Portrait #2 Emma Elwin
Emma Elwin is a stylist who spent four years working as a fashion editor at ELLE and as a freelance consultant. Her blog is one of Sweden’s most popular fashion blogs – read by knowledgeable working women – and during the past few years Emma has increasingly put an emphasis on issues surrounding environmental and social sustainability.
What is your latest personal project?
My family and I have had a dream since my husband and I met, which is to rebuild a van into a kind of motorhome that can take us around on the surfing trips we always dream of being on, and the wait have been unusually long this year. It really is ... a process! The only thing I'm talking about right now is insulation and wiring diagrams. But if everything goes as it should and circumstances allow, we will leave for three months in the summer.
You have extensive experience in the fashion industry, how is your approach to fashion today?
Since we started Make it last, which is a platform for more sustainable fashion, we have carved our own path, which was probably necessary for me in order to continue working with fashion. Today I don’t keep track of the latest shows and we talk very little about "regular" fashion brands at work, instead we are interested in initiatives that are innovative and try to be more sustainable. My personal approach is to maintain and give love to my already existing wardrobe, which consists of carefully selected garments that I always return to. I like to plan how it is slowly developed and refined, which garments should be allowed in and what requirements they must meet.
What do you prefer to see in new brands, what makes you interested?
Ideas that are part of the solution and create opportunities for a circular fashion environment, instead of creating even more abundance and unnecessary emissions. It's easier said than done, but there are fantastic new business models that deserve a lot more attention than they're getting so far. It can be about local production, creating fair jobs, offering new services such as renting out garments or just producing according to demand, or making new garments from textiles that already exist.
If you could wish for 3 things for the upcoming fashion industry, what would it be?
Oh, big question. Ecological, social and economic sustainability.
What is your relationship to craftsmanship?
Also big question. I dreamed of becoming a fashion designer when I was younger. I am a person who sits and fiddles with stuff and makes sure to learn new things in a dedicated way, whether it's about cutting film, sewing stuff or rebuilding a car. Lol. I'm also very image-driven, someone who literally paints scenarios to imagine them. Crafts are… everything ?! I love people who know their craft and nerd themselves into it, whatever it is about. I can often recognize myself in it.
How do you think we can increase interest in the craft in today's fashion, and not just see the final product?
I want to believe that people are ready to approach fashion in a way that is more similar to our grandparents. That you invest in a garment and then make sure to take care of it instead of replacing it. To value the garments that last for generations and see them as luxurious. I think there are many brands that help drive that business, yours is a good example.
What drives you in your work with Make it last?
To make even more people realize that you can approach fashion in a more long-term way. That it does not actually need to be done at the expense of the environment or people. To be involved and contribute to a shift in attitudes. Get people to shop for less unnecessary things and understand the consequences in a more concrete way. And above all, to show that it is inspiring rather than limiting.
How do you think we can change the value markers in fashion?
I believe that talking about, for example, climate change contribute to a slow shift in what is considered "normal". The work with Make it last has really taught us to be patient, standards are changing very slowly, but in the six years we have been talking about sustainable fashion, a lot has happened. Above all, the subject has ended up on the agenda on a broad front.
And finally, how do you style Laura jumper?
Oh, I like to wear it either with a white shirt underneath, or tucked into jeans with a belt. It's nice that it can be worn as an oversized knitted sweater but also a little more "dressed".
Thank you Emma