Interview: Studio EBN – A Brand Rethinking Materials and Sustainability

Through the use of Nordic salmon leather, Studio EBN is rethinking materials and designing fashion for a sustainable future! Studio EBN started its’ journey in 2013 in Norway, fronted by designer Elisabeth Benonisen, and their their studio is based in beautiful Bodø, just North of the Arctic Circle. With a focus on quality and timeless simplicity, Studio EBN is creating sustainable handbag designs inspired by Arctic nature. Due to this, their aesthetics are a playful take on functionality, with a strong emphasis on quality and purpose. Through this purpose, they create responsible, handcrafted bags and accessories which focus on sustainability.

At the heart of their sustainable initiatives and design aesthetics is their use of Nordic salmon leather. Salmon leather as a material has a beautifully refined texture, characterized by a smooth finish, and has been valued as a material since ancient timeless due to its’ resilience, durability, and strength. The salmon skin is also a byproduct from the local food industry, and as a result, is highly sustainable. Studio EBN is using creative ways to make sustainable handbags, and we sat down with founder Elisabeth Benonisen to discuss the brand’s ethos and her journey.


Studio EBN


Who is Studio EBN designing for?

Our typical clients are women with a conscious individual style, who are environmentally and socially responsible – they like simplicity and they play with classic codes.  

Why do you believe that sustainability is important for the modern fashion industry?

We need to take more responsibility for the environment. We have reached the peak of consumption and since the fashion industry is the world’s second most polluting businesses, sustainability is here to stay and will only become more important, for obvious reasons.

What other materials do you use besides Nordic salmon leather?

We use cow hide that is Blue Angel certified, supporting the ecological quality of the leather, and we also use vegetable-tanned reindeer leather, from the surrounding local area. Our products are not 100% sustainable yet, but we think it’s great step in the right direction!


Studio EBN sustainable fashion interview


How do you dye the salmon leather?

The tannery I use do not allow hazardous chemicals in the production; they use soap, lime, baking soda, vegetable oil and fish oil for the leather. They also use Chrome 3 to preserve the collage, which is a non-toxic and non-dangerous chrome – they are also working on developing chrome free tanning. Some of the colors are also created by a vegetable tanning process using tree bark, which is very exciting! They of course treat the water before it leaves the factory, so as not to pollute nature, and whole process makes use of geothermal, renewable energy! 

Why does the fashion industry need to be more creative in their material choices?

We know we can make better use of the resources that we have, and we can use more circular business models. I do not think we can shut our eyes to the responsibility we have in today’s consumption communities, and there is a growing demand from the consumer, not only for sustainable materials, but for a much cleaner supply chain.

What other sustainable materials do you see potential in?

I collaborate with small local tanneries that uses leather from local food production too, like the reindeer that wanders between Northern Norway and Sweden. Coming from Norway, I have a close relationship to wool and it is also something that I see high potential in!


Studio EBN sustainable fashion interview


How are you achieving sustainable luxury at Studio EBN?

We use salmon leather that would otherwise go to waste, and although the salmon leather is more time consuming to craft, in the end, it creates a sustainable, beautiful and unique product. I also design the products with the intention that they are timeless pieces that can be used on many occasions. Our collections are developed organically, and we do not do any strict season drops and or seasonal sales. We also use recycled carton material for our packaging and have reduced our plastic use by 50%!

What is your goal as a brand in regards to inspiring and creating sustainable initiatives? 

We want to be an example of how a fashion brand can move in a more sustainable direction. It is not the easiest, but by believing in what you do, you are able to achieve great results, and create something that is different. We want to show that it’s possible to make sustainable choices for the future! We also support initiatives that help clean and protect the oceans, and we support young entrepreneurs that want to establish businesses that have a sustainable focus.

To learn more about what Studio EBN are doing for sustainability and to see their delicious designs (no pun intended), check them out online!

For another dive into sustainable fashion design, read our interview with Danish fashion brand Rodinia Generation >>>