Elebonhome and Emotional Intelligence in Fashion

Me, watching the runway show live at CLEC in Valencia:

Why is that one pant suit look giving me “all the feels”?!

My students, rewatching the show online at IFA Paris:

We’ve been thinking about that look all day! Can we see the net again?

Designer Laura Bonhome:

It’s called “emotions”. Most humans have them. Look it up.

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This November, Elebonhome was one of three emerging brands invited as a case study for the Fashion Media Management MBA seminar at the International Fashion Academy in Paris (full report). Students had an opportunity to practice collection reviews, interview the designer, and curate a small exhibition/shoot on the Quai de la Marne campus. Here are our discoveries.

People often dread making the first impression. Imagine having to do that with just three looks as part of a group showcase! How to convey the essence of your brand, the quality of your craftsmanship, and the social currency of your storytelling… in a minute?! Laura Bonhome managed to confidently standout in the Emerging Designer category at CLEC Fashion Festival with a mix of gradient monochrome items (a dress on precariously thin shoulder strips or an overwhelming/unforgiving coat) and warm, comforting pieces in burnt orange color. The push-and-pull of emotional freeze and flight modes was evident in her work. The desire to be seen and valued is crashing against the need for safety and affirmation sometimes found in anonymity. We wanted to know more about the designer’s roots, current process and her vision for the future.

What is Elebonhome’s vision and mission? 

Our mission is to offer special storytelling through quality handmade garments. I have never liked to follow trends because they have expiration dates. I want to promote ‘slow fashion’ and great craftsmanship. I try to make unique garments that continue to add special value over the years.

Who is the Elebonhome consumer?

Honestly, I don’t like limiting the brand to a specific target audience. I try to reach people’s emotions as does all good art. I feel very connected to the world of art and believe that my brand vision goes in the same direction. I have always thought that each person should feel free to wear what they want. I would define the Elebonhome style with these concepts: expression, contrast, and timelessness. 

What was the inspiration for the Slope collection?

The collection describes the emotional journey experienced by victims of gender-based violence. It is not a collection that necessarily manifests a happy end. I wanted to make visible the harsh reality on this subject, to give voice to the survivors who could not express themselves at the time.

What is your earliest fashion memory?

Oh, it makes me very nostalgic to think about it… Both my grandmothers were seamstresses and worked in the textile industry. As long as I can remember, I used to see them sewing at home. During my childhood I loved to help them, doing crafts, drawing clothes for my toys, telling stories about them. I believe today I am a reflection of the creative passion my grandmothers instilled in me. Because fashion was always a hobby, I could never imagine it as a vocation. However, as a teenager, I became interested in fashion in all its possibilities. I wanted to study economics but decided to go into fashion design as a combination of art and business. It was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life so far!

What are the Elebonhome goals for 2023?

Continue making capsule collections, enjoying the entire process as well as trying to create social media content, participate in some fashion shows, and collaborate with someone cool.

Who would you want to collaborate with and why?

I find very interesting the fusions that can be created with artists of different mediums. I’m thinking of the amazing illustrator and graphic designer María Bueno. I admire what she transmits with her work: empowerment, strength, breaking stereotypes, a real feminist perspective. I see myself aligned with her way of seeing the world and it would be a dream to collaborate.

What makes fusion appeal to you as a creative concept?

My creative process is almost always born from the deepest, most private emotions. When I identify the emotional story that I want to share, I begin to compile information I need to translate it into a garment: sketches, collages, prints, etc. There is meticulous work behind it. I am drawn to the use of contrasts. The look emerges as a mix of concepts, artistic undercurrents, and ephemeral elements that have nothing to do with garment design. Altogether, it creates a new balance, an alternative perspective, a different world suddenly made possible.

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IFA Paris students worked with the gorgeous, eloquent look generously provided by the designer for the class. We also discussed the need for greater emotional intelligence in fashion design. At a time when mass market is driven by throwaway slogans of the day and fast fashion consumer hyperactivity, it felt reassuaring to witness the runway arrival of an intentionally heart-oriented young designer like Laura Bonhome. To paraphrase an adage, if the fashion industry wants to keep going fast, it should proceed as is, alone. If it wants to go far, consumers better align themselves with brands like Elebonhome to go the distance together, in style.

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