One of my first memories related to couture fashion is watching the shows on Fashion TV with my mom and grandmom in the 2000s. I still remember the opulent dresses, the sparkle, the lace… Everything was simply surrealistic.
Truth is that couture fashion has been much criticised for not being environmentally and socially responsible. If you look at its definition, it is actually all about being custom – and hand-made from start-to-finish. Therefore, one could easily say that, on the one hand, it celebrates craftsmanship and tradition but, on the other, it represents the worst excesses within the fashion industry.
However, self-taught designer Louise Xin is here to change the part after ‘on the other hand’.
Xin is the creator of Scandinavia’s premier couture brand that exclusively rents its garments. Born in China but raised in Sweden, in 2019 she stumbled upon the world of couture and began experimenting with upcycling materials. During the pandemic period in 2020, she established a rental-only brand in an attempt to encourage a shift in consumption patterns and customer behaviour. She went on a mission to turn her passion for sustainability and aesthetics into a couture circular brand.
Xin’s debut fashion show was in the autumn of 2020 and was dedicated to human rights. In fact, the show went viral worldwide, earning Xin global recognition. Among the vibrant selection of designs, there were signs featuring messages of protest against Uyghur forced labor.
Xin has demonstrated her commitment to supporting the Uyghur cause through concrete action. For instance, she endorsed the Call to Action of the Coalition to End Uyghur Forced Labour. Also, she partnered with advocacy organizations such as Freedom United to raise awareness of the issue within the fashion industry.
Xin’s advocacy for human rights is unwavering, and she expresses it with clarity and candor, through her creativity and talent. Within a month of the show, she was awarded the first-ever edition of the Fabric of Life Award at the Next Textile International Textile Conference in Borås, Sweden.
In June 2022, Xin became a Sakharov Fellow. Awarded for the first time in 1988 to Nelson Mandela, the Sakharov Peace Prize is European Union’s highest tribute to human rights work and freedom of thought. The Sakharov Fellowship selects 14 human rights defenders from all over the world to attend a two-week human rights program at the European Parliament in Brussels and the Global Campus of Human Rights in Venice. Xin became the first-ever Sakharov fellow from the fashion industry and the first one from Europe.
The designer creates breathtaking dresses with an ethereal quality that almost seem to glide down the runway. She uses upcycled materials as much as possible and strives to minimise waste through offering her designs only for rent. Yes, Xin made her dream come true and her approach is as unique as her creations.
So, are you ready to rent couture? We totally are!