Quarantined, pregnant, and dreading the dark Danish winter, Emily Helmstedt wished herself away to a brighter, if not warmer, location: The North Pole. The designer said she’s always found comfort in nature, and despite the fact that her travels were of the armchair variety, she couldn’t skate around the environmental crisis there. Wanting to take more than inspiration from the Pole, she got in contact with One Percent for the Planet, who helped her find organizations to donate profits to, and she focused on sustainable fabrics.
This pairing of purpose and prettiness adds dimension to a brand that came into existence in the most haphazard way. When Helmstedt was still in art school, she was contacted by the owner of Holly Golightly, a high fashion boutique in Copenhagen, about her artwork. In the process of showing those pieces, the retailer saw Helmstedt’s personal drawings and made an order right then and there.
Helmstedt started out hand-quilting her self-designed prints, like the vest in the lookbook. The puffers in the fall collection seem like an extension of that technique. The rapid expansion of the brand has Helmstedt exploring how she can expand her offering without losing the arty charm that made it a hit in the first place. She worked “H” motifs throughout this collection in prints and in stitches; a melting version, referencing the North Pole, is embroidered on the back of a pair of pants.
Fall’s line-up is strong on the après-ski vibe that’s been a theme this season, but it lacks depth, which is due in part to production hold-ups caused by COVID. The most signature piece is a custom-print blouse with romantic puffed sleeves; a patchworked fleece set has lots of quirky Helmstedt charm. It seems like the challenge going forward for this designer will be making sure the authentic, painterly, and spontaneous aspect of her work isn’t watered—or melted—down in the expansion of her business.