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Minna Parikka

Young Designer of the Year 2014

Minna, who are you and how did you become a shoe designer?
I'm living my teenage dream, thanks to my photographer sister Nina Dodd, who interviewed shoe designer Andrea Phister when I was fifteen. It was like being struck by lightning to realize that I could make a career out of the shoes that I coveted.

Tell us about your work!
It's fun and challenging and it always leads to new adventures. Without my own business and brand, I would never have met so many people or got into positively strange situations around the world.

Where do you find your inspiration or ideas?
You must never grow up to be a serious adult. At least not in matters of dress, and especially in design.

What's hard about your work?
Shoes are the hardest fashion product to make. A shoe requires tens of components and production stages. You can come across cultural differences in working habits when dealing with South European manufacturers.

When do you feel you've been successful?
When there's money in the company's account.

What is the most important thing about shoes and shoe design?
Expressing personality and a sense of humour. High-quality materials and manufacturing. For the shoe to fit the wearer's foot. And of course to be abreast of the times, while not chasing temporary trends.

Can you let go in shoe design?
That's the whole purpose of fashion and shoes!

What's your greatest professional dream?
To see the Minna Parikka brand do well decades from now and for it to be an important international shoe brand.

What is it like to be a Finnish shoe designer in the 21st century?

The Minna Parikka brand would not be where it is now without the support and enthusiasm of Finnish women for my products. No one will come to Finland to look for new brands, which means that we must be continuously focused outwards. Without customers buying the products, this would not have been possible and my products would not now be sold in 25 different countries.

What would you do if you were not a designer?
I'd be an explorer or I'd run a business organizing experience tours.

What inspires you right now?
Helsinki. I've spent the past six months in Asia doing market research, volunteer work and travelling. It's wonderful to be back home again, and with my team. 

What next?
The SS15 collection will be completely different, reflecting the time I've spent in Asia. Shoes of health-sandal type will be a new feature in the collection.