The shoes fit—literally. Nordic fashion brand Ivana Helsinki needed a partner for the launch of its revolutionary responsible fashion concept, Edition of 50 Pieces, which restricts production of every item to just 50 numbered pieces. The label, which is also committed to 100 percent veganism, chose Seychelles and the vegan-only BC Footwear to accessorize the collection for its Paris show.
Sari Ratsula, president/Queen Bee of the California-based brands, was honored on many levels to partner with Ivana Helsinki. For starters, it marks the first time the brands have been featured on a runway during Paris Fashion Week. “We believe fashion is something for everyone to enjoy and pride ourselves on having an attainable price point, so it’s incredibly exciting to have our brands showcased on such an elevated platform,” she says. “Also, I’ve looked to Paris countless times as a source of inspiration, so to now be a part of that in an official sense is a full circle moment and just really, really special.”
Seychelles made exclusive colorways of three of its Spring/Summer ’24 styles for the show. “We made a special vegan version of our Seychelles Monsoon sandal, and we featured the “Used to Love You” heel in caramel velvet and a fabulous green brocade, as well as a beige Nobody But You boot from our BC line,” Ratsula says, noting that the brands collaborated in 2011 and 2012 for New York Fashion Week as well as have been featured in the label’s flagship stores in Helsinki and New York. “As brands, you could call us old friends. We’ve always been in alignment in both ethos and aesthetic, and we hold deep respect for each other’s creativity and work.”
Sustainable design, of course, is a key part of that mutual respect. Ratsula, for one, views sustainability as a working mindset. “There will always be room for improvement, so it’s really about consistently making choices to do better whenever you can,” she says, adding, “When you compare the production of vegan materials to that of animal leather, that alone is less of a drain on the earth’s resources.” She adds, “Choosing renewable materials, like cotton and straw over synthetics, when possible, is even better. And making styles in small batches, producing only what we need, and ensuring all our packaging is paper-based and fully recyclable are other ways we’ve embraced sustainability.”
Paola Suhonen, artistic director Ivana Helsinki, is certainly in agreement on making a lighter global footprint. “I strongly believe that only by limiting the volume can we be truly responsible,” she says. “We have too much of everything in this world.”
Ratsula’s partnership with Ivana Helsinki also extends to their mutual Finnish roots. “It’s exciting for me to work with a heritage Finnish brand, considering that it’s where I grew up,” she says. “The way Paola uses true Finnishness and Finnish nature as an inspiration is truly magical and, quite honestly, made me miss my home country when experiencing the show.”