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Onar – Natural And Ethical Fur

Katja Kokko | 25.8.2014

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This marks the beginning of fashion posts on my blog! As you know, I live and breathe aesthetics. To me, is beauty is everywhere and in everything, be it nature, an authentic Indian village, a street in Paris, or fashion.

I have a strong passion for all things style, as well as a strong personal concept of what a beautiful style is. Though my own is somewhat colorless and minimal, I am easily inspired by different styles of clothing on others.

For me, style is an emotional state. The way I dress is very much a manifestation of how I feel inside. I spent this whole Indian summer in more or less the same clothes: denim shorts, a sleeveless white top, and sandals. That beach bum look was an apt expression of my relaxed and carefree state, when all I wanted to do was to enjoy those summer days in perfect idleness. On cooler nights I substituted the shorts for the best jeans in the world; worn enough to almost fall apart, but so comfortable that you could probably sleep in them. Unlike the summer before, the thought of slipping on a pair of heels was absolutely impossible, and stylishness in general wasn’t really at the top of my list of priorities – as long as I could breathe in the clothes, I didn’t really care.

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My greatest passion, style-wise, would have to be fluttering pant-legs and materials that fall just so. Which I suppose might indicate lightness of being, or a longing for it, in any case. I am very hot blooded, and floating, airy materials help to cool down the inferno. Although not an active follower of haute couture, I am very much inspired by strong visions and stories – for example those of Coco Chanel.

How active I will be in making style and fashion posts remains to be seen, as I want to offer you interesting, quality material as opposed to boring and dated outfit posts (though you may find a few style selfies in poor quality on my Instagram every now and then). To do that I will need a photographer, but trust that will sort itself out in its own time.

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For now, I want to introduce you to a gorgeous and inspiring beauty, whose amazing creations are surely worth of Chanel herself. Her name is Irene Kostas, and she is the creator and founder of the eco-fur brand Onar.

Irene is an old acquaintance, whom I recently bumped into at Supermood’s launch party. For several years, this half-Greek, half-Finnish beauty worked for Minna Parikka – who is slowly taking over the world herself – but with her wealth of creativity and passion, Irene began planning the creation of a sustainable design or fashion brand of her own. The premise of the brand would be production based on existing resources, and presenting traditional natural materials and crafts in a modern context.

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As the daughter of a furrier, Irene was interested in using fur as a material, though in a more ethical and ecological way. Indeed, it seems eco-fur is becoming more and more popular as of late. Irene’s decision to launch her own brand in the fall of 2014 was cemented as she was presented with an opportunity to take part in the young- designers program of a PR company called Spalt. With no small amount of ambition, the following six months saw her plan and execute her first collection, which made its debut in May 2014.

Onar combines the aesthetic and ethical components of Irene’s world: Middle East meets Scandinavian-Cool aesthetics – handmade from local and ethical natural materials.

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For her fur and leather products, Irene uses either by-products of the meat industry or castaways from the fur industry (including the stock of fur businesses that went bankrupt during the recession. Castaways may be pieces of fur left over from the refashioning of old fur coats, for example). All products are made in Finland or Greece. Irene’s father has taken a break from his own fur business to create patterns for Onar. The Stott-bags from Irene’s collection are sewn in a village close to her family in Greece, while the Merino wool sweaters are made by designer Jenni Alava.

Irene is one of the most stylish women I’ve ever met. Her sense of style is impeccable, which had me anticipating Onar’s breakthrough in the Finnish market. Still, actually seeing the collection left me goose-bumped and gasping for air – Onar will have no trouble making it in the international market, and I predict the brand will follow in the footsteps of gTie, if not Chanel. It is only a matter of time before one of Irene’s creations will be seen on the red carpet or on the pages of the top fashion magazines.

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If I could pick something to take home with me this fall, it would be this grey, fuzzy fur collar, a proper fur cap, a hood to keep me warm, a white leather backpack for things I can’t fit into the only bag that I own, and a timeless black clutch for those occasions where my bag would be too shabby. Don’t you think they’re gorgeous?

What is your favorite piece in the collection, and what do you think about eco fur?

Onar’s products are currently available at the brand’s own webshop, and at My O My’s boutique on Aleksanterinkatu.

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Pictures Onarstudios

Translation Katja Nikula

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