International Fashion Spotlight: The Drop-Dead Coats of Estonian Label Marit Ilison

Posted on October 29, 2020

Estonian designer Marit Ilison attended the Danish Design School in Copenhagen and graduated with Master’s Degree in Fashion Design from the Estonian Academy of Arts in 2008. In 2013 she founded her atelier. She has been awarded the Estonian art award Kristjan Raud Prize and Young Designer Award SÄSI, she was the finalist of the prestigious 29th Hyéres Fashion competition and was named as Vogue Talent in 2014 as well as Vogue Success Story in 2016. Those are the highlights taken from her website, but what we really want to talk about are her fabulous coats. She designs all sorts of womenswear items, but it was her 2020 “Longing for Sleep” collection that caught our eye. Again, from her page:

Borrowing its name from the Estonian title for Chekhov’s novel “Let Me Sleep”, the conceptual collection “Longing for Sleep” is about the haunting wish to sleep during dark wintery times, kaamos. Kaamos is an untranslatable word only known in Estonian and Finnish languages, referring to the period in the Northern Hemisphere when the days are very short and it barely gets light outside. To materialize the feeling of a wish to stay in bed wrapped in a blanket all day long, Marit Ilison has created a collection using vintage Soviet wool blankets.

The eye-catching, colourful and patterned woollen vintage blankets originate from the 1970s and 1980s Soviet Union when they were very common and found in every house. Every family had at least one, if not several. The blankets are often connected to very personal memories, for example, they were given as wedding presents. In the beginning, the blankets were made of camel wool. People used to unpick them to get precious yarn and to knit sweaters of it during the Soviet deficit. Later mainly lambswool was used. We dedicate a lot of time finding them because such blankets have become rare in time and each of them is unique. For Longing for Sleep Unique collection coats each blanket is carefully selected and cleaned.

 

The results (along with other coat and outerwear designs) are below and we think they’re gorgeous.

 

 

 

 

 

[Photo Credit: maritilison.com]

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