55. Johanna Uurasjarvi

“Everyone has dreams, and this is mine come true,” says Johanna Uurasjarvi, the Finland-born designer and creator of fashion brand Leifsdottir. With contemporary silhouettes and romantic prints, the line is grounded in Uurasjarvi’s Scandinavian heritage but pulls inspiration from her passion for travel. (Istanbul’s spice markets and tapestries inspired the rich prints and textures that will hit stores this fall.) With impeccable craftsmanship and price points hovering at $300, Leifsdottir is a favorite at such stores as Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, and sister company Anthropologie, where Uurasjarvi served as head designer before launching her label in 2008. In March, the brand took a much anticipated step into accessories with a shoe line; this fall, it will introduce handbags. “Every piece must express our brand’s DNA,” she says. “If we’re inspired, our customer will be inspired.”


These videos show Leifsdottir’s line from New York Fashion Week Spring 2011.

Creating a new collection is a process of change in which everyone contributes.


Which creative person would you most like to meet?

I would have loved to have known the founder of Marimekko, Armi Ratia. In reading the book Phenomenon Marimekko, some of her founding principles of creativity in business really inspired me. She has an amazing philosophy of uncompromised good design and trusting creativity. I still love the Marimekko prints and the principle of the company of making democratic fashion for everyone. I’d ask her, “What was her secret to keeping the integrity of creativity while building her business?”