MEET THE MAKERS: NINA
Studio Elsien Gringhuis believes in long-term collaborations and we are committed to ensuring that people are able to upgrade their skills and pursue their passions under excellent working conditons. We produce in our own studio in The Netherlands with the help of skilled tailors, that we train ourselves. This way we support (local-) craftsmanship, that in many ways is about to be forgotten and stimulate economic growth of the local community.
We would like you to meet our makers. By sharing our ideas of fair fashion at Studio Elsien Gringhuis and the ideas of our makers, we’d like to give you a closer perspective on fair fashion.
Function at SEG: Design/Production intern & P.A.
Why did you choose to work for SEG?
Elsien combines sustainability with a modern and fresh aesthetic. This aroused my interest: I wanted to find out how she works and how she manages to meet the demand for sustainable produced clothing. I have always been interested in the production of sustainable clothing.
Sometimes I have to justify being a designer to myself. I then wonder if it wouldn’t be better to make something more meaningful. It makes sense to design and produce clothes if you are aware of your responsibility towards people and the environment. That is why I decided to do an internship with SEG.
What does clothing mean to you?
My primary fascination is aesthetics. The whole appearance/look is what matters to me, rather than a single piece of clothing. That means; hair, make-up, shoes – all that creates an atmosphere around a garment and makes it look special. Everyone combines clothing differently and finds their own way to wear a garment. I think this individual approach is very inspiring.
Clothes are special and valuable to me, because they are a second skin. Meeting the requirements to make it feel like a second skin is a huge challenge. Every seam and stitch has its own function and is a part of the finished garment. I like to feel cosy and comfortable in my clothing. I choose my outfit in the morning depending on how I feel. Clothes shouldn’t disturb me in my daily routine. It is most annoying and distracting when you choose the wrong thing and you’re tied all day to something that doesn’t seem so fitting and pleasant as you thought it would.
How do you experience the clothing industry today?
I think the industry is overwhelming. I am just starting, so I’m trying to find a way to get a clear picture. I see the clothing industry characterised by repeating patterns which, as we probably all know, are not only good ones. The ‘Fast fashion’ system for instance is almost impossible to break through. Many different influences create such patterns. As a designer on your own you cannot turn the tide for the better: All parties within the sustainable fashion industry have to join hands, otherwise it won’t work. If we want to transform the system fundamentally, we have to let go of old systems. I want to understand the industry better and I am very interested in learning ways to put all the factors together, so that a positive change can be made.
What would you like to change about it if you could?
It would be nice if we could get away from the constant profit thoughts. It doesn’t matter if you are an entrepreneur, a sponsor or simply a consumer. Everyone wants more for less money – this just doesn’t work out.
What is your favorite SEG garment and why?
Hm, that is difficult to answer. Elsien made so many nice garments. What I particularly like about my internship at SEG is that I got to see and touch the clothes, which made it more valuable and special. Before I started, I only knew the garments from pictures. They became more valuable and more special after experiencing them: The beautiful qualities of the textiles, plus I also better understand the amount of work, which is involved in the production process.
What do you like most about SEG and why do you think SEG stands out in the (sustainable) clothing industry?
What fascinates me is that Elsien started 10 years ago as a real pioneer. At that time, sustainable fashion was not yet so widespread as today. To survive these 10 years and to constantly develop further is certainly a great achievement. In my opinion Elsien could achieve this, because she always trusts herself and is true to herself and does her own thing. This makes the label special. And the fact that she produces everything locally in Holland, even in her own studio in Arnhem adds extra value.
Where do you see yourself in ten years from now?
If I only I knew… I think I will just follow my way into fashion and hope that I find a great innovative place, where I can be involved and support the team. However, the uncertainty and the complexity, which fashion brings, keeps my mind awake is an incentive that I would not want to miss. So in short, I just try to stayed tuned to what is topical, now as well as in ten years. 🙂