Designing the epic setting

See how designer Linda Bergroth created the breathtaking fashion show setting that took over runway 33 at Helsinki Airport.

Getting the big picture

Photographer Guillaume Roujas first thought that the project was impossible to pull off. See how everything turned out…

Presenting the signature collection

Designer Bora Aksu is all about telling stories through his designs. Take a look to see how he felt about sending his signature collection down an actual runway.


Once again, Match Made in HEL took the impossible and made it possible. On May 24th 2016, seven of the most intriguing designers from Asia and Europe came together at Helsinki Airport to put on an extraordinary event – a fashion show on a real airport runway.


by Arashi Yanagawa

A former professional boxer, Arashi Yanagawa, named his collection as a tribute to the boxer John Lawrence Sullivan, whose strength, personality, dignity and courage made him legendary.

Get to know the designer

Arashi Yanagawa


John Lawrence Sullivan ready-to-wear collection was launched in 2003. It draws inspiration from traditional tailoring and the icons of the masculine wardrobe, which Yanagawa updates with a contemporary twist and sub-culture references. John Lawrence Sullivan is stocked at major international retailers and its self-standing flagship store in Tokyo.

Arashi’s guide to TOKYO

1/3 Restaurant Higurashi

“I often go to a restaurant in Nakameguro called Higurashi. A friend of mine owns it. When I come back from a business trip abroad, I always want to eat Japanese food. It’s one of the first places I visit.”

2/3 Bookstore Tsutaya

“I mostly go to the Tsutaya bookstore near my office. I often need to buy reference materials, and that’s where I usually look for them. They have an excellent book selection. Most Western magazines are hard to find in Japan, but in Tsutaya I can buy the ones I like.”

3/3 Shinjuku Gyoen Garden

“I sometimes go to the Shinjuku Gyoen Garden. It’s in the middle of the city – but you can get refreshed just by taking a walk there. I haven’t visited there lately, but I used to go a lot during holidays.”

Designer 2/7SANKUANZ

by Shangguan Zhe

Chinese Shangguan Zhe launched his menswear collection Sankuanz in 2008. The collection that has gained cult status combines the extremes and tensions of East and West into a creative but wearable balance.

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Shangguan Zhe


Zhe has been hailed as one of fashion’s most creative young talents. In his collections he mixes conservative conventions and popular culture by combining unprejudiced materials, razor-sharp cuts, androgynous athleticism, and playful graphics. Sankuanz has been presented during the men’s fashion week in both London and Paris.


1/3 Power Station of Art

“There is a contemporary art museum in Shanghai, called the Power Station of Art. I visit every one of its exhibitions because I think it’s an awesome contemporary art museum. The building and venue are outstanding. I like them very much.”

2/3 1933 Old Millfun

“The 1933 Old Millfun is a very old building in Shanghai. It was originally a slaughterhouse. It’s architectural design and functionality makes it a very special place and I think it’s really impressive. ”

3/3 Anxi second-hand Market

“It is quite different – many local Shanghai people are buying second-hand clothes – not the kind of second-hand clothes that we think are cool, but really old, used clothes. Besides clothes, they also sell many other interesting things for daily use. So I think that it’s a symbol of old Shanghai. ”

Designer 3/7BORA AKSU

by Bora Aksu

London-based Bora Aksu is best known for his intricate handcrafted lace dresses. Countless celebrities, including Tori Amos and Keira Knightley, have been spotted wearing his designs.

Get to know the designer

Bora Aksu


Aksu’s uniquely romantic and elegantly seductive collections are stocked by leading luxury retailers. He designs four collections per year and launched an accessories collection in 2012. Aksu has collaborated with numerous international brands including Adidas, Converse and People Tree.

Bora Aksu’s Guide to LONDON

1/3 Whitechapel Gallery

“Whitechapel Gallery in East London is an amazing gallery. It’s not just about art pieces but it’s almost like a small world with different rooms. You can actually interact with the work and, in a way, be a part of the pieces. Although the gallery is a bit far from my studio nowadays, I still sometimes use it as my getaway.”

2/3 Angel Antique Market

“I like things and places with a story attached to them. To get inspired for my work, I often visit second-hand shops and antique stores. In Angel Antiques Market and its vintage shops you’ll each time find something that you’re not expecting to find.”

3/3 Charing Cross Road

“Second-hand bookshops at Charing Cross Road are fascinating places to visit with their basements, back rooms and dust-covered books. It’s a bit sad, however, that more commercial shops are replacing these old ones one by one. But as there are some of them still there, Charing Cross Road is definitely worth a visit.”


by Henrik Vibskov

Danish Henrik Vibskov is associated with not only his collections for men and women, but also with the enchanting worlds he creates through music and art installations.

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Henrik Vibskov


Vibskov’s collections include ready-to-wear, shoes and accessories. The names of the latest collections, including “The Transparent Tongue“ and “The Spaghetti Handjob“, aptly describe the unconventional universes Vibskov creates. Vibskov is a member of the Chambre Syndicale de la Mode Masculine and the only Nordic designer currently on the official show schedule at the Paris Men’s Fashion Week.


1/3 Christianshavn

“You can rent a little boat down here, row a bit around and look romantic. Then why not to walk up to Christiania and have a cheap falafel for a snack. I would just hang out a bit here. In this area. No need to go in inner city.”

2/3 Statens Museum for Kunst

“Statens Museum for Kunst is like the main museum in Copenhagen. On weekends, they have a kids’ workshop open. I go there with my kids, and we build strange things with glue guns, matches and ice cream sticks. I think it’s like a small little fun universe, and you can paint and do all kinds of things.”

3/3 H.C. Ørstedsparken

“In the middle of the city, there’s a park with a tiny lake called H.C. Ørstedsparken. There’s also an old train bridge construction going over, it’s very romantic. The park is a good hangout, and that’s why there is always a lot going on… Kids playing, people sunbathing and having parties.”

Designer 5/7HAAL

by Anders Haal

Swedish designer Anders Haal is best known for his conceptual and thought-provoking ready-to-wear and eyewear collections.

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Anders Haal


Launched in 2013, the Haal collection quickly attracted the attention of leading retailers LN-CC and Opening Ceremony and the legendary French fashion magazine Purple Fashion. Haal is recognized for its carefully constructed image created in collaboration with top stylist Niklas Bildstein-Zaar and photographer Robi Rodriguez.


1/3 Djurgården canal

“Djurgården canal is a place I visit as much as I can, just to clear my mind. Here in Stockholm almost everything is somehow connected with water, and that’s really important for me – as is nature in general.”

2/3 Fotografiska

“Fotografiska, a centre for contemporary photography, is a really good museum where I go to get inspired. They have plenty of great exhibitions and a good shop as well.”

3/3 Sundbyberg brewery

“Want to have a beer? Sundbyberg brewery is an interesting place to visit! The brewery is actually located in an old church.”


by Heikki Salonen

Finnish designer Heikki Salonen’s lovingly crafted ready-to-wear pieces create a seasonless every day wardrobe.

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Heikki Salonen


Salonen launched his eponymous collection in 2009 during London Fashion Week, after winning the prestigious International Talent Support (ITS) contest. Salonen’s collections are a mix of sophistication and edgy coarseness, spirituality and dissidence. This is evidenced by the innovative use of material and meticulous cut. Alongside designing his own collection, Salonen works as a Design Director for brands under the OTB Group.


1/3 Ilposet Shop

“We live in Kruununhaka and Ilposet is where my morning starts. I always walk there and get the news from the lovely Ilponen lady. Great coffee, it’s the cheapest around there.”

2/3 Mustikkamaa Island

“Mustikkamaa is like a little escape, with such a great coastal view. If you know Wallander, which is the great detective series from Sweden, it’s exactly like that coast where Wallander always walks with his dog. We are walking with ours. ”

3/3 Kallio district

“Kallio has so many stories. That’s my Helsinki. That’s where I used to live. I have always been drawn to Kallio, because it’s a little bit more decadent area of Helsinki. It’s way more likely to find someone like-minded from that area than in the other areas.”

Designer 7/7HYEIN SEO

by Hyein Seo

South-Korean designer Hyein Seo won the British Fashion Council’s prestigious IFS Award in 2014. Today, she’s among the most followed of Korea’s new generation of avant-garde designers.

Get to know the designer

Hyein Seo


Seo draws inspiration from hiphop, the 1990’s fashion scene and the movies of Jim Jarmusch and Dario Argento. Her latest collection, ”Fear Eats the Soul”, shows luxurious furs, jewels and red-painted lips in a modern light, adding a touch of cheeky humour to traditional gloomy horror film aesthetics. Seo is quickly gaining cult status and attracting the attention of international media and buyers.


1/4 Post Poetics

“Post Poetics is my favourite bookstore that we frequently went to when we were students. They have a good selection of art books and magazines that you can’t easily find in Korea.”

2/4 This is never that

“’This is never that’ is a street brand of our friends’. They have their own store in Mapo district, where they sell the hottest street-wear you can find in Seoul.”

3/4 The Museum of National Contemporary Art

“The Museum of National Contemporary Art is right next to Kyung Bok Palace. It’s a quiet museum where you can walk around and enjoy good modern Korean art.”

4/4 Restaurant Parc

“Parc is a local family restaurant in Itaewon area. They serve true Korean comfort food that a typical Korean mother would make for you. Koreans eat lots of small dishes, and our kitchen is especially known for its many side dishes we eat with rice.”

Tuomas Laitinen Invitational

On May 2016 Asia and Europe came together in Helsinki, as seven of today’s most interesting fashion designers flew to Helsinki Airport for a fashion show unlike any other. These designers, hailed as European and Asian fashion visionaries, were hand-picked by Tuomas Laitinen, one of Finland’s most influential fashion trendsetters.

Watch the film

Tuomas Laitinen Invitational

Tuomas Laitinen

Tuomas Laitinen is a lecturer of Fashion Design at Aalto University. In the recent years Aalto has gained the attention of fashion media and talent scouts after the university’s students’ success at international design competitions. Aalto fashion alumni can be found working at leading fashion houses such as Saint Laurent, Lanvin, Balenciaga, Marimekko and Alexander Wang.

Laitinen, accompanied by his sister, Anna Laitinen, took home one of the top prizes at the prestigious Hyères Fashion Festival in 2006. Their success propelled them to launch Laitinen menswear collection, which garnered keen attention of top international retailers and gained broad exposure in leading fashion publications. Teaching is currently Mr. Laitinen’s main area of focus, but he also works as a stylist, fashion consultant and Fashion Director of SSAW Magazine.

This is Match Made in HEL

Match made in HEL is a campaign that celebrates Nordic uniqueness of Helsinki as the midway point between Asia and Europe. This is the hub where the world’s most fascinating events take place, connecting the brightest talents of two continents.

2014 Arto Saari Invitational

HEL broke loose for the first time in 2014, when a bunch of skateboarders turned Helsinki Airport into a skate park.

2016 The Runway

Boundaries of HEL were tested once again, when the top of the fashion world from Europe and Asia came together to put on an ultimate fashion show – on an airport runway.

Top names in aviation collaborate to create fashion event

People have always traveled far and wide for fashion, and fashion has always been inspired by travel. Finnair, with Helsinki Airport as its home base, has been flying trendsetters and trends around the world for nearly one hundred years - always via Helsinki Airport, the shortest route. Finnair’s northern route is, after all, the shortest distance between Europe and Asia.

The Finnish airline Finnair flies the shortest and fastest routes between top destinations in Europe and Asia.

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