FACT > Course Leaders

Associate Professor

Kirsi Niinimäki

Kirsi Niinimäki is an Associate Professor in Fashion Research and leader of the Fashion/Textile FUTURES research group. Throughout her research she aims towards a new, holistic understanding in the field of sustainable fashion and textiles and therefore she investigate the connection between design, manufacturing systems, business models and consumption habits. Furthermore PSS Product service systems in fashion, redirective practices in fashion design leading to sustainable consumption and circular economy approach are in the core of her research interest. Since 2016 Kirsi has been the Head of the Fashion and Collection Design Program.

Professor of Practice

Pirjo Hirvonen

Pirjo Hirvonen is a professor in fashion design. After graduating from University of Art and Design she designed women’s wear collections in several companies in fashion industry for twenty years’ time. Over ten years’ time she has led the developing of design and fashion education at Aalto ARTS. Her interests are in teaching teams and groups in real-life projects and in creation of future oriented concepts aiming to lead fashion design into new directions and future contexts.

Adjunct Professor

Maarit Salolainen

Maarit Salolainen is Adjunct Professor for textile design and 3D surface design. Besides teaching, she works internationally as a creative director in strategic product portfolio management, developing concepts, designing textile & product collections, woven fabrics, prints and jacquards. She loves to work with combinations and contrasts of colours, fibers, yarns, structures and prints and enjoys coaching talented future designers at Aalto University and leading the PatternLab project.


Ilona Hyötyläinen

Ilona Hyötyläinen is Functional Clothing and Accessory Design Lecturer. Main goal in her teaching is to combine fashion and functionality. Her special inters areas are sportswear, children’s wear and print design.


Tuomas Laitinen

University Teacher

Maija Fagerlund

Maija Fagerlund is a University Teacher for textile design. She is endlessly fascinated by all kinds of textile structures and materials and loves surface and print design. Besides teaching, she works internationally as a freelance textile designer. Her main areas in teaching are woven fabrics and jacquard design, print design and surface design.

University Teacher, DA

Heidi Paavilainen

Heidi Paavilainen is a sociologically and anthropologically minded design (research) all around, most interested in diffusion, appropriation and use of design in everyday settings in the past, present and especially in the future. Her background is in Textile art (MA), with fine arts minor. She did her doctorate to the Industrial design programme. Continuing to work between those two lines of design contexts with all the students in the department of design by teaching and thesis tutoring.

Adjunct Professor

Annamari Vänskä

Annamari Vänskä (PhD) is Adjunct Professor of Fashion Research. She is also Adjunct Professor of Art History and Gender Studies at the University of Helsinki where she was named Adjunct Professor of the Year 2012. Vänskä has published widely on fashion and visual culture with the focus on class, gender, sexuality and ethnicity. Her monograph Fashionable childhood: Children in Fashion Advertising (2017, Bloomsbury Publishing). sheds light on fashion in the social context, on social meanings of fashion and clothing, and on the conflicting connotations emerging from the interface between childhood, fashion and clothing and their visual representations in contemporary visualised consumer culture. She is also the co-editor with Professor Hazel Clark (Parsons School of Design, New York) of the forthcoming book Fashion Curating: Critical Practice in the Museum and Beyond (2017, Bloomsbury Publishing) which is a critical investigation about the emerging field of fashion curating.

An important part of her scholarly work is curating exhibitions. Her largest curatorial project so far is Boutique (2012) which investigated the relationship between art and fashion. The original version of the exhibition was displayed at the Amos Anderson Art Museum in Helsinki, Finland. Afterwards the exhibition became a body of works that was edited into new exhibitions in collaboration with other curators and institutions: in Washington and New York (2013), in Tokyo (2014), and in Berlin (2016).