ELEANORE GUTHRIE SPORTS HER OWN DESIGNS


she talks snowboarding, accounting and launching a fashion brand




Words by Tierney Finster 
Photos by Jess Calleiro

Eleanore Guthrie (@_knorts) makes loungewear fit for the red carpet. Things have changed a lot for Guthrie since launching Knorts almost six years ago. For one, she left her day job as an accountant to focus on founding a fashion label that connects deeply with consumers while ignoring and disrupting outdated industry norms. She’s also been able to infuse her designs with the irreverent sartorial spirit of her first passion – snowboarding.

Artists such as Sza, Kali Uchis, Lady Gaga, Kehlani and Bad Gyal are fans. As well as Zhavia, singer and the social media who Guthrie styled for a landmark performance last week. Now a fully fledged entrepreneur, Guthrie’s day-to-day life is much different than ever before. Her materials haven’t changed at all though. Knorts is made of indigo yarn, which gives the line of denim knitwear its signature look and feel. The result is a huge line of red-carpet-ready clothes that feel like loungewear.

Guthrie tells TRASH about innovating distribution methods within the fashion industry, using string to recreate the silhouette of her favorite snowboarding pants and developing her business acumen.


THANK YOU FOR BEING A TRASH ANGEL. WILL YOU TELL US ABOUT A MOMENT THAT MADE YOU FEEL LIKE YOU “EARNED YOUR HALO?”  

Hmmm I can’t decide between the time I made my first sale or the time Lady Gaga wore my designs. Both are validating in very different ways and feel equally like the “real deal”.


  
WHERE DID YOUR IDEA TO CREATE DENIM KNITWEAR stem FROM?

When I was in college, I rode my bike all over Salt Lake City. In the summer months, I’d wear my cute and comfy knit shorts, but in the winter, I’d wear my cute but uncomfy non-stretch denim. I imagined a world where I could have the cuteness and comfort all year long with elevated design. Hence the denim knitwear concept was born.


KNORTS IS YOUR BIGGEST PASSION NOW. WHAT WAS IT BEFORE? 

Before Knorts and my general interest in fashion, I was really into snowboarding and snowboarding culture. I had dreams of becoming a pro-snowboarder, but eventually realized that dream wasn’t going to come true. Even though I couldn’t realize my dreams in the snowboarding world, it was the driving force behind my interest in fashion. The snowboarding world has its own niche sense of style and group of brands that are cool and fashionable. I loved this aspect of snowboarding. When I decided to start a business, I naturally gravitated towards fashion.

CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT A SPECIFIC KNORTS DESIGN INSPIRED BY SNOWBOARDING WEARS?

The “Elonagators” pants were  directly inspired from the popular snowboarding pant silhouette popular at the time. It was popular to wear fitted flare snowboard pants with loose, baggy tops. I loved the silhouette these garments created on the body.



“Mind you, my employer didn’t know I had this other business, so I made some excuse and immediately left work to prepare the shipment.”





WHAT INSPIRES YOUR designs?

Snowboarding, Los Angeles, functionality and the contrast capabilities of the indigo-dyed yarn.

how did you transition from accountant to designer? 

I love business, so when I was in school, accounting immediately stood out as something that would give me a well-rounded, solid technical business background. I knew once I had a good understanding of business, I would be able to start my own or do anything else I ever wanted to do.

WHO WAS THE FIRST super INFLUENTIAL PERSON YOU SAW WEARING KNORTS?

Lady Gaga. It felt freaking unreal, but amazing. It’s not something I ever thought about or imagined would happen in my life. It’s actually a funny story. I was working full time doing accounting when I received an email from Gaga’s stylist. They wanted designs overnighted to NY. I was like… shit. I need to leave work right now and do this.

Mind you, my employer didn’t know I had this other business, so I made some excuse and immediately left work to prepare the shipment. That was one of the best decisions I ever made, clearly.




what’s the knorts rental program all about?
Yes! The rental program was launched to give more accessibility to the brand. If someone is hesitant about a design or about denim knitwear in general, they can test it out for a few days. Another reason it was launched is to cater to the people who prefer renting versus owning high-end, more avant garde designs.

If they need a cute look for an event, they can rent a design at an affordable price versus investing in an expensive piece they may not ever wear again. The rental program is also a way

for Knorts to practice sustainability. The fashion industry is one of the biggest contributors to waste and landfill, so encouraging and offering rentals helps reduce the brand’s output in the world.

WHAT do you wish for the future of fashion?

I wish fashion would be more open-minded not only from a social standpoint, but also from a business model standpoint. So much of the industry is built on the idea that fashion business has to play out a certain way and if your business doesn’t follow those rules, then… it’s not cool. I obviously disagree.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR SOMEONE WHO wants to decrease how much fast fashion they buy?

I’d tell them less is more and encourage them to save money to invest in longer lasting, higher quality clothes. If you consider how much longer you’re usually able to wear well-designed clothes because of proper fit and style relevance, the cost per wear on an investment piece can end up being a lot cheaper than fast fashion since it lasts longer and supports more wears than poorly designed and poorly made clothes. I’d also encourage them to try clothing rentals when they want to freshen up their wardrobe. It’s a good way to get that fast fashion experience without contributing to the extreme waste. Also, the second hand market is really good for finding well-made, fashionable clothes at unbeatable prices.

WHAT’s your fAVORITE ITEM OF CLOTHING to wear THAT YOU DIDN’T MAKE?

That’s hard because it always changes. Currently, my favorite garment I didn’t make is my cheap, non-stretch black denim jeans that ripped in the trendiest possible spot you can imagine one time when I sat cross-legged on the ground...the knee. I cringe a little every time I wear them, but I also can’t help but think I look really good in them.

Or when I’m trying to not care as much about how I look and just want to be comfy and sloppy, I’ll wear my “boyfriend” jeans from Helmut Lang. To be honest, I’ve been wearing these almost every day of the summer. They don’t make me too hot surprisingly.

knorts IS  GENDER NEUTRAL and size inclusive. how DOES SEEING such a variety of bodies IN YOUR CLOTHES influence your designs?

I simply love designing clothes that people love to wear. The reaction people have when they try on my designs, and well-fitting clothes in general, is priceless. The confidence clothing can give a person is what makes being a clothing designer totally worth it. For these reasons, I don’t care who you are or what you look like…if you love my designs and they make you happy, then that makes me really happy and makes me feel successful.

It’s refreshing to see this play out for my brand because it’s one of the biggest reasons why I decided to use knitwear as my design medium. Without having a background in fashion, I figured knitwear would be the easiest thing to design from a fit standpoint. If people don’t see their size online, they’re encouraged to contact us for a custom size without being charged extra. The last thing I want to do is to exclude a supporter of my brand because I don’t have the size they need.

I also don’t like the idea of separating my line into various categories. When I started Knorts, it was (and still is) of utmost importance to not project a certain style or image onto people. I want people to interpret the designs however they pleased. Now, I have all sorts of people from all walks of life wearing my designs. This is one of the things I love about my brand the most.  




WHAT’S ONE CREATIVE SKILL YOU’D LOVE TO LEARN?

I secretly wish I could sing cus I honestly think I could be really good at making music. I’m too lazy to even try that, though. Maybe one day.

how do you RELAX?


I pet my dogs, go on a walk, sit and think with a beer, go out in nature, hang with my parents and exercise.

WHAT’S A QUESTION YOU’D LIKE TO ASK A CREATOR?

What do you create?





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