The moment when singing birds guided our entry (just past the hour on an early spring morning) into Joline Kwakkenbos’ and Britt Liberg’s (ELLIOT Collective) working space was utterly irresistible. Located inside the Dutch sandy woods, the dignified thickness of monumental beech trees surrounding their studio turns the landscape into a type of cathedral. It invokes an incantation found again later, rendered in each of their garment’s behavior like their trademark’s genes.
Within ELLIOT Collective’s luminous white working space, regardless of what stage of the creation process garments are experiencing, there is a common resemblance between them: flotation. Hanging irregularly all over the place items are unrecognizable by their front or back, top or bottom. Their brand’s regenerative products, all made out of leftovers, appear to be on a gyratory mission, emanating the exact movement of beauty and chaos that bodies often crave. Apropos, when was the last time you let your body dance? Their story definitely moves into the performative direction and is guided by the fundamental idea that fashion should be the jollification of our desires accompanied by ethical components.
This is why we like ELLIOT Collective: being easy to wear and layer, it is never just one thing!
We instantly wondered what ELLIOT Collective fittings would look like. While we did not witness one live, we understood that there is always a driving power when a sample is ready to be tested by jumping into nature to dance, dance and keep dancing. Documentation of their product ends up being very acrobatic, helping the potential wearer to open up for motivation and the risk of the same movement that their recycled fabrics have (each style is a unique item and its materials have previously been traveling on someone’s skin).
We left the working space sensing a deep collaboration with the trees we saw at the entrance: inside those serious trunks lives a natural magnet that wraps up and holds the work of Joline and Britt. The aero inserted naturally on each created garment, not just the pleasant and invisible lining, but also the liberal space that protects and connects it to the body.
Commuting back home by way of the tiny train station nearby, we concluded that the idea of owning material is a journey detached and distant from what ELLIOT Collective stands for. Their graphic and appealing garments, rooted in nature, live somewhere on top of the skin but hardly stick to it. And if you don’t move with them, then one fine day they might just fly away.
Marcelo Horacio Maquieira Piriz
Photos © Félice Knol