Helsinki-based fashion designer Ervin Latimer told Design Stories what he’s up to and picked some wallet-friendly and easily approachable gift ideas from the Finnish Design Shop collection. “Despite my busy schedule, I always find time to relax at Christmas and spend time with my family,” says Ervin.
Hi, Ervin! What have you been up to lately?
“The end of the year is an exciting time as I wait for the results of my grant applications and work on concepts for my new collection. My brand, Latimmier, is part of Copenhagen Fashion Week’s Newtalent incubator program for the second time. That is where we will be presenting our new concept in late January and early February 2023.
So I’m keeping busy, and as an entrepreneur, I often feel that no matter what the season, I’m always busy. But despite my busy schedule, I always find time to relax at Christmas and spend time with my family.”
What traditions do you or your family have for end-of-year celebrations?
“I spend Christmas in Vantaa with my nuclear family. I spend several nights in my childhood home, which feels like a wonderful holiday, even though it’s all in the greater Helsinki area. The work of a designer is rewarding in that I get to do a variety of things, always trying something new. Our family’s Christmas could be described as rather traditional and I find it nice that there is something constant year from year – as so many other things in my life change and develop all the time.
We also eat and prepare traditional Christmas foods, in which we also get help from our close relatives. My aunt traditionally makes our Christmas casseroles and also the world’s best gingerbread cookie dough! We exchange gifts and foods on December 23rd, combined with some glogg, making for an important tradition for us. We kept up the tradition also during the coronavirus pandemic, eating the cookies and drinking the glogg within a safe distance from each other outdoors.
I’ve been dreaming every year about learning to make some new dish fit for Christmas, something that could become a new tradition to our Christmas table. I’ve decided that this year I really will do it.”
“I’ve been dreaming every year about learning to make some new dish fit for Christmas, something that could become a new tradition to our Christmas table.”
What is the best Christmas gift you have received or given?
“The most important Christmas present must be a bag that I made of recycled leather and gave to my friend. I was a fashion student with little money to spare at the time, so to save money, I used my old leather jacket to make a bag. Before long people I knew started asking for similar bags, and I always designed a new kind of bag for them.
It didn’t take long until I started up a business and began selling bags in my online shop. Although the accessory design wasn’t a great passion for me in the end, something clicked in me about them, leading me eventually on the path where I’m now as a designer.”
Ervin Latimer’s gift picks:
Ripple collection by ferm LIVING
“Ferm LIVING’s Ripple collection is delicate and suitably personal, but timeless. I love these champagne glasses, because you use them to drink some bubbly, but I sometimes also use them as dessert bowls, for example for ice cream. A set of two is a suitable gift for that special someone who you want to make a toast with.”
• Ripple champagne saucer by ferm LIVING >
• All drinkware >
Siena pouch by Artek
“The Siena pattern by Alvar Aalto is a mega classic that can be used for a number of products. This Siena pouch is a good gift to a creative person, either as a pencil case or for any other art accessories and tools. Thanks to the beautiful pattern, you don’t have to hide it away, but leave it on the desk or shelf.”
• Siena pouch by Artek >
• All hygiene & cosmetics >
Shoe care box by Iris Hantverk
“The relentless Finnish winter weather puts great demands on leather shoes. When you make it a regular ritual to care for your shoes, especially in the autumn and winter, you can extend the life of your shoes considerably. Iris Hantverk’s shoe care box has everything you need for proper shoe care. The beautiful and simple box also pleases the aesthetic eye of a person who doesn’t like to have various jars, cloths and brushes lying around.”
• Shoe care box by Iris Hantverk >
• All garment care >
Toolbox by Vitra
“Toolbox by Vitra is perfect at least for a creative scatterbrain like me who loses every tool as I put them down. I use these in my own studio for basic stationery and sewing and for the tools I need for making patterns. I love it that when you’re in a hurry, you can place your items in the box any old way – in perfect disorder.”
• Toolbox by Vitra >
• Storage containers >
Fabric shaver by Steamery
“Lint removers can perform miracles: for woollen products, such as knitwear and blankets, it is a natural part of maintenance. As a clothing designer, I would like to see people have a better understanding of clothing maintenance. Steamery’s fabric shaver is first and foremost a responsible gift, encouraging people to take good care of their clothes and make them last longer!”
• Pilo No. 2 fabric shaver by Steamery >
• All housekeeping >
Umpu vase by Marimekko
“The design of the Marimekko Umpu vase is a perfect combination of something bold and playful. I’ve longed to have one of these for ages because in my small home, there’s no space in cupboards for them. Umpu looks just as great with flowers in it, or when it’s empty waiting for its turn in the bookcase.”
• Umpu vase by Marimekko >
• All vases >
Ervin’s TOP3 this Christmas:
- Home Alone film
- Christmas cookies made using my aunt’s dough
- Relaxing in my childhood home
• More gift ideas at Finnish Design Shop >
Text: Sarianna Määttänen Potreit: Sofia Okkonen Images: Manufacturers