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In case you haven’t heard, Finland was just named the happiest country in the world — for the sixth year in a row. People love to speculate about what it is that makes the Finns so content: It could be their low crime rate, free education, or accessible medical care. Or, of course, it could be the dog outfits.
Finnish brand PAIKKA uses the principles of Scandinavian design — simplicity, beauty, and durability — to design dog apparel and accessories that stand the test of time.
Why Dogs Can Benefit From a Finnish State of Mind
CEO Tea Kainu, who began her career as a fashion buyer before pivoting into the pet market, likens PAIKKA clothes to a perfect pair of jeans or a worn-in winter jacket. They’re wardrobe staples that are as functional as they are fashionable. “We design all our products from the pet’s perspective,” Kainu tells The Wildest.
Take, for example, the brand’s best-selling raincoat: The waterproof outer layer can be adjusted at the neckline and waist, back, and legs to embrace dogs in a snug-but-comfortable fit. The jacket’s unique design also covers dogs’ back legs to keep them warm; that’s where their largest muscles are. PAIKKA, which has a resident dog physiotherapist on staff, extensively tests their clothes to ensure that dogs are free to move around in them however they please. This emphasis on mechanics means that their products are even a hit with pups who usually don’t like wearing clothes. “It’s like if you try to wear pants that are too small — you’re not going to be happy,” Kainu says. “When dogs can be dogs, even when they are wearing clothes, they don’t mind.”
The coat also comes with important safety features. Its reflective surface keeps dogs visible even in poor weather conditions, and Kainu notes that she’s had customers tell her it’s saved their dogs’ lives on stormy days.
It’s no wonder that PAIKKA is also a go-to brand among veterinarians searching for pet-safe products. Kainu adds that the vet-favorite products include ceramic cooling bowls that encourage dogs to drink more water, slow-feeder bowls that decelerate dinnertime for the sake of pup’ tummies, and burrow beds that help dogs get some shut-eye while swaddled in contouring memory foam.
Beyond being practical, all of PAIKKA’s products feature an appealing aesthetic. “It has to be functional, but it can also look nice,” Kainu says. The brand’s signature Scandi style is so appealing to humans that they now sell certain products, like the raincoat and recovery blanket, to pet parents, too.
Bringing Minimalism to the Sustainable Pet Market
PAIKKA ships internationally from a website filled with photos of dogs jumping, smiling, and posing their way through life in clothes that fit them beautifully. (Kainu is quick to point out that these dogs are not, in fact, supermodels, but simply the well-trained pups of friends and staff.) Images of a dog traversing the lush, serene landscapes of the Finnish countryside are never more than a click away. This speaks to the final throughline of all PAIKKA products: a commitment to sustainability.
“Everybody is asking quite often why we don’t yell more that we are sustainable,” Kainu explains. “The reason for that is that it’s obvious to us.” Like many Nordic countries, Finland has a “freedom to roam” written into its constitution, which grants everyone in the country the right to enjoy natural spaces, regardless of who owns them. But these “jokamiehen oikeudet” — or everyman’s rights — only exist because people in the country tread lightly on the land. They have an unspoken understanding that the natural environment is a gift that can’t be taken advantage of.
PAIKKA honors this ethos by using natural and recycled materials, including organic cotton, recycled polyester, and jute to make many of its clothes. The brand’s emphasis on staple items that can withstand the test of time also sets it apart from other pet accessory companies. “We definitely think that the most sustainable choice you can make is to buy a high-quality item that will last and last and last,” Kainu says.
PAIKKA sells products that’ll make you feel like you and your dog are ready for a day of traversing wild terrain, braving the elements in some faraway land, or simply engaging in the Finnish pastime of . “kalsarikännit”: drinking at home in your underwear, with zero intention of leaving.
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Emma is a writer, editor, and environmentalist based in New York City. She is the senior sustainability editor at mindbodygreen, the author of Return To Nature: The New Science of How Natural Landscapes Restore Us (April 2022), and the co-author of The Spirit Almanac: A Modern Guide To Ancient Self-Care. While she doesn’t have any pets of her own, she is a loving dog aunt to Pip the pup.