ELEVEN TEN STUDIO makes clothes for the misfits in all of us. Designed and produced in both Switzerland and Poland, every ELEVEN TEN STUDIO piece carries with it a “human touch.” Looks are often handmade, hand-stitched and hand-painted, and products are often made-to-order to eliminate waste. The label shuns seasonality, trends, and convention. In their words, “we have only one rule we are going to follow — embrace individuality despite social labels.” Schön! spoke with Aleksandra Cegielska-Rofaiel, founder and lead designer of ELEVEN TEN STUDIO, to get the complete story on ELEVEN TEN STUDIO, the new collection and what the label has upcoming.
How did ELEVEN TEN STUDIO start?
How many times in your life have you been misunderstood? How often do people look at you when you’re going down the street? Were you ever afraid to leave the house “dressed like this”? It happened to me too many times — people saying “normal people don’t wear that”, asking “where are you even buying those clothes”, whispering “you look weird”. Those words are really the softest, and I’m sure all of us have heard much worse. And you know what? I’m a “normal straight woman” — not a gay, transgender, non-binary person. Yet still, my clothes and appearance are judged by everyone on a daily basis. This is why I’ve created ELEVEN TEN STUDIO: to feel safe, to be able to freely create, to be whoever the f*ck I want. I don’t want us to have any boundaries while choosing what to wear.
Why was staying gender neutral important to the formation of ELEVEN TEN STUDIO?
Being gender neutral was the first (and only) condition when I created ELEVEN TEN STUDIO. We should be able to express ourselves through personal style regardless of our gender and be accepted for who we are at our core. Clothes shouldn’t feel like restraints, should not limit us. Our mission is to help to degender fashion, to see a person, not clothes, hair colour or make up. Freedom to do, wear, speak, feel is a basic human right. No one should take this away from us. Ever.
You based SERIES on three defining conditions. How did you decide these three points, and how did they influence the collection?
There are three conditions when I work on a new collection: comfortable, versatile and surprising. Those are things I’m looking for when shopping; that’s why it was important for me to create clothes I can associate with.
Comfortable: If you wear something all day, you have to feel good in it. Quality matters here as well; we try to use natural fabric like cotton so you do not cook inside your outfit, or it will not rip off during the day.
Versatile: You should never wear something only once. I never do. I love to invent new combinations and work with clothes (I was a stylist before, maybe that’s why). Our collections (series) are like capsule wardrobes, and you always have few ways to wear one item. I’m also showing this now on our IG Fitting Room stories. Make sure to check it out.
Surprising: who doesn’t like surprises, right? It can be a small detail, button, string, or way of wearing. The ‘wow’ effect makes our product unique and bold.
Talk a little about the inspiration for SERIES 007.
Our inspirations for this series were ’70s aesthetics and the Miami vibe. Initially, the series was called “when the sun goes down” — the colors of the collection are inspired by the sunset on the beach, you see sand (beige Cam, linen short-sleeve shirt), sky (Cameron and Logan washed light denim combo). Then you go to the disco, where you have a disco ball (Jess, our metallic skirt), flashlights (that would be our jumpsuit, Madison). As usual, we provide a compact wardrobe to our customers, so here you find everything from white, cotton T-shirts to accessories like removable collars or mini bags that make your outfit stand out.
What did you want the accompanying photo series to capture or highlight about the clothes?
We never had a chance to do a campaign shoot, so we did one at our home, despite the circumstances. This is when we changed the approach to this collection. On Kendall sweatshirts and Kyle T-shirts, you see collage graphics I did by myself out of fashion magazines. Faces on those graphics are not real, transformed and exaggerated; they contain both male and female elements. With them in the collection, I want to send the message to see a person, not a gender. Therefore, I removed all faces from the images in our photo series to highlight this point exactly. We should think outside the box society has been showing us for years. I renamed SERIES 007 to “free to be me, dare to be me” as clothes should not limit us and home is a place where we are ourselves.
You’ve mentioned that coronavirus affected the release of this collection. Why did you decide to end up releasing the collection now?
From one day to another we find each other in completely new surroundings. I admit the first few days after lockdown was announced I felt depressed, not really sure what and how to do. And then I thought, ‘it’s not only me who is struggling like this.’ I spoke with many friends who had to close their businesses due to country restrictions, many of whom were not sure about their jobs and uncertain about the future. We still are uncertain about the future, but also we are the ones who can create this future. And this is why I’ve decided to launch SERIES 007 now. How and what we buy will change in the upcoming months, and ELEVEN TEN STUDIO wants to pave the way for this new world. We want you to be able to revel in your existence and the joy you can bring to the world. We don’t know what will come next, but we stay plugged in.
What inspires you in your daily life?
Everything, ain’t no lie. My mentor from my first job ages ago once told me: “find inspirations everywhere”, so this is what I’m doing. I’m taking thousands of pictures, all the time, everywhere. My partner hates it, and my friends have created a funny nickname for me about it (it’s not really translatable in English). I collect those images and then create moodboards and find common elements, because things always fit together. Also art is a big source of inspiration to me: Basquait, Pollock, Warhol, Rothko, Kusama. Love to travel, only to see their exhibitions. I hope I will be able to see Kusama in the Tate Modern; I was finally able to get tickets, and it’s one of my dreams to see “Infinity Mirror Rooms”.
What does the future have in store for ELEVEN TEN STUDIO?
Not a wizard, can’t tell you. Like everyone, we have long-term plans, but in today’s reality you have to be ready to write new long-term plans every day. For once, let’s focus on the present moment.
all designs. ELEVEN TEN STUDIO
photography. Aleks Cegielska-Rofaiel + Mina Rofaiel
styling, make up + set design. Aleks Cegielska-Rofaiel