Meet Anna Foster, founder of E.L.V. DENIM. E.L.V is an acronym for East London Vintage; ‘East London’ stands for creativity, and ‘Vintage’ evokes sustainable responsibility. E.L.V. DENIM takes discarded unwanted denim and reuses and reworks this functional fabric into modern and sophisticated styles. Operating from an ideal of zero waste, every piece of denim used in production has zero impact on the environment and gives a second life to a fabric which otherwise would be destined for landfill. The entire collection is manufactured in East London, minimising waste, water and carbon footprint. It only takes 7L of water to create a pair of E.L.V. DENIM jeans, compared to 7000L for your average new pair. E.L.V. DENIM believes that making conscious choices and being entirely transparent with parties in the supply chain is of the utmost importance to give the consumer a sustainable alternative with jeans that are fit and fair.
01. How did you get into the world of fashion?
I started as an intern at i-D (a loooong time ago) and then I assisted the stylist Jane How for three years, before becoming a freelance stylist. I contributed to many titles over a long career leaving the role of Fashion Director of Lula Magazine to set up E.L.V. DENIM. However, I can’t give that side of my career up just quite yet as I am currently Fashion Director at large of RUSSH Magazine too. The E.L.V. DENIM aesthetic was very much influenced by my career as a stylist. I wanted to create aspirational looks that are effortless; looks that can be made up of only a few pieces. E.L.V. DENIM jeans instantly elevate any look.
02. What is one goal you are determined to achieve in your lifetime?
To leave behind something that lives past me. I would love for my children to take over my business, but I would never push them to do that. I hope to leave a legacy of establishing a 100% upcycled brand as a successful business model.
03. What makes you laugh no matter what?
Watching my youngest son play the drums and sing (with his headset on). That and silly jokes.
04. What has been your proudest moment since you launched?
Seeing how my jeans make people feel. I receive messages from women/men saying they can’t believe how perfectly the jeans fit them. Also, I know I have personally rescued every pair, and knowing it has been saved from landfill is a huge sense of pride for me.
05. What does creativity mean to you?
My creativity comes from a point of waste. I look at the damaged items from post-consumer waste and from there work out what can be made from it. The solutions come to me in the strangest of ways, and always when I least expect it, and always when I am on my own! I guess I need the quiet and headspace.
06. Best advice for your 19 year old self?
Don’t panic, you will work out what your destiny is at 24, and then again at 41.
07. What is your most treasured fashion possession?
I have so many – I am a terrible hoarder. I have kept lots of pieces that mean so much to me for my daughter. I even have the velour cycling-short body suit I wore to Madonna’s Blond Ambition Tour (now I am showing my age). She doesn’t know it yet, but she will inherit a rather enviable wardrobe when she is 18, or probably 16.
08. Trend you would like to see disappear forever?
Leggings that are so thin they look like tights and you can see your underwear through them. Oh and stretch denim.
09. What does success look like to you?
Family, friends and a business that inspires people.
10. What three goals do you wish to achieve with E.L.V DENIM?
- To encourage people to be conscious of their own consumption and to take care of their clothes.
- To encourage people to be fully aware of what happens when they throw their clothes away. Unfortunately, AWAY is not a place.
- Be aware of what your clothes cost. We have been told that it’s ok for items of clothing to be £2.99, and it really isn’t.