I find it logical to open a little the person behind this brand – as in Marleena Lehtonen living in Kallio, Helsinki, Finland. I’m in my early 30s and have always loved fashion and clothing. One could almost say it’s a passion for me.
If you asked me as a kid what I’ll be when I grow up, I’d say that I want to be a fashion designer. It was a dream for a long time, but as it came to the point where I was supposed to start applying for schools, I went for business school instead. I got in to Turku School of Economics, but quickly started doubting my choice after starting, and decided to participate a fashion design orientation course at fashion school Polimoda in Florence, Italy. The city and language were both familiar to me, as my family had lived close to the city when I was a teenager for two years. Polimoda was so much fun, but it also made me think that I don’t have the talent needed for the job (as I was surrounded by crazy creative people). I’m not someone who comes up with something new and exciting. I’m more into a feminine and classical style. I then decided to go back to business school, and eventually graduated in 2014.
My work history after graduation has consisted of different sales and marketing roles. Marketing felt right, since it was at least somewhat creative. It all changed in the autumn of 2018, when I felt I needed a change. Lili Marleena came along a little bit by accident. I was visiting Florence, where I have spent a lot of time ever since we lived there, and ended up going to a fabric store with a fun looking corner. Turned out the fabrics were leftovers from the production of different luxury brands. I figured they are so amazing that I must do something with them. I had been sewing clothes for myself a few years at that point, and the first thing I made of these fantastic fabrics was a kimono-styled coat. When I wore it the first time to a party, I got so many compliments (and preorders), that I decided to start making them to others too. To say the least, I’m so happy things ended up this way.