Nature is a part of us and more important than anything else, claims Elísabet Elfa, the designer who feels most at home when she is outdoors. Originally from Iceland, but now living in Stockholm, she wishes she had more wilderness areas closer to home.
“I really want to be closer to nature, and this feeling has been growing in me since I started living in cities, almost ten years ago. In Reykjavik in Iceland, you can see the sea and the mountains from the city and in just 15 minutes you can be at the foothills."
Even if she likes “doing things” when she is outdoors, such as activities like trekking from one place to another with a backpack and boots, the most important thing for Elísabet is to be outside. Preferably every day, often with others but just as happily by herself sitting on a rock with a sketchbook. This is where she can feel the inspiration flowing. Sometimes it can be the start of a new garment or product. Sometimes it is just a feeling that takes shape on paper.
“Nature and people are connected,” says Elísabet. “Maybe this is why I feel so free in the outdoors. I am most like ‘me’ when I am out there.”
For Elísabet, the connection between nature and people is a given, and she feels that more of us need to think a bit harder about how people affect both our close environment and the world's global climate.
“We have to understand that everything is connected, that the ecosystem and nature are part of us as people. The more people who get out there and discover what we need to take care of, the bigger the chance we have of making the right changes.”
Elísabet also has a strong and personal attachment to nature, less tangible and more difficult to explain, but very real to her. The feeling often comes when she is far away from urban life and civilisation:
“Sometimes I have to change the rock I am sitting on because it feels like I am disturbing something,” says Elísabet with a smile. “I know that sounds pretty strange, but I can feel a presence – a kind of power or energy – that I can’t explain when I am out in the wilderness.”
Occupation: Designer at Fjällräven
Grew up in: Iceland
Likes: Trekking, skiing, photography and climbing
Nature for me is: Freedom – it is all up to me to get out there, go where I want and do what I want. It feels like I can decide everything. Challenges – climbing something that hasn’t been climbed before. Finding out how far I can push myself but only sometimes, when I’m in the mood for that. Belonging – I am part of nature and I am most like myself when I am outdoors, I don’t need to think so much about what others are thinking.
Favourite garment: Woollen sweaters. The one my mother knitted is still the best. A really thick woollen sweater is a fantastic garment. Well ventilated, airy but still really warm and versatile in all kinds of weather.