Literal girls of the past, present and future.
This interview was – mostly – conducted in a park in Stavanger, Norway. The girls of Kalon Azure – Nora and Martine – took my questions, discussed their answers on video and emailed me the files, which I later transcribed.
Piecing together their thoughts and phrases to create this interview was the most gentle, wholesome, invigorating process. And I hope that comes through.
NORA & MARTINE.
How did you two meet?
Nora – We met in third grade, and spent that summer together; climbing trees, dressing up in costumes and trading pokémon cards. We lost contact for a couple of years, but in 2013 we started middle school together and realized we shared a lot of the same interests. Ever since, we’ve been inseparable; traveling to a surf camp in Hoddevik, concerts in Bergen and France, creative writing in the middle of the night, moon ceremonies, and countless trips to the local organic farm & botanical garden.
The emoji you use the most?
Martine – Pink heart/pink flower 💖🌸
N – The wave/pink heart 🌊💖
When you were little, what did you want to do?
M – I wanted to be an artist living in France, as my family used to go to France every other year, and I loved it there. But I also wanted to own a strawberry farm!
N – I wanted to be an archaeologist when I was young, because I really enjoy history and learning about other cultures … but I also wanted to work in fashion! Weird mix, I know.
First thing’s first – why the sname Kalon Azure?
Nora – We were originally called The Travelling Crew, and focused more on travelling, but we realised that wasn’t really what we wanted from our website. So…
Martine – The word Kalon has Greek roots, and means beauty that is more than skin deep. Azure has Arabic roots, and equals the colour of the sky on a cloudless sky.
N – We kind of decided on this because we wanted something people hadn’t really heard before. We wanted something to represent what we really stand for – that beauty isn’t just what you wear and look like.
M – The beauty that exists inside of us. Freedom … individuality … that although we don’t all have the same horizons, we live under the same sky.
Sustainability is a huge part of Kalon Azure. Why is that?
M – I guess because it’s such a huge part of our lives. We started our sustainable journey back in 2014… I don’t exactly know how it happened, but we went from loving these major, awful companies to –
N – In the blink of an eye, we just weren’t interested anymore. I remember I used to buy Maybelline and MAC and all these horrible brands, but I sort of just changed. I think we both started this journey on our own, but it was at the same time, so we ended up learning from each other. We really just wanted to spread the message of sustainability to as many people as possible.
But also … this blog, our website, it’s us learning. We’re not perfect. We’re sharing our own journey – we look at other blogs and figure out new ways to be sustainable, and pass that onto others – the things that work for us. For instance, fast fashion is quite a good example, and knowing more about slow fashion. Using more organic, loval and vegan products, less plastic, etc. … but we’re learning as we go along. We’re constantly figuring out how to be more ethical.
M – We’re also involved in environmental politics, so we’re trying to raise awareness and get more people interested. But I think it’s all about the small changes you make to your lifestyle. Sustainability to me is having respect for the planet and its people, but also future generations. It’s creating a world where future generations can thrive.
Okay – Trump pulling out of the Paris agreement … what were you feeling?
M – When I first heard, I felt – helpless. It just felt very surreal, because – okay, so even the fact that Trump is President still feels surreal to me. When people call him President Trump, I’m like – is this even real??
N – He doesn’t deserve to be president. And obviously, it’s really horrible that he pulled out of the Paris agreement. I guess, the fact that Trump doesn’t really believe the climate is changing – that’s what’s really scary, that a man with so much power has these views. But … there are so many people in America that don’t have the same values as Trump. It’s not just one man who changes everything. You can still make your own choices, and it can still be a really positive change.
On that note – how do you think we can save the world?
N – Really, just doing smaller things that you can do.
M – Realising we do have an impact on the planet.
N – And that climate change is not a lie.
M – YES! [both laugh] But the way so many people live their lives now – including ourselves, you know, we’re not perfect – causes so much damage to the people who are already struggling. We just need to live our lives more compassionately, and more consciously. The ripple effect of that can save our planet.
Starting this blog – what have you learnt?
N – We’ve been doing this for quite some time now… 2, 3 years, maybe? And it involves a lot more hard work than people might think – a lot of our spare time to write and reflect and share what we love to do.
M – And this is a passion project, so I’ve learnt a lot about actually working on something you care about and are passionate about. And it’s been wonderful to be working with Nora – she constantly inspires me and fuels my creativity.
N – We inspire each other. And at the start, we were both really worried about what people would think about us, like what if we made some spelling mistake or wrote something that people thought was weird, or a cliché –
M – But it’s not really about that.
N – We kind of just realised that we really want to do this, and we really love this, and the people who love us will love us for what we do. I think that’s kind of what we’ve really learnt – just do whatever you want to do.
M – Just be yourself. [laughs]
Three years from now …
M – I’m pretty sure I’ll be on a gap year, travelling … maybe doing some volunteering. This Fall I’m visiting the Middle East and a couple of refugee camps, so maybe I could return and volunteer there. But I would also really like to take some course or part time class and learn more about something like art, philosophy, spirituality or religion.
N – We have two more years of school, and then I think I’ll also be on a gap year. I’d love to travel to Coast Rica or Bali and become a yoga instructor. That’s been my dream for about three years now – I want to spread the yoga message more in Norway. Hopefully I’ll also be living in a van!!
If you could meet anyone, dead or alive…
N – Either… Heath Ledger, because he seemed like such an amazing person, really grounded and human… or Elvis – because we both really love his music, and he just seemed like such a cool guy [both laugh].
M – I would want to meet Shailene Woodley, because she – she just cares so passionately about protecting the environment, and I truly admire her lifestyle; how she’s so minimalistic and down to earth, and how she protested the Standing Rock Pipeline. She doesn’t really care what anyone else thinks about her.
If you could tell every teenager in the world ONE thing…
M – The time is now. Just create, and follow your passions and dreams, and only care about the things that truly matter for you.
N – Create a life that you want to live. At the end of the day, nobody else is going to live your life, and you only get one. Just do what makes you happy, no matter what comes your way.
KALON AZURE VINTAGE.
How did it all begin?
Nora – I remember we were always making collages about our favourite brands; Dior, Chanel, Prada … models and perfumes … [laughing] … and I think it just evolved from there in a weird way. But of course, it was also us starting our sustainable journey back in 2014. And the store – I guess we’ve been thinking about it for over a year now, but I think it really all started – what was it, three months ago? Four months?
Martine – We were at this local market, and we sold some second hand clothes and it went very well, so we thought we should just take a chance.
N – We were thinking if something doesn’t work out, it’s better to have tried it anyway than not tried it at all. So it’s been on our minds for over a year, but we finally got the courage to just do it.
Is it hard to open a vintage store?
M – It was so much harder than I first thought. You have to measure and weigh the clothes, find shipping prices, consider the design and colour scheme … It’s taken a lot of work and energy.
N – Especially because we’re doing this all sustainably. We didn’t want to just open up a random store. We were going to open on the 17th, but we have to wait until the end of the month to get our recycled packaging. And also, the photo-shoot took a lot more time than we thought. We were like – okay, so we’ll do this for about two hours… and we were in the city for 5 or 6 hours …
M – And it was raining!! [laughing]
What do you hope to bring with each collection?
N – Pieces that can work for girls and guys. Any gender. This upcoming collection is a lot more feminine, but most of our readers are girls and women… so it was easier to find womens clothing and see how it all works before we get in more mens wear.
M – We want to make it easier for people to choose slow fashion and sustainable fashion, but also find some unique pieces.
N – Pieces they’ll actually love to wear for years and years and years.
M – The clothing industry at the moment …
N – Oh my god, it’s horrible.
M – It’s so awful… honestly, we just want to encourage people to buy second hand, and buy from people they can trust. Also, I’ve always loved to express myself through clothing, and I think buying vintage makes that so much more interesting.
N – It’s all about self expression and individual style, but it’s also about supporting sustainable fashion.
M – We want people to take control of the way they consume.