The search is on for the most exciting up-and-coming fashion designers in Finland in the country's most prestigious fashion design competition, "Vuoden nuori suunnittelija" (Young Designer of the Year) 2023. The 29th edition of the competition is open to fashion design students who are asked to create designs with the theme of "joy". The winner will receive exposure and a booth at the I love me trade fair, taking place from October 20 to 22, 2023.

The competition is split into two parts. In the first part, participants must create a complete outfit that embodies the theme of joy. They can interpret the theme in any way they wish and design an outfit that reflects it. The second part of the competition requires participants to design a "Mielinauha" (mental health ribbon) for MIELI ry, a national mental health charity.

The winning designer will have the opportunity to showcase their talent to a large audience and gain significant exposure, as previous winners have demonstrated. Rolf Ekroth, the 2015 winner, has since gone on to establish his own fashion label, design clothing collections for several major brands, and win other international design competitions. Ervin Latimer, another past winner, has also gained attention at the Florence Pitti Uomo fashion show, while Heidi Karjalainen's design was worn by the wife of the Finnish President for the Independence Day reception in 2017.

The competition offers a unique opportunity for young Finnish designers to showcase their talent, gain recognition and exposure, and meet with industry professionals and the public. It also serves as a platform to promote the importance of fashion design and craftsmanship in Finland, which is highly regarded globally.

I love me, the trade fair which offers a booth to the winner, has partnered with MIELI ry to raise awareness about mental health issues and the charity's work. The annual mental health ribbon campaign, Mielinauha, raises funds to support local mental health and crisis services.

The theme of "joy" for this year's competition is timely and reflects the current global mood. The competition challenges participants to create designs that express the joy and positivity that we all need in our lives, especially in these challenging times. The competition will be accepting applications from fashion design students in the coming weeks, and the winner will be announced later this year.

Find the Young Designer of the Year 2023 competition rules, participation instructions and application form here.