Ellen Hodakova Larsson grew up on a horse farm near Strängnäs, Sweden, about an hour west of Stockholm, where she currently lives. Larsson’s father was in the military and often called abroad, but always returned home full of ideas for new projects.
Her mother, a seamstress specializing in fur repair, was resourceful. “We had a tablecloth that she made a dress out of,” remembers Larsson. “My parents rarely bought anything new for me and my brother. It was about creating what we needed.”
The 31-year-old seems to have inherited that ingenuity—in fact, it’s a hallmark of Hodakova, the sustainable brand she founded in 2021 after graduating from the Swedish School of Textiles the year prior. Larsson deconstructs and reclaims secondhand garments and vintage accessories, often salvaging past-season pieces and scraps from much larger companies like Gucci.
These material constraints yield reinterpretations of wardrobe staples—like soft, tailored suiting, or leather handbags made from woven belts—that are playful and sculptural. For her Fall/Winter 2023 show in Paris, Larsson fashioned paneled pencil skirts from leather belts, a prickly ankle-length gown from sewing needles, and cap-sleeved dresses from nylon windbreakers courtesy of the Swedish sportswear company Houdini.
In an effort to create versatile and seasonless garments, she eschews bright colors in favor of a restrained, neutral palette. The most literal translation of her commitment to timelessness and versatility can be found in her Fall/Winter 2022 collection, for which she presented a series of slinky skirts and halter tops made of ticking antique watches. “The challenge,” she says, “is to use timelessness to create a new kind of timelessness.”
This feature is part of CULTURED's Emerging Designer portfolio, featured in the September issue.