Australia is filled with amazing designers, talents and creative souls. Often run over by the loudness of fast fashion their quality speaks for itself. This march I’ve decided to highlight a brand that makes me eager to return home to Europe for the summer, but also just as excited to then after return back to our beautiful Australia, whilst of course, all throughout wearing earth coloured linen.
The best part with brands to refuse to succumb to the temptations of fast fashion is that every single piece can tell a story, bring history to life or even remind or inspire the person wearing that piece of a past, imaginary or future experience. Estilo Emporio does exactly that. Never have I opened up a parcel and felt instantly as if I, even just for a moment, was transported to a sunkissed veranda looking out over the Mediterranean ocean, surrounded by lemon trees. I even instantly thought of my mother (no one loves the Mediterranean or linen pieces more). I know it sounds crazy, and I wouldn’t be able to tell you what exactly it was about the stunning linen fabric I was holding in my hands that made me feel like that, until I talked to Kira, one family member behind the love story that is Estilo Emporio.
Please, indulge yourself below in a Europe to Australia roadtrip filled with family history, artisanship and, most of all, intention.
Kira is the daughter of Mac and Mardee, who together with her sister makes up the family that is Estilo Emporio. Their story dates back to the 70’s in Spain where Mac was hand-making belts and bags in the streets of Sitges, on the Costa Brava. Mac and Mardee developed a cottage industry, engaging many locals to emboss, plait and hand-stitch leather bags, belts and sandals in their homes. Soon they were selling wares in exhibitions throughout Europe and even to Neiman Marcus in the USA. They opened a factory and four stores along the Coast and even one in Gaudi’s La Pedrera, Barcelona. Thirty years later, the family work side-by-side to continue to create accessories and footwear.
Fast forward until 2016 when the family launched their linen collection. Kira explains that the linen collection was inspired by their love affair with the Amalfi Coast and a collaboration with a local designer who continues to produce all the linen in the little (although widely known) place that is Positano. Their flowy linen pieces really embody the family’s own philosophy, which is to honour the real, traditional, artisanal methods of manufacturing. It feels like a breath of fresh air on your skin in the sea of fast fashion.
I asked Kira what the inspiration behind the specific pieces has been for Estilo Emporio and she explained that their designs has come to life with the intent to create pieces that are made to last, to transcend time and trends, that can be both ageless, timeless and still relevant. Moreover, Kira goes on to describe the Estilo Emporio woman, who loves to travel and roam the globe but without discounting the feeling of coming home. Perhaps that is why I thought of my mother, across the other side of the world, when first tried on the pieces? It also explains why their collection is perfect for both the Australian climate and culture as well as on vacations to Europe or whatever it may take you.
One fascinating thing about Estilo Emporio is that they live by a philosophy to value what they appreciate, and this is very much incorporated into their supply chain. Kira explains that the family aims to create timeless pieces that transcend trendiness, disposability, and empty consumerism. Their focus on slower fashion allows to consumer to see the artisanship behind the piece, the quality and the uniqueness behind it. In addition, flax (the fibre of Linen) also requires considerably fewer pesticides and fertilisers than other crops. The fibres are sustainable, recyclable and eventually biodegrade.
“We continue to celebrate our European heritage, maintaining a passion for craftsmanship, quality and timeless style.”
The Flax, which is the fibre of Linen, is grown and harvested in France and then sent over to Italy in its rawest form where it is then plied together on old spinning looms and traditionally woven in various weights and thickness. The final step of manufacturing (sewing) is all cottage industry – so the garments are sewn in women’s homes all over the Amalfi Coast.
On Estilo Emporio’s future Kira says that the brand will include new sustainable and organic fabrics to their product mix as well as bringing to life a knit collection, the brand will create new partnerships with artisans and provide family factories with both ongoing and new work. Their intention will continue to inspire and guide their audience, whilst hoping to fulfil their consumers expectations on the brand. Trust me, no expectations are left unfulfilled. This is a brand to be reckoned with.
“The already captivating Estilo Emporio story will be enhanced by the additional characters and locations that make up our story”