Musician and eco-warrior Elle L, on the release of her new single, Hoping
The Luxury Channel sat down with highly talented music artist and environmental ambassador, Elle L, on the release of her new single to talk about eco-luxury, her hopes for the future, and the next big thing to look out for in eco-fashion….
What inspired your new single, Hoping, and what does it represent?
Hoping is about taking a leap of faith to love fearlessly. I wanted to explore the idea of how being true to yourself can be both vulnerable and brave. Hope is fragile, brave and honest; it embraces the idea of transformation, of turning vulnerability into strength. The track is inspired by, and is representative of, the times we are living in; hope being one of the more positive narratives from the past year. I think it stands for something everyone can relate to as we emerge from lockdown and as we dare to hope again and re-create our future. I love the Christopher Reeve quote, “Once we choose hope, everything is possible” – I think once we dare to hope, we begin to turn our dreams to reality. When we believe, we can actively live in hope and move towards something strong and positive. That hope is certainly something we all need right now.
Tell us more about the inspiration for the visuals of Hoping?
The Old Royal Naval College in London is where we shot the music video and some of the stills. The venue is like walking straight into a fairy-tale – everybody was mesmerised by the space. The ORNC is where I’d always hoped and imagined filming Hoping. It’s dreamy and cinematic. We described the shoot as a ‘future renaissance’ because that location brings the imagination of the track to life. We worked with an incredible team, including Phoebe Arnold as lead stylist, who is formerly fashion director for LOVE, Elle and Garage Magazine. The jacket and the jacket dress I’m wearing are from Act No.1 – which is very fitting as this is my Act No.1 – while in the magical forest, I’m wearing Simone Rocha, but all of the designers are true artists and don’t over-produce. Every piece had a feel of modern romanticism. Joseph Adesunloye was our live director for the shoot and he did the most wonderful job of making the creative vision real. I think the icing on cake was working with Mica Bradbury and Leo Dixon of The Royal Ballet. Their movement really defines the emotion of the track!
How did you consider the environment when shooting the visuals for Hoping?
We were, in many ways, a grassroots project with a big eco-luxe vision in mind. We tried to do things as eco-consciously on set as possible by working with incredible people who place a real emphasis on sustainability and, of course, places such as The Old Royal Naval College – the most wonderful, magical and historic building. To film there was the highlight of the project so far. We of course kept numbers down due to the pandemic but this in turn was more environmentally friendly. We worked with Attracta Courtney as our lead make-up artist with brand Oxygenetix (a breathable treatment foundation). Attracta is dedicated to slow beauty and sources the very best vegan products on set. She even has her own slow beauty awards. Dawn-Marie Jones took our stills and she is a massive environmentalist. We tried where possible to work with like-minded conscious creatives. I was in very safe hands from every direction. We tried to source food from eco-conscious outlets and drinks were supplied by Mude. It felt good reducing waste and working with an amazing team lead by my producer, Megan Stewart, on ways to bring Hoping to life with as little impact as possible on the environment.
You’re passionate about protecting the environment – how do you reflect that in your work?
I’m inspired by nature, because everything we touch, including ourselves, comes from the Earth. We are all part of the same, just shaped differently. I find that idea interesting. I also feel the responsibility to protect nature because I think we have, in some ways, disconnected from the root source of our own existence as a society. There are a lot of references to nature in my work, sometimes subtly in a lyric like “I’m not scared; I’m so ready to bloom” – I like using metaphors derived from the natural world to express human emotion or experience. Beyond music, I reflect my passion for the world by championing the environment on special projects with the United Nations, Eco Age, Fashion for Conservation and in collaboration with responsible brands such as The Naked Collective, Mude Drinks and Cohorted.
What has been the best thing about being a brand ambassador?
I think having the platform to make change with some of the leaders of this space has been a really amazing opportunity. I get to learn so much through every project as sustainability is such an evolving movement where collaborative action really leads the way. I think the conservation side of my work is really important. Visiting Hoja Nueva in the Peruvian Amazon with Fashion for Conservation to learn and witness both the beauty and destruction of Planet Earth was deeply awakening and helps me communicate and be more impactful on special projects. Being able to support fundraising efforts and work with leaders of conservation has been a wonderful experience. Moderating and curating two segments for the launch of the UN Alliance for Sustainable Fashion with our Future Fashion.Now team and guest speaker Heron Preston in Nairobi was definitely an environment project that I’m proud to have been a part of.
Tell us about the projects you have been working on recently?
Most recently, I’ve been working on a special project with Mude Drinks – a vegan, carbon-neutral beverage brand. We have a project launching as we speak called ‘Hope for Earth Day’ that unites my music to a special fundraising campaign. For the month of April 2021, 20% of all Mude Drinks’ proceeds will be donated to Peruvian non-profit organisation, Hoja Nueva. We have created a series of videos which feature beautiful footage from the Amazon, with Hoping as the sound bed, and with messages of support from the likes of Olympian Louise Hazel, NHS front-line worker and UK TV personality Sarah Mulindwa, and a whole host of other incredible personalities. All customers need to do is use code EARTHDAY at checkout to donate 20% of the purchase directly to protecting the rainforests of Made De Dios and re-wilding endangered species. It really is a dream collaboration to be able to use my music in such a positive way with a forward-thinking company that puts purpose before profit.
You were recently appointed Kindness Champion for UNESCO MGIEP’s Kindness Matters global campaign – tell us a little more about that, and what your role entails?
I’ve been involved in sustainability and environment projects for the past four years and it’s really refreshing to be in this role for the campaign, that approaches achieving sustainability through the act of kindness. Our belief is that through kindness to self, others and nature, we can have the mindset to make better decisions that protect the planet and our collective future. My role is to advise, communicate and show how kindness can be a leading way to address the 17 sustainable development goals and the 2030 agenda. It’s very much a part of my ethos as an artist, so the role is very organic. We have so far collected over a million acts of kindness and are now gearing up for World Kindness Day on November 13th, and hoping to continue collecting stories of kindness.
Do you think more should be done to express the importance of sustainability in music?
I think the arts can champion change and express new sustainable ideas. Music artists, especially those with a big platform, have the ability to express positive messages and be a catalyst for that change. So yes, I think that’s super important – to use your voice to champion sustainable messages, brands and ideas. There is so much inspiration to take from the world around us, so I think possibly more could be done to create in a way that is inspired by and true to nature. I hope it’s something I can do more myself as I grow in the industry, but we can all do something, and that’s the best part of sustainability – that we can all create change.
What’s your greatest eco-luxury?
I think great health, and being able to invest in health, is the greatest luxury and so much of being good to yourself can be free. Walks in nature, good hydration, exercise. These are all things I want to invest in more this year in the wake of the pandemic. I’d also love to visit somewhere new in the world, responsibly, like Soneva in Thailand or the Maldives who restore the environment around them whilst giving guests a really incredible experience. Soneva is definitely on my wish list. I’ve been reading up about them a lot!
What should we be looking out for in eco-fashion?
My favourite designers of the season are Iris van Herpen, who is a true visionary, inspired by both nature and movement. We may be collaborating on something together soon as there is so much synergy in terms of how we draw inspiration and future-renaissance vibe to her work. Watch this space! I also like Patou, an eco-minded Parisian fashion house who have the most insanely fabulous pieces. I wore some pieces for the Hoping press shoot; their use of colour is so vibrant and ‘hopeful.’ In terms of music, I have a whole album’s worth of material I’m currently finishing up in the studio with my amazing manager, Lisa Wasserstein of Different Corner. There’s so much I’m excited to share this year.