Elsien Gringhuis: a Dutch master of ethical fashion
Fashion is about well made clothes that can stay in your wardrobe for years – Elsien Gringhuis
When Dutch designer Elsien Gringhuis started her eponymous label in 2008, it was with a mission to make something she didn’t see much of in the marketplace: high-end clothes made in a sustainable way. After graduating Cum Laude at the academy of visual arts in Arnhem (ArtEZ), she won the Createurope in Berlin, the Mittelmoda in Italy and was nominated for the Frans Molenaar-award (2008). She went on to win the Green Fashion Competition (2011) and the Fair Luxury Award (2012).
When it comes to brand philosophy, the clothes are made with attention to details and with an aim for the best quality in everything. Elsien Gringhuis also is a seasonless brand. More than a trend, ethical fashion brands are more often deciding to break away from the traditional fashion calendar of producing multiple collections annually. Producing new collections quarterly or bi-annually are part of a consumerist pattern that doesn’t reflect the longevity and stability of well made fashion. Says Elsien,
In the beginning I designed and produced two complete new collections every year. But I became so frustrated to put so much time, money and energy in it and ‘throwing it away’ after 6 months. So I decided to only design timeless items which we add to our BOOKS. Within these books we make chapters. The idea is that all items can be reordered as long as the fabrics are available. We do not design every season a completely new collection. We just add styles. All items stay in the BOOKS as long as the fabrics are available.
The current ‘chapter’ is inspired by the sky and Elsien’s father, a Dutch painter who lived in Canada (he passed away in 2014) and only painted skies.
The brand also shifted production locally. In the beginning, Elsien Gringhuis was produced in other European countries, but between the distance and communication challenges, they decided to bring it back to the Netherlands. Shares Elsien,
I really wanted to stimulate the local craftsmanship again. So far that was a very good decision. It also makes us very flexible. When stores place a re-order, we can deliver in 3 weeks.
Find the brand in shops in Germany, Belgium, Zwitserland, Norway and the Netherlands, and online.