There’s no clear path to sustainability in fashion, but one popular approach is offering so called “timeless” designs in the form of trend-resistant investment pieces to encourage a buy less, buy better mentality. The making of her fall line-up left Ellen Hodakova Larsson, a young Swede who works with existing garments and deadstock fashion, with more questions that answers.
“If I want to run a brand, then I think the only way to do it is to make it timeless. But what is timeless today?” she said on a call. “This season is mainly me playing with the that question in a way, because I don’t really know what a sustainable fashion brand is today, if it’s not using the history that was before us—in design, but also materials, context and storytelling. But then you also want to try new things.”
Larsson’s preoccupation with seconds, minutes, and hours is most directly communicated in a series of pieces made of watch faces and straps, cousins of the button looks of last season. But the theme is considered from many nuanced angles. Deconstruction is key to this designer’s work. It’s a technique that allows her not only to take existing things apart, but also out of their original context in order to place them in another, contemporary one. In Larsson’s hands, jackets become dresses and pants become jackets and skirts and obis. Things are not what they seem to be, though surrealism is not what Larsson is after; the strength of her work is in its materiality.
“I’ve tried to keep quite a lot of my directness,” said the designer. An example of that is the LBD (look 2) she made by simply putting a jacket on the floor and cutting away the unwanted parts. This straightforwardness allowed for experimentation elsewhere. For fall Larsson’s focus was split between structure and textiles—in a sense it always is—but throughout you can see instances where she essentially made her own textiles by cutting material and stitching it together to make fabric and then designing the garment. An example of this is the long white shirt dress worn with a sort of belt crinoline or overskirt (look 31). A skirt suit (look 29) has a filigree-like embellishment created using self-created ribbons that were then arranged and sewn to the base.
Texture is a big theme of the fall 2022 season, and Larsson addressed this using upcycled shearlings. The result was pieces that felt bulky and somehow mired in a sepia-colored past, which the brand is generally able to steer clear of. The contrast between those faded wooly looks and the sport tech ones, made using donations from the Swedish sustainable outdoor company Houdini, was vast. The rawness the shearling might have been intended to convey was better communicated through Larsson’s decision to show her hand in the clothes, using leather strings to whipstitch seams on a jacket and ingenious gaiters made of woven leather belts, a Hodakova signature.
Another recurring theme in Larsson’s work is the grand gesture, often one that has a couture-like flair. It’s seen in the draped fall of a top made from a pair of pants, the fan-like layering of white trousers for evening separates, and the decadent ruffs and crinolines of the season. In Hodakova’s world time is not linear: rather there’s a constant dialogue between past and present that is as relevant as that happening between fashion and tech and is worth listening in on.
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