Style & Grooming

The New Brand Inspired by Trent Reznor and Jean-Michel Basquiat

Heikki Salonen returns with Vyner Articles – a label producing clothes for contemporary creatives

Name: Heikki Salonen

Brand: Vyner Articles

Location: London

Alma Mata: The Royal College of Art

USP: Unisex workwear for artists, musicians, writers and everyone in between

Instagram: @vynerarticles

In 2012, Heikki Salonen – an alumnus of Fashion East, where he had shown two acclaimed womenswear collections a few years prior – put his namesake brand on hold. For a young designer demonstrating such promise, the move seemed premature. However, it was a strategy that proved Salonen was playing the long game; for in the pause that followed, the Finnish designer was appointed in senior positions at Diesel and Maison Margiela’s diffusion line MM6, where he remains a design director at the latter to this day.

When the time was right – 2015, as it happens – Salonen returned with Deadstock; a reworked, unisex amalgamation of his archival personal work. Three years on from this anticipated comeback, Salonen debuted Vyner Articles. “The first collection was launched in January – a re-branding from my namesake, Heikki Salonen,” he explains. “I was running my own brand on and off for almost ten years – so we thought that it would be great to turn it into something else.”

Certainly, Vyner Articles is a departure from Salonen’s usual aesthetic; not least in the brand’s injection of acerbic pastel hues, reflective of the colourful figures that serve as design inspiration. The name of the brand derives from Bethnal Green’s Vyner Street – the location of Salonen’s studio and a place that is synonymous with East London’s ‘white cube’ gallery spaces. “We call it ‘art workwear’,” the designer says. “It’s for modern creatives in general; it’s clothing that relates to their reality. Often fashion brands create their own realities and then they live in that little bubble. I’m trying to do the opposite – I want to enhance other people’s own personality rather than build a character and expect people to fill it.”

With such a cohesive and clear vision for the type of customer Vyner Articles seeks to target, Salonen hopes to build a loyal following through staple pieces that resonate season after season. “I think this foundation collection will remain the same for a couple of years, but changing ever so slightly each time,” he says. “I think that trust between the brand and consumer is really important – staple pieces are a way to address this, especially with the fit. My favourite designers and brands – Helmut Lang, Raf Simons, Yohji Yamamoto, Comme des Garçons – produce the same designs again and again and again, keep true to their vision. You can trust that it’s always there – and that’s why people return.”

Although the clothes produced by Vyner Articles are constructed in ‘mannish’, streetwear-esque silhouettes – beige two-piece suits worn with hooded sweatshirts, orange and purple utility pants paired with long-sleeved t-shirts, and boxy board shorts with the hem falling to a flare just below the knee – Salonen says he has a liberal attitude to gender. “We started off with menswear in mind, but we are already starting to offer different sizes – and we always create everything with women in mind as well – really, it’s for everyone.”

As to be expected from Vyner Articles – a label with the tagline ‘MIND OF AN AUTHOR_EYES OF AN ARTIST_VOICE OF A SINGER’ – Salonen cites several cultural figures as influences behind the brand; from Jean-Michel Basquiat, David Hockney and Louise Bourgeois to Trent Reznor, Neil Young and Aphex Twin. “The next [S/S19] collection is about musicians, so I also looked to people such as Reznor and Young as artists who make music that I like to listen to and I think people can relate to. If I could collaborate with any of these guys in the future on a collection for Vyner Articles, I would be a very, happy man.”