Maija Nygren founded AlmaBorealis, which translates to ‘Northern Soul’, as the brand for her knitwear designs.
Maija was born in Finland to a family of knitters; the clickety-clack of needles knitting socks and mittens (the most consumed items in the Finnish winter wardrobe) was a constant companion whilst growing up. Maija knitted her first five-needle mittens at the age of six, and crochet she began even earlier, at the age of five, having spent various holidays with her grandmother, watching her crochet endless (very grey…) coasters or table runners.
Maija eventually moved to London where she pursued a career in costume design and construction, working with a wide variety of theatres. Maija eventually specialised in children’s theatres and worked in this field as a costume designer, maker and milliner for a decade before making the move into the textile world.
Maija graduated a Textile Design degree in 2016 with a BA(Hons), specialising in knitted textiles, and continued on to further her expertise in knitwear through an MA in Knitwear.
The experience in children’s theatre echoes through Maija’s work. Bold colours, interactive details that invite a child to dress up, sensory-simulating tactile textures and imagination-provoking features that charm both the child and the parent. The products are designed to allow room for the child’s growth so that they can be enjoyed for more adventures.
Maija exclusively uses soft materials which make the child feel comfortable and safe. Ethical, sustainable and therefore local production is the core of Maija’s designs. The yarns are sourced from the UK, at best, only 30 miles away from where they get knitted up, by Maija herself with a hand-operated knitting machine. Maija believes that a high-quality product made with the best raw materials should and will last a long time.