A hobby project between a mother and daughter focused on handmade production of organic baby clothes was the catalyst for Kristina Forrest to land on her own label creation.
Keen to keep the organic cottons involved, Forrest moved towards womenswear and incorporated beautiful vintage Japanese fabrics, she called it Elk & Ina.
“My mum and I had a website selling organic baby clothing and I was inspired to make some pretty organic cotton/vintage kimono fabric girls clothes,” Forrest says.
“I was making clothing for myself at this time and after a while I decided to start making some of these designs to sell along with the little girls clothes.”
Eventually she let go of the children’s clothing and has slowly grown the women’s collection instead – all of which are designed, cut, sewn, wrapped and posted by her from her home sewing studio.
When it comes to textiles, Forrest says her environmental concerns help shape the sorts of fabrics that are used in her collections.
“I mostly use 100% GOTS certified organic cotton for my pieces along with a small amount Japanese cotton for the trims/details. Some of my obi belts are made with vintage kimono fabric, which I love!
“I’ve also been experimenting with linen lately and am looking at using some other gorgeous eco-friendly fabrics.”
Forrest has also tried hand painting her own textiles using eco-friendly fabric paints and says she’s excited to see where that leads.
To reduce waste in the collections, Forrest says she tries to use as much of the fabric as possible by using offcuts off larger pieces for pockets and swing tag strings.
“I use up almost every Japanese cotton scrap by making patchwork pieces which adorn the bags I make.”
“There is very little waste and I keep all the scraps in the hope I will find a use for them at some point or find someone else that can use them!”
The Elk & Ina pieces are posted in biodegradable/compostable postage bags and Forrest says she makes an effort to avoid using plastic in the packaging process completely.
She only keeps a small amount of the range made up and ready to sell, with the majority of the range being made to order, which also helps to cut down on excess stock waste.
The Elk & Ina pieces are for women who are into Earth-conscious purchases, that like the idea of comfortable clothes with a relaxed modern street style.
Forrest also says that her label is loved by women who have body types different from the standard sizing as she happily makes custom pieces.
“I want the people who shop at my online store to feel like they are having a personal and unique experience, like the old days of going to a tailor to have a special piece of clothing made.”