Talented shoe designer Julia Lundsten, known from her own brand FINSK, has recently launched a collaboration with leading wellington boot company from Finland, Nokian. Go Scandinavian’s editor Bianca Wessel met up with Julia Lundsten in Bloomsbury, London, for coffee and a chat about shoe design, rubber as a material and how she transformed Nokian hardwearing long-lasting wellingtons into original fashion staples. -read the full interview HERE!
It was during her studies at the London Royal College of Art she first was encouraged to start her own label as a designer. “It was originally pattern cutting that was my thing.” Julia says when asked if she always had a desire to become a shoe designer. “I’ve always liked structure. My parents were architects and we used to travel the world, looking at buildings. I guess you can say my shoe design is influenced my that. Also, I like designing shoes as it stays the same. The design does not change according to who wears it, like clothing do.”
Julia is tall, slim and light blonde. She dresses effortlessly chic with dark colours in layers, wearing cool leather biker boots by FINSK. We’ve found a small cafe near Bedford Square, where the FINSK HQ is situated.
“I founded FINSK in 2004, with my own collection, selling worldwide. Founding and running your own company is a lot more work than anticipated. You never know how difficult it would be, but you learn as you go.” Julia takes a sip of her coffee. With a smile she continues “You know my dad had a pair of NOKIAN rain boots for more than 20 years. Then he stepped on a nail, and that ruined them. He was so irritated by this as these boots had served him for so long and now he needed a new pair, just because of this stupid nail. I was more taken by the fact that after all those years, the pair of rain boots were still like new. It was the quality that intrigued me. And funnily enough NOKIAN was searching for a shoe designer at the same point.”
Sustainability has always been important to Julia. “Rubber is a natural material.” she says, before sharing she didn’t have much experience with this material from previously. “You just need to investigate, ask and keep asking. I’m sure the people at the factory have been thinking that I was mad. But I only wanted to learn. It’s been great working with rubber. It’s like baking. You create a mold, fill it with rubber and bake it in the oven.” Who would have thought!? All I know is that these rubber boots doesn’t look like traditional wellington boots, more like fashionable footwear. “Well that was the idea” she smiles.
Julia left Finland when she was only 19 as she wanted to explore the world. Today she lives in Central London with her partner and three year old son. Every morning she walks from their home in Tottenham Court to the office, passing British Museum on the way. “What I often do is to pop into the British Museum on my way to work. I’ll have a coffee there, but more importantly it’s the space and quietness that attracts. That’s probably what I miss the most from Finland, space and quietness. We tend to go on holiday to Finland regularly” Julia exclaims. By now it’s started to drizzle. “A perfect day to talk about wellington boots” she giggles, before we make our way back to the FINSK HQ to try on some of the wonderful boots and shoes in the new Julia Lundsten for Nokian collection. A pair of knee length boots are just so comfortable that it’s hard to change into unpractical ballerinas again. But time’s running up. We say goodbye with a promise to stay in touch. And I’m sure this revamping of traditional brand Nokian is only the beginning of a successful collaboration.
Let it rain! We love the elegancy and play of colour in this modern rain boot collection, perfect for the streets of London. These boots will lovingly take care of your feet, in style.