Eco Furs (Convertible Coat) by Heli Miikkulainen-Gilbert
2013 - 2014, Golden A' Fashion, Apparel and Garment Design Award Winner
I was inspired by the busy career ladies in a need of an intelligent wardrobe and the woolen Scandinavian Rya Rug textiles which, according to the history books, the Vikings used to wrap around themselves on their sea journeys instead of animal skins as the airy woolen rug was lightweight and kept them warm even when a swollen sea soaked them through. I reinterpreted the old textile, hand tufted by using the traditional Rya sewing technique, in a modern way by creating fitted functional garments.
The woolen hand tufted coats are like fur coats in terms of their performance, the difference is in detail, wearability, functionality and animal and environment friendliness. Being constructed of 4 different panels this coat can be 7-in-1. For that reason it makes, for example, a wonderful, money and time saving travel companion. Due to the timeless design and carefully tested durable high quality materials it makes a life time companion.
Design Challenges
To find a luxurious material combination that would make the tufted garments last hard wear day after day, for a life time, like the Vikings tufted wraps would have done at the time. After testing my very first coat for 5 winters daily and deliberately putting the coat under lots of pressure, some wear and tear appeared in the original silk satin lining. I replaced it with thick polyester satin lining which after another 5 winters still looks like new, like the tightly spun tuft and the dense jute canvas base cloth do, too.
Production Technology
Handmade. Produced in small series of standard sizes or made-to-measure. The base coat is first tailored from durable jute canvas and lined with durable polyester satin or alternatively pure silk. Then the coat is tufted by using traditional Scandinavian Rya Rug Sewing Technique with pure lambswool that is specially spun so the threads will not unravel at the cut. The end result is similar to the tufted textiles made on the loom yet lighter, and this technique also allows one to create tufted products of different shapes.
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