Elise and the youth
The young ones.
The season of their returning back to school.
So much talent and vigor packed in batches and put into the classrooms destined to be bored…
I remember being there. In my early teens, doing my duty at school as a classical people-pleaser child - yet feeling bored and thirsty for something different. Something modern and ahead of its time. I sought after it in teenager magazines, books and movies. I was even dreaming of creating my own publication somehow. But it was quite an unattainable dream, being too young and too female to be taken seriously and all. You see there was no such thing as the web back then…
We live in the era where the democratization of expression is fact - all people can have their own platform, create and share their stuff. Even the young ones. The web has given them the opportunity to be part of the global sharing of information. And add their own perspective to the game…as Elise By Olsen did.
Elise is an editor, publisher and curator sharing her time between Oslo, Lisbon and London. She serves as an editor-in-chief at Wallet publication. Prior to Wallet she had founded Recens Paper, a youth culture magazine and prior to that, Archetype, a digital destination for young people as well. Before you start thinking that many people have similar accomplishments, let me give you another small but important detail: Elise was born in 1999!
Being based in cold weathered Oslo and an only child in her family, she had to spend too much time indoors by herself. Technology became her tool for communicating with her peers. ‘You know if I didn’t have internet friends, I wouldn’t know what to do’ she claims. So she started blogging about fashion and music and stuff at eight years old back in 2008. Her on growing following led her to found a blog network with a group of similarly entreprenial friends called Archetype, whose vision was to tie together young bloggers across fashion, art, music and photography.
But Elise was charmed by IRL instead of URL. And she went on and created Recens Paper, a platform made by youth for youth. In print. Funded from Kickstarter and her own savings at first. A place where gender stereotypes were undone and was advanced beyond advertising led content. Because already existing magazines were created by older people and dictated by other things aside from what’s real, to use her exact words.
She stayed at Recens Paper from 2013 until 2017. And then decided to step down from it as she became 17-years old and wanted to make way for a newer, younger editor. She insists that this is the only thing that will allow to a publication like this remain authentic and provide insight from the inside of the youth - she even created the following video to explain her approach. Please do watch and be amazed!
Creativity though didn’t abandon her - on the contrary! ‘I feel the need for strengthening the political dimension of fashion’ said on the launch of Wallet last year. Another publication, yes. Which was created from a desire to redeem fashion journalism and introduce critical thinking with a serious of descussions. Every issue examines a particular topic from a holistic point - the Issue #5 I just received from post office is about the marketplaces of fashion. I am impressed by this actual wallet sized magazine which seems to function as an essential object. You can easily carry it around, rip the ads if you would rather read without them, keep notes in the given note pages…practical and completely modern way of browsing a fashion magazine don’t you think?
As I have been unfolding all of Elise’s act to present them to you, couldn’t help but wonder…why has our culture been so distrustful around young creatives ? Especially female ones? Is it the patriarchy? The capitalist structure of our global economy that dreads slump? The fear that we, the older ones, would lose our privilege? Why do they have to curve their own paths so people would pay attention? We would all benefit from the simplicity of allowing the youth to just be and be respected. Why is it so hard to realise it?
But I am so glad that they find their way. Even if it is difficult at first. Eventually they thrive and the world can’t help but climb up to their level and listen. Here’s to Elise…and Greta…and Tavi…and…and…
*Photography Maria Pasenau via Dazed