Louise Xin on creating Scandinavia’s first rental only, non-sale couture brand
Working with upcycled fabrics and deadstock and with the humanitarian work playing a big part of the brand, the Stockholm-based creator has clearly added several layers of sustainability to her brand.
29 Mar 2022

Xin founded her couture brand two years ago with one of a kind couture dresses that can’t be bought but rented for special occasions.

— For now, everything is handmade by me in my atelier making each dress a one piece only, she says. Because of its style and size, you are only going to use this kind of dress once in your life, and my vision is to always the brand not purchasable.

Louise Xin. Photography: Emma Grann.
Dress made of upcycled organza, showcased at Röhsska’s exhibition. Photography: Emma Grann.

You’re an almost self-taught couture designer. Tell us about your background.

— Coming from an academic and artistic family, I started to paint before I could write. So, I’ve also seen fashion from an art perspective. I had a passion for fashion but was very sure I didn’t want to create another mass production brand. That was when I discovered the world of couture and fell in love completely. In this world, I could create fashion but in a more artistic way, combining my passion for art with my passion for fashion. I did some courses in pattern making in high school, the couture part started as a pure experiment — and it still is.

It’s easy to imagine that starting a brand creating pieces for festive occasions right at the beginning of a pandemic that disrupted them all has been challenging. However, Louise Xin has been even busier than she perhaps expected.

— Building a brand takes a lot of time, but I’ve been very lucky to already have the honour to have some of the best artists and public figures as clients for red carpets, press photos, and so forth, she tells, adding,

— The way I work with fabrics makes the dresses even more unique, since the material in itself —  picked from a vintage kimono from Japan, textiles from second-hand stores, deadstock fabrics, and such — is one of a kind.

Louise Xin receiving Fabric of Life award 2021.

Last fall, you became the first-ever recipient of the Fabric of Life award. A few weeks ago, you were also part of the Nine Muses festival.

— Yes, an amazing experience with an amazing atmosphere. Spotify really did a great job creating a safe space for women to come together to learn, discuss, and connect. I was mostly talking about finding my own path, how that went hand in hand with finding myself and defeating my own fears. My path became clear to me when I asked myself the right question: how am I able to serve others using my passion? Now, both sustainability and humanitarian work are a very big part of who I am and the soul of the company, Xin explains. She continues:

— I also talked about the fashion industry’s role in the topic of sustainability and how that is interconnected with everything else. The word sustainability means the ability to sustain and maintain. To meet the need of our generation without compromising the future’s need. Everything we do that we can’t do forever is in itself not sustainable. In that case, I would like to suggest war and genocide is the most unsustainable thing we humans do. Normally, war and genocides are sensitive topics in the fashion industry. We can hear things like: ’Don’t mix fashion with politics’ and such. Fortunately, that has changed, as the heartbreaking war in Ukraine has seen the fashion industry taking a stand and rushed to help, which has been absolutely amazing to see. Now that not mixing fashion with politics is no longer the narrative, let’s do that with all the other countries. Everyone deserves equal support — the wars in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and South America have been waiting for help and support for many, many years. The very least we can do is to stop profiting from Uyghur forced labor.

Louise Xin as part of the Creating Impact panel at the Nine Muses festival, available to see here.