In the latest of his Personal style series, Fiacha Harrington sits down with Indigofera’s Ambassador Kari Salmela. As well as discussing Kari’s favourite brands, they look at heritage vs streetwear and how men’s clothing has changed appearances.
- Name: Kari Salmela
- Age: 39 – having a forties crisis
- Lives: Helsinki
- Occupation: Ambassador for Indigofera
Fiacha Harrington: Let’s start with what you are wearing today?
Kari Salmela: Full on Indigofera outfit; I got our Wyatt bootcut (jeans) in thunder black. Then I have our Cliffland long-sleeve shirt, a Wes Lang collaboration. And then I’m wearing a leather vest from the Israel Nash collection. I have a belt by Snake Oil Provisions. On my fingers I have an Indigofera silver ring, only ten pieces of these made back in the day. I also have rings by Worn Over Time. I have this bracelet by Pig & Hen and a wallet by Soxisix which is on an Emma Potz chain. I am also wearing a pair of Wesco boots.
FH: Are these the type of clothes you usually wear?
KS: Pretty much, as you work with the brand (Indigofera) you get to be part of developing the style and the outfits, it makes it pretty easy to go with the brand. Normally I would say that I wear pretty basic clothing, flannel shirts, workwear, maybe the vest is more flamboyant than my normal daily wear is, but it is my favourite piece of clothing and I wear it to the grocery store, the local bar and to events or whatever. Rings I use a lot, so I would say this is fairly representative of my daily wear.
FH: Working in the clothing industry you probably wear a lot of clothes that do represent the brand that you work for. But what are you personal go to brands?
KS: At the moment I would say my strongest favourite is Stevenson Overalls Co., because they represent the kind of Western style that is made to perfection. I have noticed when I travel around the world and I visit stores, that I’m very attracted to what they are doing. Roundabout Goods is another brand that is close to my heart. I know the guys from both brands, they are good people and they have a strong passion for what they do. I’m also an outdoors type of guy, Patagonia is a brand that I’ve always loved what they do. At the moment they have the best clothing advertisement campaign in the entire clothing industry and the values that they represent and how they are marketing themselves are great.
Patagonia is a brand that I’ve always loved what they do. At the moment they have the best clothing advertisement campaign in the entire clothing industry
FH: Where do you get your influences from?
KS: Mainly from people around me. As I said earlier I travel a lot and I meet a lot of interesting people from different industries, be they clothes, jewelry, motorcycles or cafe’s – these people inspire me. I also would say nature is a big influence on me, the colors that you get from nature. Motorcycles, in particular late 1960s motorcycle culture is also close to my heart.
I also would say nature is a big influence on me, the colors that you get from nature. Motorcycles, in particular late 1960s motorcycle culture is also close to my heart.
FH: Your job allows you the opportunity to travel a lot, how does Finnish Men’s fashion compare to others that you see?
KS: Very difficult question to answer. Because I travel to such a variety of different places. I have retailers in towns that only have 5,000 people, to big cities that have populations of millions. What I try to do is to analyse the town i’m visiting by checking out the town early before my meetings and to try figure out is it a rich city, an industrial city or an university city – all these things matter and it reflects what kind of clothing people wear. For me Helsinki’s Kamppi is the area that I roam around and I find it difficult to pinpoint what city this is. I think it is very international.
For me Helsinki’s Kamppi is the area that I roam around and I find it difficult to pinpoint what city this is.
FH: What do you find are the biggest differences in style here and elsewhere?
KS: Well, I have never seen anyone wearing shorts in April other than here when it is plus five degrees.
FH: You work in the heritage clothing business, what do you think about the prevalence of streetwear, and is there a crossover to heritage fashion?
KS: I would say there is room for crossover. Workwear is the crossover point. A few years ago my son watched a movie called Dogtown and Z Boys – and there you have Jay Adams, with a great style, wearing work pants and a flannel shirt. My son adopted that style and to me it felt very appealing and fresh. That movie is where I saw streetwear and heritage clothing going hand in hand.
FH: Finally, what is your perception of men’s clothing in general?
KS: I think that men are finally allowed to look like men again. The look is not too styled – I do see that there are different trends, but nothing is too dominant. Having men look like men again is very refreshing after several years where men lost their identity when it comes to fashion and style.
Having men look like men again is very refreshing after several years where men lost their identity when it comes to fashion and style.
FH: Do you think men make a bigger effort in the way that they dress now?
KS: Like what I was saying earlier, men now have a kind of freedom. And with that freedom they have more fun and that leads to them making a bigger effort in the way they present themselves. They are finding their own style, finding their own brands and how to mix and match to make a look.