All posts by Essi Karell


sustainable_fashion_kannet_malliWelcome to begin the new year with Aalto Arts Books Talks!

Aalto ARTS Books will officially launch professor Kirsi Niinimäki’s book “Sustainable Fashion in a Circular Economy”. In the event
Niinimäki and doctoral student Essi Karell will be discussing the topic from various perspectives.

Time: February 5, 2019, 4-5pm.
Place: Aalto University Shop, Otaniementie 12, Espoo

See also the Facebook event.



BOOK RELEASE: Sustainable Fashion in a Circular Economy

sustainable_fashion_kannet_malliEdited by professor Kirsi Niinimäki, the leader of F/T Futures research group.

The promotion of sustainable fashion within a circular economy is a vital contemporary topic. This publication presents up-to-date research about the various levels of circularity at work in the fashion industry. Experts of design, consumption, business and industry explain how circularity in the production and consumption of fashion can be approached in manifold ways. This collection of texts highlights the fresh, critical thinking that is currently influencing the fashion industry to adopt the practice of sustainable transformation within a circular economy.

The publication addresses the following themes:

  • How to include consumers within the changing process of fashion consumption?
  • New design and business strategies for the circular transformation of fashion.
  • Developing a systems approach to circularity, which includes the recycling and recovering of materials at an industrial level.

Purchase your copy at:

Doctoral Dissertation: Namkyu Chun

Namkyu_Dissertation_CoverMFA Namkyu Chun will defend his doctoral dissertation
Re(dis)covering Fashion Designers: Interweaving Dressmaking and Placemaking
on Thursday 15 November 2018.

Opponent: PhD Pammi Sinha, University of Leeds
Custos: prof. Kirsi Niinimäki

Time: 15.11.2018, 12:00 – 14:00
Place: B-200 Nokia Hall at Aalto University School of Business Töölö campus, Runeberginkatu 14-16

More information:

Re(dis)covering Fashion Designers: Interweaving Dressmaking and Placemaking discusses the social role of fashion designers. It departed from the encounter with the mystification of what they actually do and the unclear contribution to society as a profession. While critically reflecting on design thinking approaches that have contributed to the expansion of design, this book also questions if design can be generalized without the careful understanding of cultural differences among subfields of design.

Re(dis)covering Fashion Designers invites a dialogue embracing the material and immaterial worlds of fashion through two studies in Helsinki, Finland. The metaphor of weaving is adopted to not just interlace the narratives of the studies but also to be used as a piece of fabric patchworking the gap between design and fashion. The two studies were constructed to both recover and rediscover fashion designers. The notion of recovery is presented in relation to the meaning of the fashion design pro­fession in the contemporary fashion system due to certain prejudices. Meanwhile, the notion of rediscovery is tied to the prac­tice of fashion designers, especially the ignored tradition of dressmaking and their shared culture. The results suggest both rethinking what they are capable of and exploring possibilities to expand their role. The studies woven together present an original contribution of fashion designers as engaged actors of society beyond image-making.


The dissertation notice and the published dissertation are placed for public display at Väre (Otanimementie 14), at least 10 days before the defence date.


In Exhibition: 10 000 years of design – Man, matter, metamorphosis

Innovations developed in research projects DWoc and Trash-2-Cash  will be presented in a curated exhibition 10 000 years of design – Man, matter, metamorphosis. The exhibition focuses on the unique development of Finnish material culture and design as a result of a specific dialogue between society and ecosystem.

10 000 vuotta muotoilua – Ihminen, aine, metamorfoosi -näyttely esittelee DWoC ja Trash-2-Cash -tutkimusprojekteissa kehitettyjä innovaatioita. Näyttely haastaa meidät pohtimaan ihmistä osana ekosysteemiä sekä ihmisen suhdetta materiaaleihin ja esineisiin.

Time: 12.10.2018-24.2.2019
Place: The National Museum of Finland / Suomen Kansallismuseo

More information:

Future Fabric


Professor Kirsi Niinimäki had a presentation “Futures Fabrics, Futures Consumption” at Helsinki Design Week‘s event Future Fabric on 18th of September. The event was organised by Helsinki Think Company in a Science corner (Tiedekulma). Helsinki Think Company is the entrepreneurship society of the University of Helsinki.

Tähän kysymykseen tarjosi vastauksia Future Fabric tapahtuma 18.9.2018. Osana Helsinki Design Weekiä järjestetetyssä puhujatapahtumassa tarkasteltiin suomalaisen muodin tulevaisuutta kolmesta näkökulmasta: Tulevaisuuden materiaaliteknologiat. Miten luoda uusia, ympäristöystävällisempiä materiaaleja? Mikä rooli perustutkimuksella on uusien materiaalien synnyssä? Teknologiasta teollisuuteen; Onko kalliista innovaatioista vaatealan mullistajiksi? Entä voiko pienestä maasta ponnistaen selättää skaalautuvuuden haasteet? Professori Kirsi Niinimäki piti tapahtumassa puheenvuoron näkökulmalla, Tulevaisuuden tekstiilit ja tulevaisuuden kuluttaminen.

Think First – Panel discussion at Habitare 2018


September 15, 2018. Doctoral Candidate Essi Karell took part in “Think First” panel discussion addressing the topic “design and nature” as part of Habitare Interior, Design & Furniture Fair 2018. The question of how design can contribute to environmental protection was approached from the perspectives of design, production and consumption with the other panelists Teemu Järvi (designer, artist) and Rudi Merz (carpenter, furniture designer). The panel was moderated by Piia Lehtinen from Designmuseo.

More about Habitare:

Aalto Design Research: Fasttalk Superday at HDW 2018


Doctoral candidates Namkyu Chun and Essi Karell presented their research in the format of three-minute mini talks in the “Fasttalk Superday”, where wide variety of research topics were introduced  by Aalto University’s design researchers. The event was part of the official program of Helsinki Design Week and took place in the Helsinki City Hall on the 10th of September 2018.

Namkyu Chun “What other roles can fashion designers play rather than dressing the public?”
Essi Karell “Design for textile recycling – Addressing textile material circulation through clothing design”

More info:

“Design Research meets the Industry” at Tallinn Design Festival 2018

September 12, 2018. Doctoral Candidate Julia Valle-Noronha presented her research at the event “Textile Futures: Design Research meets the Industry”   organized by the Estonian Academy of Arts. The event was part of the official program of the 13th Tallinn Design Festival 10-16 September 2018.

The title of Valle’s presentation was: “On time and surprise as a space for design.”

More info:

Observations of multidisciplinary collaboration in Trash-2-Cash research project

The leader of F/T Futures Professor Kirsi Niinimäki provides a summary of findings from the article Outside the “Comfort Zone”: Designing Unknown in a Multidisciplinary Setting in Trash-2-Cash blog. 

Trash-2-Cash (T2C) research project has brought together partners from multiple disciplines with various knowledge backgrounds to work towards new material innovations.  Kirsi Niinimäki’s, Marjaana Tanttu’s and Cindy Kohtala’s article Outside the ”Comfort Zone”: Designing Unknown in a Multidisciplinary Setting, published in The Design Journal in 2017, provides observations from the beginning of the collaborative process in T2C. Check the main findings explained by Niinimäki in Trash-2-Cash blog (published April 19, 2018).

More information: