We’re happy to be the exclusive UK stockists of Finnish footwear label, Tarvas. Tracing their origins back to Helsinki, their shoes have been designed with the unpredictable Scandinavian weather in mind.
Taking inspiration from the fjords and forests of their home country, in store we have their Explorer model, a sleek, modern silhouette that is perfectly suited for both natural and urban environments. Coming in soft sand nubuck and textured deep navy suede, the two iterations we have in store have been completely made in Finland by experienced craftspeople in small quantities. What gives them their unique look is the waterproof mudguard that sits around the entire foot that helps protect from the wet as well as providing a clean, minimal aesthetic.
We spoke with Tarvas co-founder Jukka Lehtinen to get a better understanding of the history of the brand and how he and his team blend Nordic minimalist design philosophies with resilient functionality.
P&s: What was the inspiration behind Tarvas and how did the brand begin?
JL: Five years ago we started playing around with an idea to create something of our own. One of our founders had a workshop in Helsinki where he could hand make shoes so we got together and started working on a silhouette that eventually became the Explorer. Our aim was to create quality footwear that is resistant to uncertain weather conditions and lives up to high aesthetic standards.
Finland is famous for its incredible landscape, how much does this inform your design process?
We constantly go back and draw inspiration from Finnish nature, we want the Tarvas shoes to work in city and nature environments. Hence the name Explorer of our first shoe silhouette.
Minimalism is a key part of Nordic design, how do you balance this ethos with functionality?
We believe minimalism and functionality can blend together perfectly. For us functionality means that all the elements in a shoe are thought through so that the shoe works well in the desired use: the shape of the last, the grip pattern on the outsole, the durable yet breathable upper materials and the water protective mudguard and so on. We want there to be nothing that has zero functionality on the shoe.
How do you go about sourcing the materials and manufacturing for your footwear?
While some other brands use a sourcing/developing agency to put their designs to life, we want to do everything ourselves and know every vendor we work with. This means we have a better understanding of all the materials and more control over everything. All the materials for a pair of Tarvas are sourced from Europe and the manufacturing takes place here in Finland just two hours train ride from Helsinki.
What are your plans for the future of Tarvas?
We are currently developing the second silhouette. The first prototypes are being made by hand in our Helsinki workshop as we speak. Other than that we just want to keep on working to get Tarvas out there to quality retailers like Peggs & son and slowly grow from there.