Meet designer Mai Niemi -Story
Fashion artist Mai Niemi B.A.hons
Central St. Martin's College of Art, London
Feng Shui designer, European School of Fengshui
2011 Inno Omnia Design Dissident award
2007 Finland's Teva industry Finnish phenomenon award
Mai Niemi brings a new and revolutionary approach to fashion with her comprehensive and multidimensional IAMMAI innovation. It acts as a watershed that challenges the egalitarian mass fashion by offering organic clothes and stories that are inherently easy to relate to.
Mai Niemi combines art, fashion, Feng Shui, golbal and local myths, Kalevala, fantasy, well-being, connection with nature and vibration technology in her design. Her intimate fashion inspires people around the world.
She combines ancient and modern science and biophysics by dressing the body, mind and spirit and taking an ethno-futuristic step towards step, to a time when we use simple and organic know-how as a factor promoting the well-being of the individual and the environment in the design and manufacture of clothes.
"My company is called Bliss Design Knitwear, which means heavenly joy. My mission is to help people express their true selves and experience physical joy and well-being by dressing the whole being, body, mind and spirit, not just the surface.
I am called the Alchemist of fashion, who conveys spirit and divinity into form. I get inspiration from the geometric shapes of nature. I have been named Finland's Fairy Godmother because I convey the wisdom of the Kalevala and Finland's prehistoric past to this day. My distinctive ethno-futuristic style and Scandinavian mythology combine in my designs with fairy tales and legends to a magical touch with modern minimalism, brightness and novelty."
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 by her collaborators in those countries, 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.
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 College, London 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.
Mai Niemi Design House
Puutarhatie 4, 02700 Kauniainen, Finland
+358 44 595 7476