Rolf Ekroth taps into his Finnish heritage and his brand’s signature theme of nostalgia with its autumn/winter ‘24 collection
“This is the most Finnish collection I’ve done so far,” proclaims Rolf Ekroth of his eponymous brand’s autumn/winter ’24 line-up. Entitled ‘Dear Night’, the showcase whisks us away to comforting nostalgia and Ekroth’s childhood memories of a snowy Finland in the 1980s, when quality time with the family was spent by eagerly watching traditional Finnish winter sports like cross-country skiing, ski jumping and ice hockey — from the warmth of a cushy sofa at home.
Set in the industrial surroundings of Øksnehallen, a former meat market hall, ’80s greats like The Fall, Depeche Mode, and Bruce Springsteen reverberate through the space as models emerge on the runway, their cheeks flushed as if they had just frolicked for hours in subzero temperatures. There are reimagined, quintessential winter sports pieces, including a hand-knitted ski jumping suit, an ice hockey shirt crafted from soft wool, buttery leather shorts reminiscent of those worn by goalkeepers, and race bib-inspired bags. Renditions of the couch, central in Ekroth’s treasured memories, find their form in garments created from plush velvet, floral prints and slouchy, supple reindeer leather jackets with fabric-enclosed button details — literally resembling a vintage leather sofa. “Of the entire collection, 85 per cent has been crafted from recycled or deadstock materials,” Ekroth notes.
The design process transported Ekroth back to his grandmother’s house in North Karelia, where he spent many freezing cold and dark winters. The collection’s colour palette reflects the familiar, muted tones that dominated Finnish homes in the ’80s. Although Ekroth draws from nostalgia, a recurring theme in his collections, the contemporary, oversized silhouettes and clean cuts ensure the collection remains modern and relevant. “I didn’t want to just romanticise and get stuck in a bygone era, but to bring it to this day,” he says.
For this season, Ekroth secured three notable collaborations. The footwear was received via a partnership with Puma Nordics, which also provided old football shirts Ekroth repurposed for the collection. Finnish quality rug company Mattocenter supplied sofa cushion fabric that was fashioned into bags. For all the knitwear, Ekroth teamed up with Novita, one of the largest craft yarn manufacturers in the Nordics. “To honour the knitting tradition in Finland, full yarn and instruction sets will be available for those wishing to recreate a runway knit piece once the collection hits the stores next autumn,” Ekroth reveals.