Representing the creative future

HODAKOVA: The suit deconstructor that makes upcycling wearable

Ellen Hodakova Larsson persists on looking at the fun part of fashion

Ellen Hodakova Larsson started a brand during a pandemic. Her eponymous label, HODAKOVA, showed its first collection titled Conventional Collection 1121 at the end of last year, accompanied by a short film in which the viewer ‘gets to know earth in an undefined period where future and present question the performativity of one another’.

Ellen graduated from the Swedish School of Fashion’s BA Fashion Design program in 2019, showing a horse riding-inspired graduate collection at Copenhagen Fashion Week AW20. The show focused on the reimagining of the traditional sport of equestrianism and its attire, through upcycling, deconstructing, and repurposing garments. Her graduate collection landed her a place as a finalist at the 2019 Designers’ Nest awards and led to a collaboration with Weekday back in December, in which she transformed bras into skirts; gloves into tops.

Come spring 2020 and Ellen is launching HODAKOVA. A first offering came in December’s debut collection, featuring upcycled printed t-shirts and Ellen’s signature deconstructed suit designs with a distinct element of playfulness. Think crossbows for bag handles and wellington boots with painted toenails on them. There is a certain sharp humour in how HODAKOVA repurposes and reimagines what clothing can be, sustainably finding a new function in already existing materials and breaking the constricting minimalist expectations often placed on Swedish designers.

We spoke to Ellen about HODAKOVA and the sustainable mindset at the core of the brand.

 

Directed by Ellen Hodakova Larsson, Edited by Lars Bronseth, Styled by Nicole Walker

Can you take us through your journey after graduation? How did you decide to start your own brand?

You know the feeling of following your intuition even though others should call it a bad time? I guess it runs in my family, to follow that feeling. After graduation, I felt that my work was appreciated and that I actually have an opportunity to share my visions of alternative ways to make clothes. I have always wanted to run my own company so I feel like trying that out. I feel so blessed right now to have a studio to go to every day, sharing it with my friends and making fun projects together. It is everything to me.

“I learned that press management is the core value in every project and the promotion has to be well planned in order to give a result.” – Ellen Hodakova Larsson

What are the core elements of your work and process?

It starts with pleasure and curiosity. In my case, it begins with experimenting with expectations and surprises. I play with these elements and continue making a puzzle of that investigation. Then I take a step back and reflect on it, it gives me a story. Intuition is the main core.

How did your collaboration with Weekday come up and did it help your brand in any way? 

I texted Alice who is the creative designer at Weekday and asked if we could do a creative project together. Because of my interest in deconstructing and repurposing deadstock clothes, we decided on a project where my work could be significant. I learned that press management is the core value in every project and the promotion has to be well planned in order to give a result. It can absolutely be beneficial.

Do you design and produce your pieces on your own or do you have a team?

I do it by myself except when I have interns helping me out. I also have a dream community helping me out when I’m in need.

Is it hard to have upcycling and sustainability at the heart of your designs?

It’s not an easier way to produce, but nothing is easy until you have practiced it for a long time. Then you become a pro.

What is the hardest thing about running a brand? Are there any elements that you are struggling with?

The hardest is to do everything for the first time. But that makes you evolve so quickly which I enjoy a lot. When you are learning how to succeed on your own, every step is exciting and it makes you expand your understanding. At the moment I am struggling with the production part and I am also figuring out a way to approach a routine system. The pandemic has given me the time and opportunity to focus and to collaborate with friends at home in this project.

“The prerequisite for being able to create new collections is to find sponsors and partners.” – Ellen Hodakova Larsson

Where do you want to go with your brand- what is your ideal pathway in the industry?

I want to bring forward cooperation and disarm the notion of egoism. The prerequisite for being able to create new collections is to find sponsors and partners.

What were the inspirations of this collection?

My signature design is my suit-deconstructions but as I also bring in some playful parts. In this collection, I wanted to try to not follow a branding-focus direction too much. So instead I brought in some of the conceptual parts of the love we should share, for each other, the animals, and for the planet. My childhood was framed around nature and animals which I naturally feel huge care and respect for. Elements of these are present as references in the collection, highlighting the responsibility man has against it. Now more than ever.

1 Granary

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