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Meet designer Mai Niemi -Story

 

Biography of Mai Niemi

 

Mai was born in Kokkola, which was once the centre of Finnish fashion industry. At the age of 15 Mai accounced that she will become a fashion designer. A few years after she graduated from the world Number 1 ranked Central St. Martin´s College of Art in London. In the art school she discovered Finnish mythology and made her theses on Kalevala and its influence to Finnish design and art. Later Mai studied Feng Shui in European School of Fengshui.

Mai returned to Finland with the ambitious mission to design Finland to world fashion map. She first worked in fashion industry for few years and presented her first collection in Moscow. At one time she was creating collections with the famous Swedish designer Gudrun Sjöden. But the rundown of Finnish fashion industry had begun and one after another the factories closed down. There were no need for designers any more. 

In that situation Mai desided to become an independent designer and established her first company, Bliss Design Knitwear. At the same time she opened the first Designer Shop in Helsinki with two other designers. Her Helsinki Design Capitol Shop was in Esplanadi. Now her flagship store is in Helsinki Old town by the Senate Square. 

Mai has followed her dream to become an internationally recognized fashion brand. Her fashion has been sold and exhibited in Germany, Italy, Sweden, USA and China. In Japan and in the Netherlands she also had an own agent.

It all looked very promising, but Mai was not able to get funding in Finland for international growth. To be able to gather growth capital in Finland is virtually impossible due to the small size of the market. The public funding does not fund fashion and private funding systems do not consider small fashion brands worth funding.

One order manufacturing from Germany had to funded by the buyer!

Also the production possibilities in Finland were diminished due to the educational cut downs and production moving to sweat shops. As a sustainable fashion pioneer and forrunner, Mai wanted to manufacture locally. But the makers were not educated any more in the schools. An no factories any more. How to produce?

Also other crazy Finnish Goverment commerce regulations such as this: one single company is not funded to participate to international fairs. This has been a real obstacle. Mai has been invited to Paris Fashion Week, Shanghai and New York Fashion Weeks, but not been able to go due to this rule. Fashion weeks are costly and a small fashion company cannot alone manage the costs.

Other hindrances too:

After the successful test marketing in Japan, the production had to increased. But Mai and her Japan agent did not get any funding for that in Finland. It is not the designer, nor the company, but the Finnish funding system that is the obstacle. 

The creation work of Mai Niemi

When the industrial designer career was over, Mai focused on creating the Finnish cultural knitwear heritage that we lacked unlike the Norwegians or the Irish. So she created The Knitted Kalevala. When it was ready she  refined it into The Magic Wardrobe.

 

In 1999 Mai experienced a download of the New Earth Fashion codes. She was told that in the near future people would demand pure clothes and she has to start design them. In 2000 she started to apply this information to her designs and created a holistic approach to design by combining art, Fengshui, Pyramid science and Kalevala wisdom in order to create sustainable wellbeing & Quantum IAMMAI concept and The Magic Wardrobe.

Her company is called Bliss Design Knitwear which means heavenly joy. Her mission is to help people express their true self and to bring about body bliss, joy and wellbeing by dressing the whole essence, body, mind and spirit, not just the surface. 

Mai came here to to be the Fairy Godmother - to wake up the earth and land of Sleeping Beauties with my Finnish Fairytale.

Mai is I am and is named the fashion Alchemist who wields spirit and divinity into form  inspired of nature´s geometric forms, fairies and dragons. She is named also the Fairy Godmother of Finland as to pay tribute to Kalevala wisdom and Finland´s pre-historic past as one of the most original Finnish fashion designers. Her recognizable etno-futuristic style and Scandinavian mythology combines the magic touch of fairytales and legends with modern minimalism, brightness and novelty.

Global Blue

Mai Niemi B.A. hons. Central St.Martin´s College of Art

Mai Niemi Fashion Designer & fengshui fashion consultant European School of Fengshui

Other: London University - Art, Swedish A-levels, Needlecraft and dress Hammersmith CollegeLondon Drama School, Aalto University, Inno Omnia, Haaga-Helia Business College

Awards: The Inno Omnia Design dissident Award in 2011 and Finnish Textile Industry Finland Phenomena award in 2007.


Companies Bliss Design Knitwear and Mai Niemi Design House located in Kauniainen, Finland.


Mai Niemi Finnish Fairytale flag ship Shop is situated in the heart of Helsinki, in Senate Square at Katariinankatu 4.

Contact info

Mai Niemi Design House

Puutarhatie 4, 02700 Kauniainen, Finland

+358 44 595 7476

mai@mainiemi.com

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