In Conversation with Elisabeth Vestli
Too Damn Expensive
Which past experiences would you say have shaped your work, design sensibilities, & aesthetic?
It is hard to pinpoint exactly, I think it is the total of all experiences. I have travelled a lot and my general juvenile curiosity for all things in life brings me to a lot of places and experiences.
What is your personal philosophy in life?
I think that everything is connected. And that we would all be better off if we try to be nice and respect other people and think about our actions because it will affect somebody or something. Don't fall for instant gratification all the time. We are a lot of different people in this world with a lot of different beliefs, and it is about time that we tried a little bit harder to get along. And I think the way to do that is not by saying you are wrong and I am right, but rather sit down and have conversations and ask questions because none of us is sitting on the blueprint here. So instead of saying "you are wrong", ask why they have that belief and try to understand why, because there is usually a reason for it, and if you were in their shoes you might have ended up saying the same thing. In the end, we are not that different and we usually want the same thing, we just have different strategies to get there. And those strategies are usually a result of our experiences. Just be more open to other ideas and beliefs, worst case scenario, you might learn something.
I would also like to bring honesty back, this world is getting faker by the minute, where it is all about perception and not how things really are. I think a self-serving attitude will not make people happy in the end. And we can all work better on ourselves and our environment. At the same time it is also very important to not take things so seriously, gain some perspective and have fun!
What inspires your work?
The short and simple answer is everything. But often architecture. I always start with my collections the same way by taking squares or rectangles and model them on the body or construct them together. I like the contrast between the strict geometrical shapes and how they become fluid and organic together with the soft and silky fabric.
How would you define your personal style?
I wear a lot of my own design and my favourite go-to garment is the blazer.
What is your vision for your work?
I am fully aware of the fact that I am not exactly curing cancer by what I do( unfortunately) but my vision is to make people feel good through what they wear because I think if you feel better- you will do better!
Who are your favourite artists?
That changes from season to season actually.
What is your favourite travel destination and why?
I always travel to a new country every time as I want to see it all! But my favourite place so far is New York City. I also lived there for a short time some years ago. I felt very free and very much at home there. I like the directness and the honesty of it. And I met a lot of interesting people, it is a hub of a lot of different people and also a lot of talented people in various fields.
Your favourite activity that motivates & inspires you?
My favourite activity is to hang out with my friends. I like to go out and meet other interesting people that can teach me something new. My favourite tv show ever will have to be sex and the city!
Tell us something about your brand.
Too Damn Expensive is a new contemporary Scandinavian brand established in 2014 in Oslo, Norway. The brand encapsulates an intelligent sense of design with timeless and luxurious pieces. Collections are subtle, yet strong with sharp tailoring and fit. In Too Damn Expensive we focus on making cool and interesting quality garments that can be transformed and used in different ways, by either detaching parts or changing/knotting the garment itself. Most of our garments have that feature- so you will have several garments in one. We always have a neutral colour palette- black, white, grey or nude as they are classics and can be used anytime combined with everything. They always have an edge to them, but they are not trend driven so they will not be out the next season. We always design with a classic element and together with the craftsmanship, the pieces are made to last, be wardrobe staples and go-to favourites.
Our collections our non-season and we give out two collections a year. The garments are usually in the same fabric so it is easy to layer and combine together if you want a monochrome look.
The thought is that our garments can be used day-to-night, for work or play, so with a little adjustment (read: bring your heels!) you are ready for anything. We believe in the expression “if you feel better, you do better". We mostly use the soft and silky fabric Tencel/lyocell which is sustainably regenerated from wood cellulose and is one of the most environment-friendly regenerated fabrics so your conscience is clean while you look good.
Please tell us about your Sustainability initiative.
Sustainability is considered in every choice and every step along the way. And we are making quality garments that are made to last and be used in different ways. The fabric Tencel/lycell that we mostly use is biodegradeable. We don't order excess stock and consider the packaging. And we also set demands to our factory about employment well fare.