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Sonja studied MA Fashion Futures at London College of Fashion, which she used to develop her sustainability focus which she has used in her career since graduating.
Did you always know you wanted to work in sustainability?
No, not always. I started to appreciate sustainability during my footwear design studies, especially during my exchange in Brazil. I was actually a bit of a mass-shopper myself in the beginning of my studies, but my second year (and studies in Brazil) changed my view. In Brazil, I had to buy all the necessities for myself, wash my laundry by hand and only buy food that didn't require the fridge. Living this way made me realise that simplicity was actually very peaceful and I really appreciated what I had. Also, the relationships I made during the stay made me appreciate the time we spent together over stuff and things. I looked at the design field from a new perspective and decided that rather than creating new stuff for this packed world, I wanted to work in a more sustainable direction.
Why did you choose to study at LCF?
At the time LCF had the most interesting Masters program for studies in design and sustainability, especially as I already had a fashion background. I was really interested in the critical design thinking perspective, as well as the different topics the course provided. I wanted to explore an international course and perspective to further develop my design and sustainability skills.
What key skills did you learn during the course that you still use as a Design & Sustainability Specialist?
Definitely critical design thinking, perspectives on emotionally durable design and many versatile research methods.
Since graduating, which of the projects you've worked on are you most proud of?
I have worked with the Finnish Fashion Revolution team on workshops about fashion awareness for the public. These types of projects are really valuable to organise and enable more awareness around fashion and sustainability. Now I am a part of the Finnish Association of Design Learning "Suomu", which promotes the use of design education in different platforms, especially for children. The projects we do there are amazing. The latest project was during "Helsinki day 2019", and was about creating machines that could save the world, using scrap metal and electronic waste for prototyping. Some of the children's earlier prototypes are currently displayed at Triennale Milan 2019 at the exhibition called "Broken Nature", "Everyday Experiments".
Between design and development, where do you enjoy working the most?
I think design and development always go hand in hand, as you always develop at least an idea forward when designing. But I love to challenge my self with projects that require the development of something existing, to develop a concept to a more sustainable one for instance. To be able to take a business model towards a more sustainable future through creative development is both exciting and very necessary.
You've been working in the industry for about two years, since graduating from LCF, but what is the biggest highlight of your career so far?
Starting my own business. I have been an entrepreneur for almost one year now, and have had the pleasure of working with various different fields and projects. I love the possibilities and the freedom it gives me.
What do you love most about your profession?
The versatility of the field. Design and sustainability can be implemented into everything and that is fantastic, and of course, working with creating a kinder world through sustainable design approaches is a privilege.
Any exciting upcoming projects you can tell us about?
There are plans to publish a book about sustainable wellbeing together with a colleague of mine.
Which plans do you have for your career?
I have plans to grow my business into a creative collective, where sustainability can be practiced together with a variety of professionals.
What piece of advice would you give to someone looking to pursue a career in sustainability?
Passion towards the field is definitely needed. The field is not the easiest to get into, but worth the effort once you do. Be curious about different ways of acting in the field, creativity is needed but is also the most valuable tool for the field. Sustainability and creativity enable new business models and concepts to be born daily, however, they might take time to thrive, be brave and trust your ideas.