#arkitaipmuse Ruby Elmhirst
In our 'Muse of the Month'-series, we're introducing you to the inspiring women that surround us. This month we sat down with #arkitaipmuse Ruby Elmhirst to chat about the sustainable fashion sphere, climate-hypocrisy and Ruby's Lisbon-based, temporary concept store (of which arkitaip is part of too!)
Hi Ruby, we're so excited to chat with you today! Can you give us a little intro to your universe?
Hi! My universe pretty much consists of working with independent, emerging and more established sustainable brands - connecting them to opportunities which will enable them to open physical spaces and curating and concepting stores. For me, it is all about partnering with other like-minded brands and young creatives and playing a role in creating great spaces.
The rest of my universe is probably the total opposite of that.
Where is home for you?
Currently I am in Lisbon! I’m from London though and planning to move to New York next year.
You are a curator, writer, and consultant specialising in sustainability and social justice - can you tell us a bit more about what you do? How did you get into it?
I had gained a lot of experience in fashion when I was younger but had studied History where I focused on social history and was preoccupied with working on projects around giving young people voices. I was working on a project and became interested in learning more about the conditions in which embroidery was traditionally produced. This ultimately led to my focus on sustainable and ethical fashion. Within a few weeks I vowed to focus my spending power on buying from conscious labels that are reflective of my ethics. It was so different 5 years ago, there were no jobs in ethical fashion in the UK.
You can find us at Ruby's sustainable pop up
R. de São Bento 106
Tues, We’d, Thurs, Fri: 10-7PM.
Sat & Sun: 10-5PM
You have recently opened your first pop-up store in Lisbon - what can visitors expect?
The pop-up is a collaboration with Holiday Romance Store - the current collection is made up of these beautiful 70’s inspired prints that evoke a very subtle laid-back glamour and are produced sustainably and locally in Portugal, so that was the starting point for the design of the space. I think most importantly no matter what your age, you will find something in the store from our 28+ conscious brands that you’ll want to wear all the time! Curation is so important to me - for Lisbon it was fun to put together a joyful, shoppable store that people feel comfortable in - rather than something too conceptual and pretentious, or a mish-mash of random things! I spotted a woman out and about the other day walking and laughing with her boyfriend, totally comfortable. Her entire outfit (including arkitaip!) she'd bought from different sustainable brands in the store. That is so great to see.
What do you do to unwind outside of work? Do you have any rituals that you'd like to share with us?
Mornings! Most essential to my routine is coffee. Journaling/writing is powerful - jotting down your thoughts, plans, whatever - however you want. Meditation and movement if I can, I don’t like to be too neurotic about this but I also know I am out of balance if I go too long without a good morning. On the flip side to an introverted morning, I think that having a spontaneous, fun evening is so important.
What does sustainability mean to you? And how important is it in your everyday life?
For me, it is looking at my beliefs when it comes to living beings and the planet and making decisions that are reflective of this. I used to be very strict and I definitely go through phases where I set the bar higher and lower depending on my options and access. It is important to recognise one’s own hypocrisy and I am open to educating myself, learning from others and sometimes I simply change my perspective or approach. However, there are certain values, especially when it comes to clothing, that are set in stone for me.
Do you have any personal life hacks for getting through the day in the most sustainable way possible?
Probably just when buying, I try to look at each product as something that was produced by someone, somewhere and is manufactured with an array of different materials or components. If you break down products like this you start to ask the right questions and you can buy more consciously. At the very least, you will realise what you are ‘voting for’ with your purchase.
What are you currently reading, watching, listening to?
Last month I wrote a guide on mushrooms for Climate Conscious. I enjoy reading their short opinion pieces on climate related topics.I love to read classics and am currently reading Tender is the Night. I recently watched Concrete Cowboy which I loved. It emphasized the importance of community, access to physical spaces and nature for marginalised communities.
What's the most treasured item in your wardrobe? (and the story behind it)
One of the necklaces that I wear everyday. It is a recycled gold Logan Hollowell necklace from my dad to which I’ve added a gem pendant from this gorgeous locally crafted piece given to me by mother.I rarely take it off, and the combination together in one necklace always reminds me of family!
Finally, what are your three favourite arkitaip-pieces?
The Gerda Ruffled Slip Dress - love the easiness of this and the burnt colourway is flattering on everyone.
The Xavi Linen Bandeau Top - One of those easy summer pieces - i need this!
The Wabi Pleated Trousers in Taupe - I love these both fitted and oversized, so flattering and classic.
For more information about Ruby's Lisbon-based temporary concept store, click here.