Elsbeth Blekkenhorst-Tames has been a resident of Qatar for 11 years and is the founder of the slow fashion brand Elisabietta. Elsbeth previously worked in a corporate job, before deciding to leap into the world of fashion, sustainability, and charity in 2015.
Elisabietta was initially established so that Elsbeth could design her own flat shoes that incorporated her favourite classic styles.
“Practically with my eyes closed, I started running my business. Along the way, I added accessories such as bags and scarves. And very recently, I launched my sustainable dress collection that is block printed and handmade in India, in collaboration with my dear friend Sonali Raman.”
Elsbeth is an advocate for making wardrobes as sustainable as possible. The pieces she creates at Elisabietta are what she describes as ‘seasonless’; “you can wear my pieces over and over or pass them on. I am very loyal to the pieces I buy and many pieces I treasure. Fashion is a cycle, and styles always come back around!”
As well as sustainability, purchasing ethically-produced products is a core value for the brand; “my supply chain is fully transparent. I’m in close contact with the suppliers and producers who make my collections to ensure they use the right materials and the manufacturers work in safe and fair conditions.”
Elsbeth’s brand and her charitable campaigns have received overwhelming support from the community in Qatar. She formed ‘Shoes for Dreams’ during the peak of COVID-19 in 2020, and has received huge numbers of shoe donations from those around her.
“I wanted to know how I could help others and give back. I drove around Qatar to collect the shoes, with safety measures in place, and met and connected with so many wonderful women.”
“It’s beautiful to see and experience how many people want to help. During the darkest days of COVID-19 last year, the light was still shining because of all of these wonderful women helping me.”
Shoes for Dreams continues to be an ongoing campaign as Elsbeth pursues her passion for giving back. “After the explosion in Beirut, I dedicated the campaign to the women of Lebanon affected by the disaster.”
Asked to shares her advice for aspiring entrepreneurs, Elsbeth notes that “you need to be passionate about it. This will help you during the moments when people tell you ‘no’. Do your research and prepare for the commitment that comes with owning your own business.”
Many of Elsbeth’s hopes and goals for the future involve spreading the ongoing importance of sustainable and ethical fashion. “Sustainable fashion is not about being boring or old-fashioned, but renewing. Once you learn more about the fabrics and materials behind who makes your clothes, it’s much more satisfying to wear a sustainable piece and feel proud of wearing it too.”