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Interview: Erika Sophie Hvass, Echo-Fashion and Lifestyle Blogger on Sustainable Fashion and how Traveling has "Shaped" her Personhood

Interviews

Interview: Erika Sophie Hvass, Echo-Fashion and Lifestyle Blogger on Sustainable Fashion and how Traveling has "Shaped" her Personhood

Jasmine Edwards

Photo: Erika Sophie Hvass

Photo: Erika Sophie Hvass

Erika Sophie Hvass is a sustainably consicous echo-fashion and lifestyle blogger. Originally from Norway, her travels have taken her across the globe to include Sydney, Cambodia, Tasmania, and Indonesia. She attended University in Sydney, earning a degree in Branded Fashion Design. She is passionate about sustainble fashion and promoting a world where corporations are transparent and held accountable for their part in assisting consumers to follow a lifestyle that leans toward smarter and more thoughtful fashion purchases.

Check out the interview I conducted with Erika to find out how and why she ultimately decided to study Branded Fashion Design in Sydney; the appreciation and respect she has for all cultures and how this experience has helped to shape her into the person she is today; her thoughts on feeling "alone in the world" when it comes to her beliefs on the way we should treat our environment; the way she allows humbleness to lead her life; and how her next travel destination will finally lead her back to Norway, disscusing what she looks forward to most while settling back into Nordic nature.

Interview: Erika Sophie Hvass, Echo-Fashion and Lifestyle Blogger on Sustainable Fashion and how Traveling has "Shaped" her Personhood

Photo: Erika Sophie Hvass

Photo: Erika Sophie Hvass

Jasmine: Hi, Erika, thank you doing this interview. You are an echo fashion and lifestyle blogger from Norway and are extremely passionate about sustainability. Currently, you’re studying Branded Fashion Design in Sydney. Tell me some things I might not know about you.

Erika: Hmm, I would say that I have a bit of a split personality, as I love fashion and have really high ethical standards to everything in my life. I’m also a real nature and animal lover. Sometimes, I’m torn between choosing a life as a fashion designer (or in fashion) over just moving to the countryside and being one with nature, [possibly] starting a yoga/ healing lodge somewhere. Who knows, maybe I’ll end up doing both.  

Jasmine: Being that you are from Norway, tell me about the decision to attend university in Sydney. What drew you to an entirely different country?

Erika: The decision to study in Sydney was a very unpredicted and unexpected decision. I was going on a backpacker trip with my best friend 4.5 years ago [that] was only supposed to be 6 months long, then head back home to hopefully get into some kind of study. When my trip was coming close to an end, I was still very confused [as to what I wanted] to do next. Therefore I made [the] decision to apply for a working holiday visa to Australia, [and] find the cheapest ticket from Bali [headed] to Sydney. [When I arrived], I had $400.00 left in my wallet, and ended up in a hostel [that] was recommended [to me]. I worked my way around for 6 months, and then decided I liked [Sydney]. [While there], I found a study that suited my interest. 4.5 years later, I finished my degree, made new amazing friends, and have been in a relationship [for 3 years] with one of my closest friends from the hostel in Sydney. We have finally made the decision to move back to Europe— ready for new adventures closer to home. 

Jasmine: Lets talk culture. Moving to or visiting a different country can most certainly be an adjustment. There are new memories to be made and cultural norms to be learned. Your university studies are in Sydney. Though right now, your travels currently have you in Tasmania, with Cambodia following soon after. Tell me about the cultural shifts you experience voyaging from one country to the next and how it has rounded your understanding of true global citizenship.

Photo: Erika Sophie Hvass

Photo: Erika Sophie Hvass

Erika: After travelling and living in Sydney for over 4 years, I have really come to appreciate cultures mixing together. Experiencing so much—seeing these places and meeting all of these great people—has also made me more grateful. Something many people in the world are not able to do. I often feel that we take for granted our surroundings, culture, food places and life in general— something I have really come to appreciate. It has really shaped me as a person: [helping me to] understand that different cultures have different norms, and that [it is important] to be respectful of everyone’s differences. I [do] believe that people from similar cultures are overall more comfortable with each other and [get along much] easier, but with that said, it is not as interesting as involving [yourself] with people [from] different cultures. You really learn new, interesting things.  

Jasmine: How have your travels helped you in getting a better understanding of who you are and your passion to, in your own words, make the “planet a more sustainable and fair place for everyone”?

Erika: As I touched on in the previous question, I feel that travelling and seeing so much of our world has really made me more of a humble and a very grateful person. I know everything in my life is something I should be grateful for, even the bad things, as it will shape my future and create the person I am. The travelling has helped me be more open and generous. Seeing so much poverty and hopelessness in several [of the] places I have been to has really light my fire to live a [harmonious] life with our planet and all its inhabitants. It is a huge priority. I know I can’t help everyone, but I also know that every little impact [can] make a positive change.  

Photo: Erika Sophie Hvass

Photo: Erika Sophie Hvass

Jasmine: What has been the hardest part of your personal journey in pursuing a career in sustainable fashion? Do you have any fears?

Erika: Yes, absolutely. I often feel very alone in this world. I often feel I’m all alone in the [manner in which] I think and believe is the right way to treat our surroundings. I know this is not the case, but unfortunately, there are too many people who do not care—[and] this scares me. It scares me [when I] think about starting up my own label—there might not be enough people willing to pay the price for slow fashion. Mostly, it scares me because by [there are people who do not care] that [they] are ruining our beautiful planet. 

Jasmine: During my graduate studies, I took classes in sustainability and corporate responsibility. It opened my eyes to the amount of waste individuals and corporations alike produce: staggering amounts that are ultimately harming our eco-system and earth-at-large. I’ve been able to catch a glimpse of your graduate collection. It’s absolutely beautiful, Erika. Most importantly, it is sustainable. Being that you already have a hand in creating your own line of fashion, how do you think other fashion and beauty companies can make serious strides toward becoming fully sustainable? Ultimately helping to guide millions of people toward more conscious and responsible purchases? 

Photo: Erika Sophie Hvass, "Lovestories" suit

Photo: Erika Sophie Hvass, "Lovestories" suit

Erika: I believe all companies, big and small, have to start taking responsibility for how they do business. If companies start doing the right thing, sharing [their actions] with the world, people will slowly start accepting that prices have to go up [for sustainable fashion], that we cannot keep purchasing they way we are purchasing, and that we [should] value everything we have. Consumers are overall just following the retailers. So, as long as they will produce cheap, fast, and unsustainable products, people will also keep purchasing. There are always a group of consumers that are not just following suit, like us. But, so far, it’s just not enough people to create the massive change that we need. It is happening, but not as fast as we are hoping. 

Jasmine: Erika, tell me one word that would describe your journey thus far.

Erika: It as has been a very curious journey with many highs and lows— all that I’m equally grateful for, as they have shaped who I am at this stage of my life. 

Jasmine: Are there any current or future projects you’d like to talk about?

Erika: I’m currently making my way back to Europe after almost 5 years overseas. My partner and I have decided to move to Norway (where I am from), as we both have the need to be closer to friends, family, and Nordic nature. So, the next coming months will be focused on a new lifestyle and slowly looking into jobs in fashion design. From there, I’ll be really focused on [continuing to] build my brand idea: developing slow fashion with a focus on using vintage / up-cycled old materials.

Jasmine: Where can you be found online/off-line?

Erika: Online I can be found via my blog.www.gingergypsy.femelle.no, my Instagram account @erikasophie and via Facebook @erikasophie. My email and contact details are available via my Instagram. Off-line, I will be found in and around the capital of Norway, Oslo, but not until later this year, as I’m in the process of moving back there after my years overseas. 

Jasmine: Thank you, Erika!