ISTO. London Series: Christina Elliott – Stylist & Model

Christina brought her extensive experience in fashion and shoes to teach us a few things about perfect styling. Elegant move.

First of all, can you tell us a little bit about yourself; where you're based, why you chose to work in the fashion industry and what excites you about it?

I’m based in northwest London and I’d say I have always been interested in fashion. From a young age, I was making and altering clothes to fit my exacting style standards and I think my mum got cross with me asking her to do last-minute fixes! She later taught me how to use the sewing machine so I didn't have an excuse to ask her anymore. I’m forever dipping into my parent’s, boyfriend’s, brother’s wardrobes and I guess that's what I love about the industry: there are no rules.

How have you been getting on with your ISTO. pieces since our shoot? Have you taken them on holiday or been wearing them almost daily? Tell us what you've been up to with them.

I have been loving my ISTO. pieces, particularly my linen shirts which I’ve worn a lot due to the weather and they will for sure be coming with me on holiday to Chassignolles in France. I love the versatility a linen shirt offers; it’s easily dressed up with some gold necklaces and pearl earrings. They’re a great breathable layer to throw on over swimwear.

Is there one piece you've particularly enjoyed more than the rest and how are some ways in which you've incorporated it into your existing wardrobe?

The linen shirts have been worn a lot! I chose a black women's linen in a small and a beautiful blue men's linen in a medium, and both are great for different reasons. The black is fitted and slightly more sophisticated over a skirt whilst the blue is loose and looks great with a French tuck and linen shorts. My boyfriend has been reviling in finally being able to have payback and steal this from my wardrobe.

Can you tell me about the items you brought to the shoot? Why did you choose to bring them and what do they mean to you?

Some of the existing pieces in my wardrobe that I bought with me were;
APC Finton check mac. It was my 21st birthday present from my parents and there was a point where I wanted to be buried in it! It has a very fine puppy tooth check in beige – I love clashing prints and this must be the most versatile pattern to clash with.

I also brought a vintage cream skirt. I love having things that fit amazingly and also having pieces that it is very unlikely for others to have or go and get. I have been scarred by many ongoing years or friends or peers going out and buying exactly the same item you have. I found it in one of my charity shop trawls and it fitted my waist perfectly (very rare with it being 24") and it has been loved by someone else and now is loved by me.

Finally, I brought along my Dad's black belt. I love the items I have of my parents as I think of them when I put them on. You can't go wrong with a worn supple leather black belt with lovely silver finishes.

As the only female in the project, what is it about wearing men's clothing that you like and how do you blend men's and women's together?

I was touched being the only female involved in the shoot and for me was really exciting as I have always had this affinity with menswear. Being a petite woman, the oversized fit that men's clothing provides me with the contrast to something cool, such as pulling my waist in. For me, Chanel has always had excellent views on this, a classy way to flatter the form without being obvious and too revealing.

In your opinion, what are the markers of a versatile and sustainable wardrobe?

A versatile, sustainable wardrobe is quality, materiality, fit, and timeless. These are going to be the things that never leave and will be able to be integrated seasonally for quality, materiality and fit reasons. I think it would be silly to say your wardrobe doesn't need to grow as it is an ever-evolving beast.

What advice do you have for someone who's wanting to build a more sustainable wardrobe? Where do they start?

To start, you should go through what you have already. Figure out what you love and wear a lot, and when buying new pieces ensure that these can sit well alongside what you already have.
Find the pieces you love and save for them as opposed to buying an alternative and it never quite being the same. This idea also stops you from buying lots at once because you really have thought long and hard about purchasing this one item and also worked for it.

How important is brand transparency in this day and age?

Brand transparency is really and needs to be at the front of this consumerist world. Sustainability has been bought to the forefront of our vocabulary which is great and people are starting to make more informed decisions which is great. Knowledge really is power, and I think ISTO. tackles this really well by firstly being transparent and by making the information as clear as possible for people to read and digest.

What are your major gripes with the fashion industry today and how can we go about fixing them as individuals?

Unfortunately, the fashion industry really is the most unsustainable sector, with waste and carbon footprint being incomprehensible. We can start to combat some of these issues by shopping with transparency and with independent brands so that we can know the trail that our product has undertaken from the initial design to the end consumer. Having access to this can allow us to make a more informed decision.

What do style and dressing well mean to you?

Style and dressing well mean a lot to me, it's power in how you feel and hold yourself in front of others. In our house, we say 'you shouldn't leave the house unless you feel cool' and how you feel is how you set yourself up for the day and how you present yourself to the world.

Christina Elliott
London, United Kingdom

James Edward Holborow
Benedict Browne