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Regulars / Ones To Watch 2018

Ones to Watch 2018: publisher and curator Elise By Olsen

Words:

Daphne Milner

Illustration:

Mason London

It’s Nice That’s Ones to Watch shines a light on 12 emerging talents who we think will conquer the creative world in 2018. From a global pool of creative talent, we have chosen our 2018 Ones To Watch for their ability to consistently produce inspiring and engaging work across a diverse range of disciplines. Each of our selections continually pushes the boundaries of what is possible with their creative output. Ones to Watch 2018 is supported by Uniqlo. 

Over the past decade, Oslo-based publisher and curator Elise By Olsen has set up the creative network Archetype, founded two accomplished print publications, Recens Paper and Wallet, curated an exhibition at the New Galerie in Paris, co-curated a digital exhibition, Life Killed My Chihuahua, at London’s Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac alongside Bjarne Melgaard as well as being an accomplished brand consultant and university lecturer. Did I mention she’s only 18? Bearer of the title “youngest editor-in-chief in the world,” Elise reflects back on how it all began: “I started blogging when I was eight. At first, I would write about what I had done at school and what I had eaten for dinner – all these random things. Then my blog slowly transformed into a fashion space.” Year by year, her endeavours have evolved into a wide-ranging and polished portfolio of work. 


Elise set up the creative network Archetype with her friend Jacob in 2012 in order to connect young creatives and help them showcase their work. “During my time as a blogger I learnt how to produce content, market and communicate whereas Jacob was a great strategist and web developer. This is really funny because we were both 12,” Elise recalls. For the two Scandinavian entrepreneurs, the fashion industry seemed impenetrable and Archetype was their attempt to get a foot in the door. “The fashion world was an adult industry, there was no proper blog network for young people,” Elise says. The website’s response defied their wildest expectations. As soon as it went live it crashed due to high demand. 

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Elise By Olsen: Recens Paper

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Elise By Olsen: Recens Paper

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Elise By Olsen: Recens Paper

The now well-established magazine Recens Paper grew out of Archetype. “It was all about proving something to the adults of the fashion world. We wanted to break through the industry and change it from within. It was completely unprecedented that young people would have an impact on the global cultural conversation back then,” Elise explains. Recens Paper is made by and for the post-Internet generation. Full of stimulating interviews and upscale fashion shoots commissioned by Elise and executed by fellow teens, the content of Recens resembles that of a younger, fresher i-D. The magazine champions new voices and inexperienced artists showcasing their work. Since its launch in 2013, Recens Paper has received a whirlwind of attention from both the local and global press.

“And now I’ve resigned!” Elise exclaims. The young editor relinquished control of Recens just before her 18th birthday in order to make way for a new generation of creative visionaries. Elise is fed up with fashion moguls clinging to top positions in order to feed their egos. The fashion industry, she claims, clearly needs a complete overhaul: “My resignation is in support of young people. It isn’t about me, it is about young creative people and their collective vision.” She takes her principles on youth-driven journalism seriously and wants to ensure that the magazine stays true to its core, producing content for young people by young people. 


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Elise By Olsen: Wallet

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Elise By Olsen: Wallet

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Elise By Olsen: Wallet

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Elise By Olsen: Wallet

Elise’s newest undertaking is hot-off-the-press Wallet: Admins of Authority. The first issue questions the self-interested power structures that dominate the fashion industry. She feels that the quality of fashion journalism is deteriorating, with advertising and sponsored content permeating most publications. “Fashion journalism doesn’t delve deep enough into issues that matter. There are so many lines crossing in fashion and it impacts every single one of us. I think now is the perfect starting point to make changes,” she says. Elise spent months trying to interview top fashion names like Adrian Joffe, CEO of Comme des Garçons; Jefferson Hack, CEO and co-founder of Dazed Media; and Sarah Andelman, the founder and creative director of Colette. Elise recalls: “I went into the basement of Colette to meet Sarah Andelman where we had a fancy espresso. My first question to her was ‘do you think the fashion industry can survive without you?’ She was shocked: She isn’t used to being confronted like that.” Elise’s brave, critical and razor-sharp approach to the industry’s established practices is forcing authoritative figures in the fashion world to recognise their power and responsibilities.


Fighting against the proliferation of sponsored content is one of Elise’s biggest battles. “In Wallet, the advertisements have perforations so you can rip them out if you want. This way, our readers can choose whether or not they want a publication with sponsored content. The advertisers were really pleased because they thought their images would get pinned up in people’s bedrooms.” These ideas were brought in from Recens Paper, where advertisements were framed by a two-centimetre-wide border warning of sponsored content. Elise plays the game from both sides and everyone involved seems to win.


Elise has a bright future ahead of her, digging deeper into the fashion industry and shaking up the system. “If you want any advice from me, take the big brands’ money because it’ll just go around the system. You can use it for something better. Think of it like milking a cow. But you have to be a bit of a double agent to do it.” Elise’s genius is her inventive way of challenging established commercial traditions and reaping the benefits of the market for younger generations.

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Early Works curated by Elise By Olsen. New Galerie Paris

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Early Works curated by Elise By Olsen. New Galerie Paris

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Early Works curated by Elise By Olsen. New Galerie Paris

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Elise By Olsen: Recens Paper

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Elise By Olsen: Wallet

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Elise By Olsen: Wallet

Supported by Uniqlo

The idea at the heart of all of Uniqlo’s clothing is LifeWear – clothes that make your life better. Style doesn’t have to be superficial; it can keep you warmer, cooler, drier. Uniqlo creates LifeWear by evolving the ordinary, producing innovations big and small that benefit you every day.