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the hieno suomi 100

[The Hieno! Suomi 100] Interview with Michaela Istokova, a super talented visual creative.

Finnish People, Finnish Society, Foreigners in Finland, Official Finland 100 Series Endorsed by Prime Minister's Office

Today, as part of The Hieno! “What is Finnish-ness” series celebrating Suomi 100, we have the huge privilege of featuring Michaela Istokova.

Michaela Istokova is our amazingly talented designer-cum-illustrator for the The Hieno! Suomi 100 official e-book. You can view her portfolio here and here.

Enjoy this interview! 🙂

TH: Hello Michaela! Can you tell us more about yourself and what you are doing in Finland?

Michaela Istokova: Hello Wan Wei, or should I rather say “Moikka”? 🙂

I am a graphic designer and illustrator from Bratislava in Slovakia, and I am now working in an international development X design agency M4ID as a Visual Creative.

I moved to Finland about five years ago when I found a part-time job and a Finnish boyfriend Esa.

Since then I’ve been here sort of on and off, employed, unemployed, freelancing, everything.

TH: What are the three things you appreciate most about Finland?

Michaela Istokova: I am comparing Finland to what I had experienced in the three countries where I lived (Slovakia, Czechia and Malaysia). These three things stand out for me:

  • The way this country is governed and Finland’s admirable lack of scandalous corruption.
  • Quality of living in terms of the high quality of apartments and the services they offer. For example, there are communal washing and drying rooms, communal saunas, tables outside houses, etc…
  • Gender equality that I feel the most when wearing shapeless, potato bag dresses and nobody is judging me!

In my home country I would be definitely judged, most women there strive to look very feminine…Here in Finland it’s alright to look whatever way you want to look, and not just in the cosmopolitan Helsinki, but even in the countryside.

This may be different for, for example, Muslim women that are veiled, but in my case of a ¼ Asian white person, nobody judges my questionable fashion choices and the ways I choose to present myself as a woman. 😀

TH: Who inspires you the most? 

Michaela Istokova: I am inspired by people who do their own thing and create something amazing and beneficial.

For example, in Slovakia I have two friends – Miska from Puojd and Janka from Froggywear – who both create clothes but each has their own target audience. They are both successful at basically, being themselves and executing their vision and that is very inspirational to me!

So, generally I like fearless people who are going after their goal. 🙂

TH: What do you think are the unique aspects of Finnish design?

Michaela Istokova: Finland has a lot of textile design brands that create patterns that are mostly very bold, big and very bright.

Mostly it’s very graphic, maybe just Pentik does a bit softer, gentler design from the well-known brands.

Then I have also noticed that Finns like contrasting black lines, like you can see in the designs of Finlayson and the Arabia Moomin mugs for example – but obviously, Tove Jansson drew Moomins like that, and so it’s a wonderful established style.

I also like the Finnish designers’ use of motifs from the nature and Finnish cities (again, Finlayson) and their nice sense of humour evident in many designs. For example in Lapuan Kankurit’s design with many naked men in sauna!

Excellent stuff, I bought it for my mom.

TH: Ohhhhh many, many naked Finnish men!! *pervs* That being said, if Finland were a person, how would he or she look like?

Michaela Istokova: The illustration you see here is actually something I did as a personal project for the 99th birthday of independent Finland, just recently.


I decided to illustrate a lady, let’s call her Marja Lumi [which means Berry Snow :)]. This is because it’s good to be a woman in Finland. She is also blonde, because once I read somewhere that Finland has the highest percentage of blonde people in the world.

Marja Lumi is enjoying a bit of löyly in sauna, having her saunakalja nearby and wearing a wreath made of flora commonly found in Finland, including the national flower, lily of the valley.

She has hairy legs, because really, people don’t care much and that’s great!

Be hairy here, my friend, it’s alright – we are all equal in sauna. 😀

TH: Haha, and who would her enemies be?

Michaela Istokova: I think my Marja Lumi would be very annoyed at sexist, patriarchal idiots who are intolerant to her freedom, her beer drinking, her meh attitude towards shaving, her general independence and high level of attained education.

TH: What do you think are some of the popular misconceptions of Finland that foreigners might have?

Michaela Istokova: A lot of people seems to think that Finns are introverted metal lovers with alcohol abuse problems that sit in sauna all day and then swim in icy lakes.

I find that kind of funny, especially the alcohol and metal part – at least in my circles not so many people drink too much or listen to metal!

Finland is also associated with suicidal behaviour, and sadly here I actually know several Finnish people who either had someone close to them commit a suicide. Or, in one case, one friend of mine did it a couple of years ago too.

I guess mental health is not in so much in focus here, and people are just encouraged to “have sisu” but that’s not always cutting it. :/

TH: Can you share some of the most memorable experiences you have in Finland? They could be funny, weird, offensive or out-of-the-world.

Michaela Istokova: My boyfriend Esa and I went on an extended business trip (for him) and a totally cool roadtrip (for me) to Lapland last summer and that was just wonderful.

My home country is small, hilly and rather crowded, so when I experienced the vast taigas of Lapland, I was in love. In particular, approaching Kemijärvi (the town) on the bridge above Kemijärvi (the lake) was a total highlight and now I platonically love this town!

I also had a nice experience last summer in Joensuu when I was buying two woven baskets from a lady on the market. I speak (badly) in Finnish. However, she didn’t mind and she was really curious about me. Also, she was very delighted that we can talk together in Finnish. Somehow that made me feel quite integrated and accepted in this often puzzling society haha 😀

Oh and one last experience – when we lived in Tampere, there was a totally enchanted forest behind our apartment where excellent mushrooms grew in unbelievable quantities. We were picking them and drying them and at one point we had so much that we had to dry them in our apartment sauna…oh, what a dream!

TH: What is the one birthday wish you have for Finland this year, since it is its 100th birthday? 

Michaela Istokova: I wish Finland to loosen up a bit in certain aspects.

Namely, the hostile attitude towards street art and the severely restricted sale of alcohol in grocery stores.

I also wish Finland can keep up its excellent work in many other aspects.

And I wish that more people would visit here and beyond just Helsinki and Rovaniemi, because Finland has a lot of lovely places to offer!

TH: On a parting note, do you have anything else to add?

Michaela Istokova: If you can, visit Northern Karelia, it’s wonderful.

Swimming in Lake Pielinen, picking blueberries and cranberries in the big Karelian forests. And admiring the view from Koli National Park should be a must for every visitor to Finland.  =)

The Hieno! is the official partner of the Finland 100 independence programme: What is “Finnish-ness”? endorsed by the Prime Minister’s Office. Feature photo by Jenni Aho. We hope you have enjoyed reading this interview as much as we did!🙂 Feel free to connect with Michaela on LinkedIn or view her portfolio here and here.

[The Hieno! Suomi 100 series] Interview with Mikko Hypponen, CRO of F-Secure.

Finnish People, Official Finland 100 Series Endorsed by Prime Minister's Office

Today, as part of The Hieno! “What is Finnish-ness” series celebrating Suomi 100 in 2017, we have the huge privilege of featuring F-Secure’s Chief Research Officer Mikko Hypponen. F-Secure Corporation is a Finnish cyber security and privacy company based in Helsinki, Finland. The company has 20 country offices and a presence in more than 100 countries.

Last month, Mikko Hypponen made the Closing Keynote for the Singapore Fintech Festival 2017 in Singapore. He has also lectured at the universities of Stanford, Oxford and Cambridge and has delivered the most watched computer security talk on the internet. Personally, I love the various TED talks made by Mikko Hypponen! You can definitely consider watching “How the NSA betrayed the world’s trust — time to act” and “The three types of online attacks“.

Enjoy this interview! 🙂

WW: Hello Mikko! Can you tell us more about yourself and what you are currently doing?

Mikko Hypponen: Hello Wan Wei!

I’m a geek, a programmer and a reverse engineer. I’d been doing technical stuff all my life. I’d started programming at the age of 13, and sold my first program when I was 16. I started studying Computer Science and Programming when I was 19.

I joined a small Finnish start-up called “Data Fellows” in 1991. In that company, I was employee number 6. It started growing, and eventually became big enough to be listed on the Helsinki Stock Exchange. After listing on the Stock Exchange, the company changed its name from Data Fellows to F-Secure.

Last June was my 25th year at F-Secure.

WW: Wow! Onnea onnea!

Mikko Hypponen: Thank you. 25 years working for the same company!


Which explains why I am the worst person to seek career advice from, because typically when you change company, you get a raise. *Laughs*

Yet, it’s been 25 years and I’d never have had a boring day at work. I think there are few people who can claim that.

I have had a wild ride in this company, seeing how it progressed from a small start-up to a global player. I’d been fortunate to work in a field that has completely changed in these years. When I started we were analysing viruses in floppy disks.

And today, we are now fighting internet-borne attacks, which are not coming from teenage boys but coming from organised crime groups,terrorists, foreign intelligence agencies and foreign nation-states.

This job is exciting because we have a concrete enemy that we are fighting. We are trying to protect people’s security and privacy from online attackers. And when we do our jobs, we feel good because we are helping people solve problems that they don’t know how to solve on their own.

WW: Wow, your job is very meaningful indeed! Thank you for sharing. Can you tell us a little more about how Finland can lead the world in the area of cyber security, or is it already leading the world?

Mikko Hypponen: Finland has unique opportunities, especially when it comes to protecting against nation-state attacks.

Especially companies who are worried about foreign nation-states have a hard time finding good solutions. You can take a look at where the different security companies are coming from—most of them are coming from the United States, China or Russia. These are exactly the countries that are the sources of the nation-state attacks.

Take for instance a German defence contractor who are building military solutions—it would be a typical target for espionage. The company would be worried about spies and cyber-attacks from China, Russia or USA.

Do they want to buy a Chinese security product? Maybe not.
Do they want to buy a Russian security product? Probably not, too.
Do they want to use a security product from the USA? Perhaps not, too.

Therefore, it is a very good position to be– for a security vendor coming from Finland. This is because we are seen as an impartial, neutral player. Nobody is really worried about attacks coming from the Finnish government. Finland is also seen as independent– we are not even in NATO.

And when you add up things like… Finland is one of the least corrupted countries on this planet and we have the best press freedom– All these are very good supporting factors for security companies offering security solutions worldwide.

WW: What is the one thing you think Finland can do better, in the area of cybersecurity?

Mikko Hypponen

Mikko Hypponen: That would be education. You can look at all the security problems we have in the world, and divide them into two different groups.

We have technical problems and then we have people problems.

Technical problems can be thought of as vulnerabilities, caused when programmers who made the program make mistakes. There might be a bug in the program, and the bug might become a vulnerability that can be exploited. Technical mistakes can be fixed—for we will just need to fix the bug, which then results in the vulnerability being fixed. And then we can ask our users to update their software or operating system, just like how you update your iPhone OS regularly.

And then we have the people problems. We cannot fix people problems by asking them to install updates. People clicking on places where they shouldn’t be clicking, people trusting attachments, people choosing poor passwords or using the same passwords everywhere.

We can fix the technical problems by fixing the bugs, but people problems can only be fixed by education.

WW: Does education on cyber security help, though? People just have itchy hands and hearts, don’t they?

Mikko Hypponen: It is hard. And this is why we need to repeat things over and over again. This is not just a problem for Finland—it is a global problem.

And this is the one thing Finland can do better, we can start security education from as young as possible, from early school years. We can teach young students how to use backups, the basics of cyber security and privacy, how to choose passwords, things like that.

We are doing it already, but we can be doing it more.

WW: What are the three things you appreciate most about Finland, as a Finn?

Mikko Hypponen:

Point Number One: peace and quiet. I guess this is the mental state of Finns—we prefer to be alone.

We are comfortable being quiet. We prefer being a little further away from other people as possible. Maybe this is a stereotype, but I do appreciate walking in the forests and listening to the birds—and that’s it.

And point number one is related to Point Number Two: Accessibility.

Well, Finland is a place with excellent infrastructure and we do not have a lot of people. For example, I live in the middle of nowhere in the countryside–you can think of it as though I have no neighbors. I cannot see them and neither can I hear them. I go to my yard, and there are deers and moose and foxes.

So when I drive from Helsinki to my home, it takes me around 20 minutes. You cannot do that in a city like Tokyo. After driving for 20 minutes, you’d still be in the center of Tokyo!

Point Number Three: Heavy metal music. This is what I appreciate most about Finland. Finland has more heavy metal band per capita than any other country in the world. And I appreciate that. That is personally very important to me.

WW: Can you tell us some of the misconceptions about Finland and Finns that are far from the truth?

Mikko Hypponen: I think all the stereotypes are true.


Mikko Hypponen: I think the stereotypes describe Finns exactly like they are!

Finns don’t speak, Finns are very introverted, we drink too much and we live in the middle of nowhere.

Yeah I think these stereotypes are all true!


WW: But you are quite a good speaker!

Mikko Hypponen: Yeah, but I am not normal.

The stereotypes are true–that is pretty much how it is.

So there is nothing for me to correct.

WW: Can you tell us one thing about cyber security in Finland that most people might not know?

Mikko Hypponen: Most people probably do not know that the reason that we have fairly large computer security industry in Finland compared to many other countries in Europe is because of our history.

This history already starts from the Second World War, over 60-70 years ago.

After the war, research into cryptography and encryption systems was restricted in most European countries. Academic research and sharing information about encryption systems were banned.

But not in Finland. We were free to research, develop and export those systems then.

Because of this strong academic research foundation, we were then able to build a great computer security industry today in a healthy manner.

F-Secure is the largest cyber security company in Finland, but we have many security companies in this country. They range from small start-ups to larger companies and we have a range of expertise here in Finland.

WW: Nowadays there are many data centres being built in Finland. Do you think Finland can gain a competitive advantage from stricter privacy laws?

Mikko Hypponen: We do have very good legislation on privacy, probably one of the best in the world. This legislation grants privacy rights not just to our citizens—it also grants privacy rights to foreigners, which I don’t think is a law that exists anywhere else in the world.

The way our privacy law reads is as follow: we define a set of privacy rules and rights we have. However, there is nowhere that mentions that this law applies to only Finnish people. Rather, the law says that it applies to “mankind”.

Therefore, if you are a person from New Zealand who stores your data in a data centre in Finland, your data gains the same privacy rights as Finns do. Therefore regulations as such do give us an advantage.

In addition, one of the most costly part of maintaining a data centre is cooling, you know? For instance, Google’s data centre is in Hamina, which is right by the Baltic Sea and they do the cooling with the Baltic Sea.

Another consideration in picking a location for data centres is the prevalence of natural disaster such as Earthquakes—we want to avoid them. We don’t have earthquakes in Finland—we have a very solid ground here. In addition, Finland has excellent connectivity, especially also to the Far East and Russia.

In sum: the legislation is good, the environment is good the cooling works and we have no earthquakes. Therefore Finland is a pretty good place to build data centres in!

WW: I’m sure many young Finns in the IT field regard you as a role model. Do you have any tips for young people who want to have a great professional career as you do?

Mikko Hypponen

Mikko Hypponen: My tip—If you want to be successful in your field, you have to pick your niche.

You should not aim to become a general expert. It is much more valuable to be one of the world’s best in some narrow niche.

So pick a niche. Pick some narrow field of expertise. Within computer security, you can pick a niche from reverse engineering or secure development practices or penetration testing, for example. So focus on that, and then you become very good in that.

Therefore, figure out what you like, are good at, and then go all in for that narrow field of expertise.

And if you want to grow, you need to learn. If you need to learn, you need teachers and mentors.

Therefore, find mentors to help you—people who have done it before, or who have done something similar before.

WW: Finland will be celebrating its 100th year-old birthday next year! What is the one birthday wish you have for Finland?

Mikko Hypponen: I wish wisdom to our leaders so that they are able to lead us to the next 100th years of independence.

You see, we always have to be careful because of our geopolitical position.We must never forget that we have 1500 km of border with an unpredictable superpower, Russia. Yet we have proven that we are able to live peacefully with Russia.

We don’t know anything about the year 100 years from now, and I hope that we will be independent forever. And for that we need wise leaders. Our current leaders are good leaders—they are wise people and are not making any stupid moves.

I hope we will still be independent 100 years from now. We want to be free and able to do whatever we want.

The Hieno! is the official partner of the Finland 100 independence programme: What is “Finnish-ness”? endorsed by the Prime Minister’s Office. Photos by Niko N. We hope you have enjoyed reading this interview as much as we did!🙂 Do follow Mikko Hypponen on twitter @mikko too! ^^

[The Hieno! Suomi 100 Series] Interview with Eero Böök, the slightly mysterious Finnish gentleman.

Finnish men, Finnish People, Official Finland 100 Series Endorsed by Prime Minister's Office
Eero Böök

Today, as part of The Hieno! “What is Finnish-ness” series celebrating Suomi 100 in 2017, we feature the slightly mysterious and super hot Finnish gentleman Eero Böök!

Personally, I´d always found Eero to be wise. Through his example, I’d learnt to always make it a point to treat people with importance and kindness. Eero has extensive experience in fashion and retail in Finland and abroad, and we are very happy to have him on board The Hieno! Suomi 100 series.~

Enjoy the interview! ♡

TH: Moikka Eero! Thank you for accepting our interview. Can you tell us a little more about yourself and your experiences in fashion/retail?

Eero Böök: Hey.

I am Eero Böök. Originally from the small seaside city Naantali in Finland and currently living in London.

I have been working in fashion retail in multiple positions and also in different countries and companies. This has given me invaluable insights to the entity of retail.

At the moment, I am studying Business Management and Fashion marketing in London Metropolitan University. Besides my studies, I am also working for the French luxury brand Louis Vuitton.

Perhaps these key words describe my personality more: Dreamer, wine (sparkling), whimsy, with a million different alter-egos.


TH: You have such a long and rich working experience in fashion and retail. Are there obvious differences in how a Finn would dress in the countryside, vis-a- vis in a more city-like area like Helsinki?

Eero Böök: I definitely think there is a big difference to how people dress up in different parts of Finland.

One of the most obvious reason is the varying availability of brands. In the smaller communities, it is a lot harder to find pieces which are not in line as the biggest trends. This is because usually in smaller towns, the only option is to purchase from the biggest retail companies.

Having said that however, the situation has indeed developed a lot because of the emergence of online retailers and social media “marketplaces”.

For people who are interested in luxury ready-to-wear the situation is harder. The markets are too small to attract big European luxury brands. When you are making a purchase, like 3000 euros for a coat, you most probably want to feel the materials and see the actual piece before making your purchase decision.

Of course, there is the possibility to return the items purchased online. Unfortunately, I know from my own experience that sometimes you just don’t want to go through all that packing and delivery hassle, so you will end up keeping the piece you actually didn’t love.

There are also some cultural points as well. I grew up in the city called Naantali and from the fashion point-of-view I perhaps would not compare that small seaside city to Helsinki. You see, powerful self-expression through clothes might confuse the people who are mainly wearing something practical like wellies instead of Guiseppe Zanotti heels.

So, this context might prove to be a challenge for people who really have the need to express themselves, because courage is needed to show up to work or school in striking outfit. For sure you will be noticed and maybe not in the nicest way.

This might especially apply if the person is playing with clothes that will create androgynous looks. I think we are still really stuck with gender-ism when it comes to clothing.

With time I am sure that people in smaller cities would get used to these different outfits like they got used to “sushi and cronuts”. *Just kidding.*

Unfortunately, the courage and inspiration might fade away from the person before we reach that level. Creativity needs support, open space and open minds.


TH: Why are Finnish guys and ladies so hot? Actually, why are you so hot?


Eero Böök: Why are Finnish people hot.

Well, usually the best things are a bit hidden from publicity. Maybe this logic applies in this case as well – we have 5 million hidden gems in Finland!

I am very flattered if you find me as one of these crown jewels.


TH: *♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡* As an expert in retail, can you share with us some insiders’ secrets on how to dress to impress a Finn?

Eero Böök: Well, when it comes to the topic of how to impress Finnish people I am sure that I am not the best person to ask.

This is because I have actually never dated any Finnish guy successfully. If I give any tips it would become a “blind leads blind” situation.

But if anyone knows the answer, please do not hesitate to contact me. *Laughs*.


TH: Well, they can contact *us*! :DDDDD ~ As a professional in fashion marketing and retail, who/what inspires you?


Eero Böök: From the fashion marketing perspective, I’d been inspired by how big and old fashion houses are making campaigns with new generation stars like Selena Gomez, Willow and Jaden Smith.

This combination has been very successful for the companies, as they are getting new customers and publicity through social media. The visuals have been spectacular and the power of young fans is incredible.

It is nice to notice that the fashion houses –which are usually like big ships that turn very slowly–have adopted this fast-moving marketing strategy from these masters of self-branding and marketing. This is of course as opposed to seeing these younger people as threats. Or maybe, these new generation stars made big companies step down from their ivory towers.

Also, I have been getting inspiration from the subcultures of England which influence my personal way of dressing. I have been very interested in the Manchester street style–it is a very brutal and rough combination of sex, luxury, ugly beauty and sports.

A complete mess, in other words.

Unfortunately, the busy London lifestyle does not give me a lot time to wear street looks, so I have been mainly dressed in full suits.


TH: Heritage is commonly regarded as something important in the fashion world. There is sometimes concern in the industry that Finnish fashion might be at a disadvantage due to a short national history, vis-a-vis other European countries such as France, Italy, UK and Sweden.  How do you feel about this?

Eero Böök: I think our short history in fashion can be an advantage instead of a disadvantage.

The fashion world is always hungry and in fact our history in this field is not that old. We can easily create something new instead of following the strong image /vision we have once created — of irregular design.

I just read one of my favourite magazines “DAZED” that ranked Aalto University School of Arts as the top 3 in fashion. The success in Hyères fashion festival has sparked interest towards Finland as well.

The publicity that Finland has lately received proves my point that we are able to create something new. Like for example, the case of Sasu Kauppi and Kanye West.

Finnish high fashion sounds very exotic and it will be something unseen–exactly what the fashion world loves.

Maybe we just need to find a way to get these talents to work in Finland before they are headhunted by big companies outside of the country.


TH: Finland is commonly perceived as a “class-less” society. So if I walk along the streets of Helsinki with an Hermès bag, would I be seen as a snob?

Eero Böök: Well, I am not sure if Finland is a “class-less” society…or do we just have smaller gaps in between the classes?

Hermès bag is a funny example. Luxury accessories or ready-to-wear do not really hold big markets in Finland, so I am sure that many people would not even recognise that bag. This is because Hermès is quite discreet when it comes to the logos and people are not that familiar with the design.

In general, I think people would find you a snob if they know the price tag of the bag. People are not very used to luxury designs so they might find them unnecessary- if you have not tasted it, how could you miss it?


TH: Can you tell us the top 3 things/ traits you regard as “Finnish”, and why?

Eero Böök: I think there is one trait above others that I find very “Finnish” and that is our communication.

The way our humour and sarcasm comes across in our language is impossible to translate– for example in English– at least for me.


People easily get the feeling that I am distant and maybe a bit cold. Perhaps we are just not used to small talk and cute sentences.

I have to admit that I do feel very special when I visit a supermarket in London and the person at the checkout calls me a “sweetheart”. It is very nice, but maybe because I am a bit narcissistic and attention is always welcome. You see, perhaps evidenced by this question on Finnish traits, sometimes I tend to turn the topic into myself.

I guess our spoken communication is exactly the same–as minimalistic as our Finnish style.

The second thing I would consider “Finnish” is perhaps our continuous mirroring to other people. We are all the time comparing ourselves to others and the others to ourselves. It is natural that in our small cities we pay attention to individual people on the street – as we know the streets are not too crowded. *laughs*

I think that is something we need to change. It brings a big pressure when you try to build your own style and you can’t find your own “subculture” to fit in. This is because the subcultures in Finland are very homogenous, especially from my personal point of view. You need to add slightly something “different” to your look, but you need to keep the rest in the same line with the others, if you want to be taken seriously and be accepted.

If you fail in this, “you can’t sit with us” is the result.

The third trait I find is the fear of failure. The uncertainty is always around–are we talking about work, clothing, the way we look, etc?

I think that in other words could be the famous “Finnish shyness” that we are always talking about. Perhaps “shyness” is simply a nicer word for the self-esteem problem we have in each other’s company.


TH: What is the number one misconception foreigners tend to have about Finns/Finland that you feel that is far from the truth?

Eero Böök: People are very interested in the Nordic countries.

I have noticed that people have a strong image of Finland, which is very funny. To me, it sounds like a “Children’s fairytale paradise” where everything is perfect and everybody is financially stable or super rich.

Like every Finn, I am really proud of my roots, which I have just realised. So I keep that image with pride and take the full advantage of it.

I think I have a lot of credibility amongst my colleagues -– simply because we have built this very sophisticated brand to our country and school system.


TH: What are your personal dreams and vision for the future?

Eero Böök: My vision for my future is clear.

I want to build a strong, free and professional career in the fashion marketing and branding field. My dream is to work for myself and not be locked in office from 8 to 16, five days a week. I am a hardworking person and I enjoy work in general, but I believe that a work week filled with routines would limit my creativity.

By “freedom”, I mean that if I want to go and have a weekend getaway in Paris – I am able to do it, because my laptop would be my “office”.

More flexibility. That is the life goal for me.


TH: What is the one 100-year-old birthday wish you would make for Finland, since 2017 is Finland’s 100 years of independence?


Eero Böök: For a 100-year-old Finland I would like to wish Finland all the best! I also wish for an open-minded atmosphere in the midst of all the turmoil.

I started this interview talking about my home city Naantali. In a similar vein, I now want to “Finnish” this story.

The last time I visited Naantali, I actually saw a young girl with Minna Parikka´s bunny sneakers instead of the wellies. If Naantali´s street style has developed this much in the last ten years, what more can we achieve now that we are 100 years old?

The Hieno! is the official partner of the Finland 100 independence programme: What is “Finnish-ness”? endorsed by the Prime Minister’s Office. Photos courtesy of Eero Böök and Alex Aalto. Feel free to follow Eero Böök on his instagram @eerob.

Yeah, that’s the only social media account Eero gave… 😉