5 Minutes With... August

by Emma Foreman

August is a clothing brand that combines natural materials with innovative design. Harmony between comfort, practicality and style is the main concept behind the design process. We spent 5 minutes with the founder, Äli Kargoja, to get a closer look at the brand.

How did August begin?

I have been living and breathing the fashion industry for half of my life. I started out with a passion for beautiful clothing and had my first experiences of the industry as a model. I had an amazing opportunity after my law studies in Tallinn to move to Paris and study fashion design at the renowned Studio Bercot. After my school years I gained experience at the ateliers of Nicolas Andreas Taralis (Paris) and Maison Martin Margiela (NYC). I then moved back to my home city, Tallinn in 2014 to pursue my dream of creating my own label. I still travel a lot for work but my home remains in Estonia.

Creating my own brand has somehow been a natural chain of events for me. I don’t recall ever making the decision to create a brand, this thrive has been in me since my teenage years. I just never gave up on this dream and now I'm designing August's 5th collection which feels so natural to me. It took me a year to research and plan my first collection. I started preparing it during my stay in NYC interning at Maison Martin Margiela. Countless hours of sketching, research and visiting fabric fairs paid off as the first collection was really well received and I'm still very proud of it.

Have you always been interested in fashion?

I have been passionate about beautiful things since a very early age. I paid a lot of attention to what I wore and how I styled it, fashion was and still is one my favourite ways to express myself and to communicate with the world.

What have been the highest and lowest points on your journey so far?

The highest point was probably launching my first collection and all the positive feedback I got after introducing it, including the nomination of the young designer of the year in my home country Estonia just after the debut collection.

I have to say I haven’t had any major set backs during my designer journey but there are of course moments of tension when the production is running late, or the fabrics are stuck in a dock in Singapore when they should have been in factory a week ago. I guess that’s all just part of the process and I try to always stay calm as life has proven that things always have their way of figuring themselves out.

What was the inspiration behind your latest collection?

August’s fourth collection, designed with sustainability in mind, seeks to create an elegant gender-fluid aesthetic between feminine and masculine wardrobe elements. Comfortable everyday essentials, with modern twists and details. The collection combines Nordic minimal silhouettes with work wear components, and features natural fabrics that have become August’s signature.

As part of our latest collection, we were also happy to introduce August’s first knitwear pieces in 100% lambswool.

Do you ever struggle to stay inspired?

Luckily, finding inspiration has never been a struggle for me, I enjoy this part of the process the most.

Where is your go-to meeting spot?

That has to be a cute brunch place called Nop in the calmer part of the city of Tallinn.

How would you describe your customer base?

Our customer is a confident woman who expresses her being, choices and way of thinking/consuming through the way she dresses. August is for someone who sees a great value in sustainably made clothes and certified organic fabrics, but also for women who just appreciate effortless, well–made, timeless clothes.

Is there anyone you would love to see wearing your designs?

A great character and a beautiful stylish woman as Charlotte Gainsbourg for example.

What are the morals you run your brand by?

We stay true to our principle of keeping the production local. As the company continues to grow, so does the team, who all make sure to do our best to deliver high quality and mindfully made garments.

Do you have a mentor?

I don’t have just one mentor. I have a lot of good people around me who’s advice I always value highly.

What apps keep you sane?

I actually prefer to take a walk in the nature in moments of tension to clear the head.

If you could only wear one piece from your collection, what would it be and why?

That would be the first item that I designed for August that still remains one of our signature pieces - KAI top. It embodies everything that August is about - minimal timeless design, with an elegant twist of details/construction.

What’s the biggest style mistake you’ve ever made?

For some reason that still remains a mystery for me - dyeing my beautiful blond hair black back in the days.

Is there another designer whose work you particularly admire?

I really admire the work of Christophe Lemaire, I also love the style aesthetics of Joseph.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

To not take anything personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

What drew you to Wolf & Badger?

We were looking for interesting point of sales in London, and we very quickly discovered Wolf & Badger. We instantly loved the concept, and luckily were chosen to be part of their family. Even though Wolf & Badger has grown into quite a sizable company, they still take their time to support every brand they have under their roof. So far the collaboration has been very smooth, and I am very happy to say that August is part of Wolf & Badger.

 Where do you see the brand in 5 years?

I see August as an established brand that rings a bell to anyone seeking high quality sustainable, consciously made elegant designs. I see a wider product range and retailers all over the world to provide people with the choice to consume mindfully made garments and to take a stand against low quality fast fashion that is over flooding our planet.


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