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Textile firm Finlayson buys rights to retro Reino and Aino slippers

The new owners said production of the popular slippers needs to be moved abroad.

Lieksa Reinot ja Ainot
The plaid slippers have been an iconic Finnish brand since the 1930s. Image: Ari Tauslahti / Yle

Finnish textile firm Finlayson announced on Thursday that it has bought the branding rights to Reino and Aino slippers.

PK Kappi, the North Karelian-based company which made the easily-recognisable plaid slippers declared bankruptcy earlier this year.

Finlayson's creative director, Kukka Kurttila, said the firm is looking for a reliable European manufacturer that meets its demands on quality, cost and responsibility.

Kurttila said it is regrettable that the shoes can no longer be feasibly produced in Finland, noting that PK Kappi went bankrupt even though the slippers still sell well. He characterised Reino and Aino as a "national property."

"Therefore we want to secure continued production," he said, adding that product development and sales will continue to be handled in Finland.

The slippers - Reinos for men and Ainos for women - have been keeping feet warm since the 1930s.

The soft shoes have been worn at home, in offices, outdoors and even local shopping centres by people of all ages. The brand received a shot in the arm in the mid-2000s after the vintage-style slippers became popular with youths.

Kurttila said Finlayson plans to restore the nearly century-old brand to its roots.

"There have been attempts to make it a fashion brand. But that's not our plan. I think the heart of Reino and Aino is one that does not follow trends," he said, but added that there is a possibility of expanding other products under the brand.

Factory closed Thursday

PK Kappi's manufacturing facility in North Karelia's municipality of Lieksa officially closes on Thursday.

The bankruptcy forced the company to dismiss 17 employees, including Satu Turunen, who's worked at the factory for the past decade.

Story continues after photo.

Lieksa Satu Turunen Reinotehdas
Satu Turunen has worked at the PK Kappi factory for the past ten years. Image: Marja-Liisa Kämppi / Yle

"It seems quite shocking that a Finnish product is now being exported abroad. The slippers have been made in Finland since the '30s," Turunen said, adding that most of her work colleagues are now unemployed.

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