Home » GLOBAL DESIGNER SPOTLIGHT » Global Designer Spotlight: Elínrós Líndal from ELLA of Reykjavik, Iceland

Global Designer Spotlight: Elínrós Líndal from ELLA of Reykjavik, Iceland


 

ELLA Fall/Winter 2013-14 at Reykjavik Fashion Festival

ELLA Fall/Winter 2013-14 at Reykjavik Fashion Festival

 

 

Nominated by the World Economic Forum as Young Global Leader Class 2013, Elínrós Líndal’s work as creative director of cool Reykjavik-based fashion company, ELLA, buoyed by her mission to keep  the integrity within the world of fashion intact, has not gone unnoticed. Having completed psychology and mass communications degree at the University of Iceland, Líndal also armed herself with an MBA from Reykjavik University. Straight from the runways of the Fall/Winter 2013-14 collections at Reykjavik Fashion Festival, she sits down with us and chats about the changing speeds of fashion and how fashion can be a very ‘accurate’  economic barometer.

 

Elinros Lindal, Creative Director of ELLA

Elínrós Líndal, Creative Director of ELLA

 

 

 

What made you decide to get into the fashion business?

 

Fashion has always been of interest for me. I´ve worked in fashion most of my life but was always trying to grow out of it. But in the 1990´s when Quick Response became important element in fashion and so called Fast Fashion was born I felt a lot of value was pushed out of the industry.

 

ROI was as important as creating value for all stake holders of fashion companies – which created opportunity for Slow Fashion companies such as ELLA.

 

Concepts of integrity and honesty are  important for educated working women today – and we at ELLA seek to dress business leaders for their occasions. It has worked well on our market and we feel we could do it in foreign markets also.

 

 

You refer to “Fast Fashion” and “Slow Fashion”. Can you explain these terms? 

 

Yes Slow Fashion – emphasis low quantity high quality. We make everything in our economic zone. Production sycles is around 42 weeks – where as everybody in the company things about environmental issues in their work. Our head of design gets good time to create luxury classical items to perfection and tailors get good time – so we do no short cuts.

We also have a strong CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility)  - where we support women in our society but also by giving part of our sales of parfume to UN WOMEN Trust Fund To end Violence against Women.

We never copy trends and the fashion calendar is not important to us. We always offer good selection on clothes in our store, and the customer does not ask for what is new, she/he asks – Where is the quality?
Fast Fashion on the other hand has cycles that are from 2 weeks to 5 weeks. Company in Fast Fashion copy trends and offer garments that are made in the part of the world where people are not paid fairly for their work. ROI is an important concept and the customer is fed with the notion of always buying new stuff regularly.
Who inspired you when you were just starting out?

 

As a business person – Jack Welch has always been of interest for me. His believes in teams and the value of each person is of inspiration for me.

 

With designs, our muses have been Catherine Deneuve, Sophia Loren, Lauren Hutton and Lauren Bacall.  All very independent women who are both very talented but also visionaries.

 

 

ELLA Fall/Winter 2013-14at Reykjavik Fashion Festival

ELLA Fall/Winter 2013-14 at Reykjavik Fashion Festival

 

 

Who inspires you now? 

 

Our muses are important to us and we choose new muse for each season. But being a business leader in a new venture – in a business sector of 1% succees rate, I must say my amazing advisors are very important to me and inspire me each day with their believe in ELLA and the vision we are trying to follow.

 

 

Has your sources of inspiration changed in any way?

 

First when I started creating ELLA – all of my time went into creating the brand,  our mission, vision, values and business strategy. Now that I have surrounded me with very talented people everybody is adding to the original idea. In the beginning famous actresses and big names were inspirations, but now I must admit that I have found inspirations from people that are willing to share their advise and knowledge and have shown us trust and shared their knowledge. It´s our customers, our advisors, the people in our near environment.

 

 

What part of the day best inspires you?

 

The mornings.

 

 

From where do you gather your inspiration?

 

My main inspiration comes from our economy, I love numbers, informations, statistics and everything that can shed light on the business sector I´m working in.

 

I believe fashion to be one of the most accurate measurements of economy at each given point in time. Thus being ELLA´s creative director it´s important for me to translate my believes about the future into relevant ideas for designs.

 

Head of design for ELLA – works with my ideas and then translate them into beautiful items you see on the catwalk.

 

ELLA Fall/Winter 2013-14at Reykjavik Fashion Festival

ELLA Fall/Winter 2013-14 at Reykjavik Fashion Festival

 

 

What is the story board/inspiration behind your latest collection for Autumn/Winter 2013?

 

We choose Lauren Bacall as our muse  – The late sixties was also inspiring us – area of liberation, happiness and freedome. We wanted to make collection that would translate into celebration on the catwalk.

 

 

I see that as per the press info you wanted to give your collection  a bit of a social commentary acknowledging the recession and using this collection as a way of coming out of it the other end with “grace and mindfulness”. Can you expand on that philosophy and thought process with respect to this collection?

 

We feel that we are sailing into a new area – where people are starting to value things differently. For example – people vote with their money and cant afford to buy cheap anymore.

 

People are concerned about the environment, want to support value and believe that happiness is a state of mind.

 

It does not take a lot of courage to act cool – but putting your heart out there, smiling and behaving with grace and mindfulness takes courage. And we think that is relevant today.

 

 

Your collection also boasts a certain sense of vintage mystic with the cuts and silhouettes. Am I correct there?

 

The fabrics are from Loro Piana, Colombo and other genious fabric manufacturers in Italy – so they remind us of the good old times in fashion.

 

I feel our differentiator is good pattern making, and we take no shortcuts there.

 

 

How do you unwind?

 

Probably with more work, new challenges! But Icelandic outdoor swimming pools do wonders for entrepreneurs like me!

 

ELLA Fall/Winter 2013-14at Reykjavik Fashion Festival

ELLA Fall/Winter 2013-14 at Reykjavik Fashion Festival

 

 

What makes the fashion scene in Reykjavik so unique?

 

It´s hard to say. Maybe the fact that the industry is young and thus the rules are few! But I must say that all of the Icelandic designers we have come to know are amazing. MUNDI, JÖR, ANDREA MAACK, Linda Björg for SCINTILLA – You must come and meet them!

 

 

How does (if it does) the Reykjavik fashion consumer differ from other consumers?

 

I believe that the Icelandic consumer is very similar to the international one –The opportunities are that the city is small and everybody want´s to know what you are doing. News travel fast.

 

The consumer is very fashion oriented and wants real value.

 

But as everybody knows it takes 10 years to be an expert in every industry – and tipping point comes faster than you would have wanted on small markets like Iceland – so that is a real challenge to avoid.

 

 

What makes the Reykjavik woman/man unique?

 

You tell me. It´s hard for me to say – but what I have heard is her/his beautiful looks and charmatic behaviour is unique.

 

 

What are the challenges of the Reykjavik fashion scene?

 

It´s a very young industry and thus few real role models. We have limited information about the industry but that will hopefully change in the near future. Everybody is really supportive when it comes to fashion – but real value for the society is yet to be measured and the few fashion company that are in Reykjavik Fashion Scene are writing the history and hopefully creating opportunity for young designers to hone their skills.

 

ELLA Fall/Winter 2013-14 at Reykjavik Fashion Festival

ELLA Fall/Winter 2013-14 at Reykjavik Fashion Festival

 

 

How does social media play a part in your overall branding?

 

 

Social media is very important, but word of mouth is still the most important tool in fashion marketing. And one can only work on positive news with honesty and integrity. Words about real value travel fast!

 

 

What advice would you give to up-and-coming designers and design students who are interested in following this career path?

 

Be true to your values and find company that you look up to and start your career path there. Then find a business partner and focus on learning from people around you. Learning from mistakes is equally important as learning from success. If you decide to embrace opportunites and look in the mirror when you do mistakes – the world is at your feet!

 

Also – don’t hesitate to creat something that you are passionate about – and don’t hesitate even though only small part of the people around you get it. It’s the essence of new ideas – they are new you have to sell it to the market.

 

Books will not be written about how you failed – you will be remembered for your effort, reciliance and brilliant ideas.

 

 

What is the best advice you’ve received and still treasure today?

 

If you don’t have a competitive advantage, don’t compete. - Jack Welch

 

 

You can connect with the designer in the following ways:

 

Their website: www.ellabyel.com

Their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ellabyel

Via Email: info@ellabyel.com

 

 

Runway photography courtesy of Ingimar Flóvent / Reykjavik Fashion Festival

 

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