Ie studio – founded by Elena Cremona and Isabelle Landicho-Redman – is here to steer positive change
Spanning art direction, photography and styling, the London-based studio’s ethos is rooted in activism.
- Ayla Angelos
- 28 July 2020
- Reading Time
- 4 minute read
It’s never been more crucial to create work that’s consciously bettering the world. Whether that’s through inclusive, sustainable and ethical projects, or through commissioning a more diverse pool of talent, the value of work and what it stands for is imperative. This is precisely the ethos of newly formed studio ie, founded by London-based photographer Elena Cremona and stylist Isabelle Landicho-Redman.
Although they met whilst studying at The Arts University Bournemouth, their professional journey together didn’t kick off until a few years later. Elena, born and raised in Munich to a German mother and Italian father, moved to London to express her creativity, which wasn’t completely understood back in her hometown. Developing her own film, creating handprints, books and films on VHS, much of her work is inspired by nature and her “connection” to it. “I try to translate feelings I don’t have words for into something visible and tangible,” she tells It’s Nice That. “I’m passionate about raising awareness for our environment, living a conscious and sustainable life, and honouring truth.”
Isabelle, on the other hand, majored in Fashion Design and Technology, and began her career winning the British Fashion Council Stylist of Tomorrow in 2015, which she says feels like “a lifetime ago”. Now with almost ten years’ experience in the industry under her belt, her focus has been very much centred on conscious fashion and lifestyle, “as well as promoting diversity and inclusivity within the industry as a Filipina woman of colour.” It seems natural, then, that the two like-minded creatives would collide and eventually start up things on their own terms.
Initially working together for The Earth Issue – a fine art and environmentalist collective project co-founded by Elena, with Isabelle working as the fashion and lifestyle editor – they both “clicked quite naturally” both artistically and professionally. It was while producing the imagery for the magazine that they realised their underlying similarities, and that’s where ie was born. With their first shoot commissioned by Stella McCartney and AnOther magazine to create content for the brand’s Loop sneaker, the duo went on to work on various projects within art direction, photography and styling. “The ethos behind our work is that everything we do is rooted in sustainability and inclusivity,” says Isabelle. “Our aim is to work with people who share the same values as us, creating creative content with purpose and intention.”
This ethos is derived from their own experiences within the fashion and creative industries, where Isabelle worked for an in-house stylist for various large fashion companies, “working firsthand with a conveyor belt of poorly made fast fashion and witnessing clothes fall apart upon wear”. Meanwhile, Elena “became frustrated” with the work that didn’t “instigate change or activism through creative value”. Although absolutely loving what they do, Isabelle adds: “The fashion industry produces 10 per cent of the world’s carbon emissions and is the second-largest consumer of the world’s water supply.” By comparison, ie studio is founded on a conscious goal to realign peoples’ values, all the while creating inspirational content with great intention.
The studio already boasts an impressive roster of clients and projects, including the continuation of The Earth Issue as well as the recent Freedom Fundraiser – which was “a response to the outrage we felt at the murder of George Floyd at the hands of the police, and the continuous ways the government, both in the US and the UK (and really, anywhere else too), systematically continue to fail Black people,” says Elena. “We were also frustrated by brands releasing hollow statements of ‘solidarity’ and not acting upon them further than face value.” As such, the team – half of whom are minorities – pulled together a stellar lineup of photography contributions within 48 hours and raised over £200,000.
In other news, Elena has also recently published her first publication, Postcards from the Past – a series of 20 nostalgic, black-and-white landscape pictures that document her time in Joshua Tree, California, published with Guest Editions. Elsewhere, the duo have just completed an art short in collaboration with Sundae Studio created during lockdown “as a response to the lack of connection we’re sure everyone felt throughout that period”, says Isabelle. Titled Many Hands, the visual project serves as an “exploration into the longing for connection, for affection, for touch”.
It’s clear that the work of ie studio will have a lasting impact – especially when it comes to representation within the fashion industry. “We admit that we are not perfect,” says Elena, “but we cannot continue to operate within a broken system. There have been many times when we’ve felt powerless and times we thought about throwing in the towel altogether, but we learnt that, in order to instigate change, you prepare it from the inside.”