What Fight Club was to movies, MAKIA is to apparel.
The surf and skate label seems to revel in a raw and unapologetic toughness, not often found in the marketing material of a major clothing line. Theirs is a devil-may-care attitude, complete with unusual imagery and models, tongue-in-cheek language, and style categories divided by “rival gangs.”
While a company less committed to such a rough and rowdy image might betray the sincerity of their claim to true grit, MAKIA is unfaltering in their roughian’s philosphy, even to the point of self-citicism. The company’s strength lies in its accepting responsibility for “every imaginable mistake and learning from it.” It’s rebellion for grown-ups.
By way of allegory, they offer the following: “After a bar fight you still turn up to work the next morning for yet another great workday with the guy who gave you a black eye. That’s what maturity is. After all, life is a hard romance.”
The U.S. is by no means lacking in labels, founded or headed by extreme sports stars, which try to maintain an edge while still aiming toward a wholesome image. But MAKIA is not American, and by comparison, its marketing, aesthetic, and philosophy is just, well, strange. Maybe MAKIA’s Scandanavian roots have something to do with that, or maybe it’s just the individuals that make up their team.
The Helsinki-based label has been around since 2001, launched by former professional snowboarder Joni Malmi along with friends Ivar Fougstedt and Jussi Oksanen. The label has since seen the addition of another pro snowboarder, Jesse Hyväri.
Since its launch, MAKIA’s unconventional, unpolished vision has not gone unnoticed. In 2009, the company began exporting and now sells in 20 countries worldwide.
And this year, the Federation of Finnish Textiles and Clothing Industries (FINATEX) awarded MAKIA their Finnish Fashion Act Award, congratulating them on their fresh approach and innovative work.
“The good vibe and strong attitude […] are conveyed across the line from the products to the marketing and all the way to the visual look,” said FINATEX’s managing director Satu Mehtälä.
The difference with MAKIA is that its autheticity shines through, as does the attitude of the people who have formed it from its core. In their own words, MAKIA is “maintained by the errors and triumphs of a bunch of individuals, MAKIA strives for the better. It’s not a produced thing, but a fact.”