December’s – ‘The Winter Escape Issue’ – Download Now

Totême has been delivering precise, considered pieces defined by distinct silhouettes, refined cuts and elevated fabrics since 2014.

This season the brand has partnered with NET-A-PORTER to curate an exclusive evening capsule collection.

Emirates Woman spoke to Founders Elin Kling and Karl Lindman on defining evening dressing.

What is the DNA of the brand, its core values?

EK: Totême is about curation and offering a sense of direction. We create modern takes on classic pieces that we make ours through our unique design DNA. It has a lot to do with shapes and silhouettes – elements that add distinction – but also how one puts it together. It’s an ongoing mission to define our woman’s life, needs and to in turn upgrade her wardrobe to match these requirements. Our brand DNA is rooted in quality, distinct design cues, and a strong visual identity.


How did you know it was the right time to launch Totême and what was the catalyst for you to make the leap?

EK: Starting a brand was something I had always dreamt of. In 2014 we had a clear idea of what we wanted to create and felt the timing was right. We envisioned a brand based on the wardrobe – with pieces that I was missing in my wardrobe. A brand with a strong point of view, a curated approach and a consistent expression.

Do you feel more drawn to the creative or the business side of the brand and how have you grown the team to support this?

EK: When starting Totême, Karl and I didn’t quite understand the complexity of running a fashion brand, especially not the production side of things. But this also made us more willing to take risks and we have learnt so
much along the way. Today we’re lucky to have an amazing team by our side so that we can focus on the creative vision.

KL: From day one we placed a lot of trust in the individual and we continue to do so to this day. We believe in building an agile organisation that can easily be adjusted to meet new challenges and a work environment that is inclusive and benefits everyone who is willing to put in the work and commit to our journey forward. We are humbled by the fact that we get to work with so many talented individuals on a daily basis.

What has been the biggest hurdle since launching and how did you navigate this?

As for most companies, there are always challenges and areas to improve. For us, it has been challenging to grow the organisation at the speed necessary to fulfil customer demand.

What is the inspiration for your designs and how do you ensure all pieces lead back to the DNA of the brand?

EK: The collections are built on what I feel like I’m missing in my wardrobe at the time. In that sense, it’s very much about the piece itself: its purpose and relevance, and how it fits in with the Totême wardrobe. The ongoing mission is to define our woman’s life and needs, and upgrade her wardrobe to match.


How did this partnership come about and how did you approach the curation of pieces?

The starting point was the question: “What does the Totême woman want to wear in the evening?”. The capsule showcases Totême’s occasion-centred approach to the wardrobe and covers complete looks for weekday dinners to special occasions.

Which piece in the collection do you feel is the hero piece and why?

EK: At Totême we are obsessed with transitional pieces that take you from one situation to the next. This could be a desk to dinner solution that is easy to throw on when it’s Thursday and someone says “Dinner?”. In this capsule, that piece would be the Evening satin scarf, a snood-like satin layer to drape over your top or blazer.

What advice would you give to your younger self starting out?

KL: Be prepared to make tough decisions along the way. Perhaps most importantly, follow your gut feeling and enjoy the process.

December’s – ‘The Winter Escape Issue’ – Download Now

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Images: Supplied