Name: Emelie Törling
Background: Lived in London, Abu Dhabi, Sydney, LA and most recently New York. Has worked as a singer and is the founder of Leontine, which sells vintage cowboy boots and jewelry made from recycled materials. She is also a working artist.
Home: Stockholm, newly returned home after 6 years in New York
Family: Husband Gustaf, daughters Anaïs and Aymeline
Right now: On maternity leave, and painting. Designer of Boob’s Chari-Tee AW19.
You are the founder of and designer at Leontine. Tell us more about the idea behind the company and where it’s at today.
I lived in Laurel Canyon in Los Angeles for a while in 2011 and decorated vintage boots for myself with unique vintage details that I found in the markets there. When I left the house, sixteen people stopped me and asked where they could buy those boots, and right there on the street I realized I had business on my hands, so I wrote down my contact information on a piece of paper and started Leontine. I started making boots to order, and I also made jewelry by hand using recycled silver. The artists Cat Power, Kate Moss, stylists Katy England and Claire Richardson are some of my clients and most recently I did a collaboration with Leontine for Alberta Ferreti’s sub-brand, Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini. I made all the boots for the SS18 catwalk models by hand and we released a collection at Barneys New York that sold out. Absolutely great fun. Now I am on maternity leave and obviously thinking about what the next step might be, but I also want to focus on my children now that I am at home. It is such an extremely important time. We’ll see what’s next!
Emelie in Boob Chari-Tee AW19.
You designed this autumn’s new Chari-Tee. How did you get the idea for the style and the print?A white t-shirt is the best thing ever. I only wear clothes that are unapologetically comfortable, so it should be soft, nothing that chafes and good quality so that I can keep the garment for years! I hope that the T-shirt I designed becomes the garment that the nursing mom chooses over and over again when she looks in her wardrobe in the morning; the T-shirt she wants to use every day, for jeans, for tights, or only with panties. Whether she’s at home or when she goes out. Because it’s so soft, and becomes nicer the more it is used. Not to mention stylish. I created the print by hand with a brush and oil paint because I wanted it to feel human. When things are not perfect, the color is not completely filled in, or something is missing, it’s beautiful.
You are also a singer. Which songs do you like to sing to your children?
I sing a Brazilian song when it’s time for them to sleep called Undiu by Jiao Gilberto. I heard it in Rio years before I had children and decided that I would sing it as a bedtime song for my future children because it was so nice. My husband and I have done this since both children were born, and both children love it.
What do you think is the biggest difference between living as a parent to a toddler in New York and Stockholm?
Oh, everything is vastly different, but the biggest difference is that everything is so clean, fresh, calm and child-friendly in Sweden. Every restaurant has a changing table! Having the freedom to do what you did before even though you have children works well in Sweden because of the accessibility, and that is wonderful.
You became a mother for the second time in July of last year. Was the journey different with your second child? Anaïs was born by emergency C-section in New York at week 31 in the darkest December, and she was hospitalized for two months during which I couldn’t be there with her. I had post-traumatic stress and postpartum depression that lasted almost two years. It is impossible to describe how tough it was, but I got through it and I pumped milk around the clock for two months and went with it to the hospital so that she would manage to grow and thrive. Today she is the world’s best four-year-old. She feels good and I feel good, and now we have Aymeline. She came in the middle of summer in Sweden and we took it easy, and only saw each other and the family for five weeks. The first month I lived according to an Ayurvedic book for new mothers, which for me was invaluable. I went into a bubble in way, which I never got a chance to do after Anaïs’s birth and in her early life, and that all feels great. I am so thankful that I am where I am today: both children are healthy and we all feel good. This is happiness.
Name three things you don’t want to be without as a mom to two little ones.
A baby sling made of organic cotton, coconut oil and yoga. All three are indispensable!
What does sustainability mean to you?
It means appreciating what you have and taking care of it. As much as possible, buy clothes and things used. Take responsibility for the things you buy new to the extent you can, just by shopping where they manufacture products in a good way without environmentally hazardous chemicals and poor working conditions.
Do you have a favorite spot you can’t wait to show your daughters?
I want to show my children the world. I want to introduce them to other cultures and how magnificent and beautiful nature is and how we must take good care of it. If you understand how big the world is and see how other people live, you become humble about your life and gain a greater perspective on existence.
What do you hope to pass on to your daughters?
I want nothing more than that they understand their self-worth and never ever doubt it. I hope to give them inner strength, the courage to do what they want, the courage to say no and the strength not to give up.
What do you want the world your children grow up in to look like?
Such a tough question ... Right now, it looks as if children will grow up in a disaster world with the threat of both environmental breakdown and nuclear weapons, and the persistent wave of right-wing extremists, terrorism and populism. But I want and hope that people will take responsibility in time. I want our children to grow up and be able to enjoy the natural world, and that humanity and community extend across countries and borders. A dream world.
What’s at the top of your wish list?
More time to paint maybe? But at the same time, I also really want to be off for a long time in the summer with the whole family. It’ always the combination that’s the best. The balance.