In her collection Erika Airo tries to find ways back to an environment that no longer exists the way she once experienced it. Feelings of longing and uncertainty are strongly present as the clothing molds into landmarks and coordinates that she uses to try and attach herself to the passing of time. Many pieces serve as a link to a specific memory or feeling, whether it’s through the material, form or the way of making. Analyzing the way she dresses and uses clothing to build herself up has been an important tool for research as have the hundreds of photos documenting her surroundings, mostly from walks with the family cat.
Airo remembers through materials. The memory of how something feels on the skin has very intuitively driven the process of choosing fabrics and brought forward a personal logic clear to the designer, of why everything is how it is in her collection. Also creating material like knits and weaves by hand has been a patient yet rewarding exploration of trying very tangibly to build around the pieces of Airo’s past surroundings.
– The collection reflects my relationship to my personal history and the environment where I grew up. My thoughts have focused mainly on the forests and fields of Viikki which feel like my own though they are public spaces I have only passed through.
Shell fabrics and nightgowns nods to Airo’s tattoo practice in the form of hand knit and woven textiles. They aim to create a both visual and sensory experience as she figures out her own visual language. Mirroring the process of tattooing to making of clothes has been a continuous effort to bring ease and trust for the process itself while embracing the shifts in the changes of formats, from paper to ink to skin to clothing.
– Making of the collection has felt very dream-like. It’s me trying to materialize for myself a version of time or a fading feeling I’d like to hold closer. I’m trying to pull back pieces of me. Trying to find some steady ground with myself.