Experiencing the Finnish Approach to Design

Megan Exchange student
My name is Megan Gallacher and I am from Edinburgh University, studying Fashion and Clothing Design as an exchange student at LAMK.

I chose to study at LAMK as a previous student from my course in Edinburgh had participated in the exchange program 2 years ago and had thoroughly enjoyed her experience. I was also aware that the course had a focus on environmental impact in relation to fashion design, which is a heated topic at the moment. It was something that I have been interested in and wanted to further peruse. I had also wanted to come and experience the Finnish approach to design as well as the Finnish culture.

It has been eye opening to see just how different Fashion and Clothing Design has been taught here.

So far I have participated in 4 courses, Eco Efficient design, Fashion Concept, Advanced pattern cutting and Printing Textiles. My main focus has been Eco Design but I have found that each of the courses has melted together. I have been able to build on my ideas and thoughts as each course has allowed me to explore further into that ways that I foresee fashion in the future. 

I have also been able to develop as a designer, pushing my style and skills to a higher level allowing me to achieve my visions more accurately.  Along with this I have been able to deepen my knowledge on the environmental impact that fashion has and start to find new concepts to creating a zero waste approach. This is a topic that I will take with me into the future as well to my department back home. 

It has been eye opening to see just how different Fashion and Clothing Design has been taught here, spending more time thinking about my concept and using thoughts instead of images to develop. 

Megan Zero Waste

New ways to tackle Zero Waste

It has also been a shock to see how much wastage I have created in the past. I have always been aware of trying to reduce the environmental impact but coming to LAMK has shown me new ways to tackle Zero Waste, dramatically cutting down resources. 

It has taught me to cut down most from the design stage as well as just thinking about the end life of garments.  It has also been challenging answering questions about my work where at LAMK my tutors have not only questioned why my designs matter and what they bring to people but I need explanations for why they need to be produced, when there is so much wastage at the moment and literally billions of garments being produced a year. 

It is important to make sure that we as designer are not adding to this problem but solving it. By spending more time focusing on the concept of my ideas I have been able to create pieces that work alongside my values to produce responsible design.

I think Finland is a stunning country.

I had done some research about Finland and Lahti before moving here, especially looking into the local sports and traditions such as the Ski Jump, ice fishing and cross-country skiing. As well as noticing Finns love their saunas, I am hoping I will be able to find one when I go home!  

I love the relaxed and quiet nature of the Finns. They are much friendlier and easily approachable than I had been warned about. Almost everyone that I have met here has been friendly and has been happy to pass on knowledge about activities to do here. I think Finland is a stunning country although a lot flatter than I had expected and I am still trying to get used to the quietness of the streets.

Getting to think the bigger picture outside of university

I have been extremely lucky and have had a lot of support from the fellow classmates when it has come to adapting to the new course systems. I am living with a large group of exchange students, where everyone is very interested in trying new Finnish experiences including trips around and out of Finland.

LAMK is a university that seems to really care about their students and I have found that talking to the teachers is more a discussion of ideas than instructions. I have found this to be better suited to my ideas and process as it has allowed my room to explore more options and think about what I want to achieve. 

I feel like the teachers in my departments are very welcoming and are always there for advise and help throughout the design process and are helping to push my designs. Their knowledge of the industry is always beneficial and valuable as they have started to get me to think about the bigger picture outside of university.

Future with eco friendly design

In the future I think that I will move to London to start off my career. I will start off working for bigger companies to gain more knowledge and connections, to see how they are run. In the end I would like to start up my own small company, move away from London, focused more upon my ideas of eco friendly and simplistic design.