June 4, 2020 – By Tess Hardy
Isabelle Landicho-Redman and Elena Cremona are the two halves of IE studio, who put sustainability and inclusivity at the forefront of their art direction. Their fashion and beauty stories adopt the spirit of circular design and slow fashion, whilst featuring exclusively natural and cruelty-free products.
Elena, a talented photographer and darkroom printer obsessed with hands, founded The Earth Issue in 2016 to provide a platform for environmental artists to address topics through visual expression, with the power of social change as the driving force. This collective of creative professionals holds conscious progress, truthful expression and connectivity to nature at its core. London based stylist, Isabelle, is the magazine’s fashion and lifestyle editor.
We caught up with both of them to discuss their collaboration, unique content and how they’ve been keeping up their creativity by working on innovative projects from home.
We love how you work together as a dynamic creative duo for IE Studio and The Earth Issue. What’s the story behind your collaboration?
Elena: We met at University but didn’t really start working together until a few years back when The Earth Issue was commissioned by Stella McCartney and AnOther Magazine to produce content for Stella’s Loop sneaker.
I reached out to Isabelle to see if she wanted to get involved as her styling ethos and aesthetics matched The Earth Issue’s perfectly, and it’s been a love story ever since. From then on we asked her to join the team as the Fashion & Lifestyle Editor.
As a photographer, Isabelle and I started working together to create the in-house imagery for the magazine. Things soon fell into place after finding out how well we worked together, so we branched out to create ie studio.
It’s encouraging that you’re trying to find different ways to keep creativity engaged during the pandemic. Please can you tell our readers more about the projects that you’ve been working on from home?
It’s important to state here that we have our ups and downs in creativity – some days we completely lack motivation, whereas other days our creativity drives us to continue moving forward.
We understand it’s a weird situation and it doesn’t feel like we’re moving forward at all, but being able to create helps us create a sense of normalcy and to have an outlet. We’ve worked on a couple of projects over lockdown such as a virtual campaign for The Tuesday Store, a self portrait series for Organic Basic’s “So me” campaign and also have some stuff in the works for Loanhood’s “Ready Your Wardrobe” campaign. We have been self isolating in our respective homes but work together virtually through all the apps! Zoom, FaceTime, WhatsApp…
And it’s not all about creating content, there’s a lot going on behind the scenes with admin and establishing relationships too.
Are you enjoying creating virtual campaigns at the moment? Have you faced any challenges and, if so, how have you overcome them?
Working from the comfort of your own home is definitely relaxing, we directed a girl from LA through FaceTime the other day which Elena was doing from her bed in PJ’s haha. But working virtually obviously comes with its challenges; simple things such as bad internet connection, not being able to move with the talent, unable to adjust something yourself and most of all, not being able to connect quite as well as you would in real life. Although, we admit working this way has broadened our reach and allowed us to connect with people from all over the world who we wouldn’t have had the opportunity to work with otherwise – which is really lovely.
What does your creative process involve? How do you incorporate elements of sustainability and inclusivity into your art direction, photography and styling?
Our creative process definitely starts way before we even have a project in mind, our DM’s to each other are literally all references and the occasional meme. We’re really lucky we have a similar aesthetic yet still have our own tastes which come together really well.
It’s a mixed bag when it comes to styling, Isabelle sources items from conscious brands, second hand/vintage shops and even from her own archive – it can be challenging but altogether very rewarding. Working with the environment in mind is something we do throughout our whole process, we don’t use plastic water bottles/cutlery etc. on set, we prefer to shoot outdoors with natural light when we can which minimises our electricity usage, on the whole we choose to work with clients who have the same mindset.
Inclusivity and diversity are topics important to both of us. We both have unique backgrounds, Elena is an Italian who grew up in Germany and went to high school in California, Isabelle grew up in the Philippines and moved to London as a child (it’s quite funny now we think about it that we met in a small seaside town in the UK). We believe that representation in the media should be representative of all skin colours, body shapes and everything beautiful in between. This is why we have a selective casting process that involves street casting as well as casting from talent agencies.
Can you describe some of your favourite brands and magazines that you’ve worked with?
Elena: I’ve really loved working with Ssone. Our shoot evoked the feeling of two sisters coming together, quite literally as we photographed twin sisters. It all felt very unified and I guess that’s what you want when working with and for someone, the feeling of all the pieces falling into place.
Isabelle: My favourite project so far has been our I and Me shoot photographing our friend Miles from Kinshasa. It was one of the first times Elena and I worked together, it was a tiny team, we all walked to Walthamstow Marshes and spent a couple hours in the sun shooting and having lunch – it was all very organic. I think images really reflect the energy of that day.
If you could choose one artist to collaborate with for the rest of lockdown, who would you choose and why?
It would be a dream to shoot Greta Thunberg or Isri Hirsi, the co-founder of the US climate strike and environmental activist because they are two hugely inspirational women and the leaders of tomorrow.
The Earth Issue is hugely inspirational for creative professionals. What do you envision for the future of this platform in order to develop the intersection of fine art and environmentalism?
Firstly, thank you! Secondly, we’d love for The Earth Issue to build more partnerships with brands so that artists can collaborate to create meaningful and impactful work on an even bigger scale. We think collaboration is super important in engaging with important dialogue that needs to happen, it’s about starting a movement for everyone to feel as though their voice is heard and have power in numbers in order to instigate change the world needs.
It’s great to see that for your Conscious Conversation series, you’re hosting a live Q&A in partnership with Lush. What are the main topics that you’re most excited to discuss?
Isabelle: It was exciting to work with a brand that is transparent about how they work and what they are doing to give back to the environment and community. I have worked internally with big brands before and never heard initiatives such as Lush’s. Being able to question a person rather than a bot about issues like what their company is doing to offset their consumption was really refreshing. Big brands to me have the connotation of being faceless and soulless, that discussion helped me realise there are passionate people behind the scenes who truly want to change things for the better. I wish all companies had that level of transparency and humanity.
To celebrate Fashion Revolution week in April, you shot an amazing exclusive editorial in the Philippines! Once everything goes back to normal, what’s in store for your editorials?
Thank you! We’re just hugely excited to be able to shoot outdoors again, to interact with people, to touch, to laugh together, to be able to visit and experience an amazing location locally or even further afield. We were meant to be in California over lockdown shooting for some brands, we were so excited to be amidst waterfalls and rocks. Hopefully once this is over, we are able to engage in nature like that again although in saying this, this slow down has given the chance for the environment to heal which we’re very appreciative of.
Do you have any other upcoming projects in the pipeline?
Speaking to Isabelle and Elena about their work was incredibly insightful. Their views and intentions behind their creativity reiterate how important it is to address worldly issues, such as climate change or the uproar of outrageous racism that is being protested right now.
We need to come together and unite for platforms like these who support inclusivity, diversity and sustainability. Only then can we start a movement, spark necessary discussion and stress the power of social change to make momentous impact around the world.