be easily proven just by looking at the offerings of the flea markets and charity stores in this area. The local thrift shops are full of awesome vintage outerwear labeled "Made in Kokkola, Finland". And that label means some serious quality.

Thrift shops and flea markets in Helsinki and in other larger towns are mostly void of treasures these days. Charity shops are drowning in last season's H&M, Zara and other cheap fast-fashion crap. Not here. In my neck of the woods flea markets and charity shops have amazing selections of old Finnish-made clothing, including vintage Marimekko and Vuokko, just to name a few more well-known Finnish clothing brands. But the dark horse of the race is anything that has that "Made in Kokkola"-label. And it's everywhere here. The  Kokkola clothes - coats, jackets, skirts, trousers, you name it - are, and I can't stress this enough, of superb quality. The materials are exquisite, the cut flawless. They are available for pennies, because no one here really "gets" vintage.

The brown suede jacket above is by an old Kokkola leatherwear brand, Hagström. The price on the jacket was 3 euros.


anne b. said...

fantastic jacket...

Franca said...

it's lovely! I have become slightly obsessed with Marimekko recently for some reason. You can't get it in the UK at all, so second hand things are few and far between.

Robin said...


jo said...

3 euros for a well-made jacket? Wow.
You could probably earn some money by buying high-quality second hand clothing and selling it online. I know I'd be interested!

Penny said...

So nice to stumble upon your blog. So, which thrift stores here have the best stuff? (I live in Kokkola.) Any tips would be appreciated; reluctance to share understood. I think I teach English in the building where that Hagström jacket was made.

The Waves said...

Hi all!

anne b.: I know! It's has the feel of YSL's safari jacket, but in thick suede. It's awesome! :)

Franca: Vintage Marimekko is starting to be tough to find around here, too, and the prices are notably higher than other Finnish designers. I'll keep my eyes open to see if I could find something for you here!

Robin: Yup! :)

jo: I haven't thought about selling stuff online, mostly because I've sold a few pieces at my sister's second hand store in Helsinki. But it's a good idea - I might have to look into it if the stuff keeps piling up. :)

Penny: Oh how cool that you work in the Hagström building! My rule of thumb for thrifting around here is to not bother with self-service flea markets, just go for charity shops, especially the religious ones like lähetyskirpputori. They have the best vintage stuff for the best prices. Fida in Kokkola is amazing - last time I was there I found 5 pairs of beautiful MalliMari trousers (3 euros a pair), and a full-length Hagström shearling coat. Kauhava has a good lähetyskirpputori as well, as does Alajärvi... I guess almost every town has at least one.