THE ELVINE STORY
ELVINE MÄND may not be known by a lot of people, but her legacy and name is embroidered on the behinds and across the hearts of many. Elvine worked as a seamstress in Estonia during the Second World War. Taking pride in her work she produced clothes with great discipline, painstakingly ensuring quality in a strictly practical culture.
When the Russians invaded, Elvine made a run for Estonia's neutral neighbor, Sweden. Having lived through two World Wars, Elvine persistently continued her craft in Sweden in order to provide for her four little girls.
In 1975, Elvine's youngest daughter gave birth to a boy named Daniel Mänd, who in his own time would revive Elvine in a whole new way. Daniel grew up in Kortedala in the outskirts of Gothenburg, and quickly became one with the streets. Graffiti became a way out for Daniel, who found the same thrill in tagging and bragging as the people around him did in fighting and stealing. Graffiti culture was just as real, only nicer.
As time passed, Daniel learned he could make money from his passion. Graffiti was moving into the galleries, with people wanting prints on walls and t-shirts instead of pieces on trains and trams.
With the opening of his own street wear store, Daniel realized what it was he and his friends weren't able to find in the clothing industry. The idea of bridging gaps came to mind. He wanted to create something that came entirely from him and Gothenburg's unrefined street culture, but made in the tradition of his grandmother.
Wanting to reach people from the street, Daniel found inspiration in his everyday life, and more importantly, in his friends. It was all about having a good time and bringing his community closer together, creating clothes he and his buddies could actually wear themselves, clothes they couldn't find elsewhere.
Daniel spent most of his nights on the sewing machine, stitching on tags and re-tailoring clothes he got back from the factory. And somehow, the founder had become the very essence of his own brand. The unsophisticated boy from the streets became obsessed with quality and sophisticated craftsmanship. Daniel's life on the streets merged with his grandmother's functional legacy to create a new kind of Elvine: Sophisticated clothes for unsophisticated behavior.
INTERVIEW WITH THE ELVINE FOUNDER
Elvine prides itself on a strong denim philosophy, but aims to produce a varied line that goes beyond denim, incorporating different materials, washes and treatments in order to give the clothes an effortless elegance.
We strive to produce clothes that transcend seasons, that are easy to wear and combine with the rest of your wardrobe, clothes with a good fit and clean cut, ornamented with innovative details that force others to take notice.
Daniel Mänd is the founder and Chief Designer of Elvine.
Can you describe what Elvine clothes are all about?
"I've always tried to create clothes that me and my friends can't seem to find elsewhere on the market. Casual yet sophisticated clothes with a great fit. Clothes that you can feel comfortable wearing everyday and everywhere."
How do you find inspiration before you design a collection? What inspires you?
"Late nights, Gothenburg, traveling and Japanese people. But most of all, my friends. You can read about some of them in our brand booklet."
Can you describe your design process in a few sentences?
"It usually starts with a group discussion within our company, in order for me to find the framework for the collection and get a feeling about where we want to go with it. Then I travel to interesting places in order to get loads of impressions and inspiration. I always bring my sketch book and usually sketch about half the collection really fast in order to get myself started, and to get something on paper. But when I get back home I tend to revise the whole thing and start all over, before finishing the collection in two intense weeks. Designing goes really fast for me when I find the flow."
What about the production?
"During the whole design process I'm very conscious about the production process, thinking ahead in regards to which textiles to use, how it's going to be produced and which details might be suitable for the different garments. Quality is really important to us. I love visiting our factories and finding out about new textiles and techniques, and to get a feel for the production process. I hope this is something you'll notice and feel wearing our clothes."