Liz, her energy and great hair have been with me from the start, and she embodies everything about the brand. She is someone I love to be around, and if you are able to get your hands on her range of natural remedies you won’t be able to live without them.
Please tell us a bit about yourself?
Hi! Liz Taw, Hairstylist/Men’s Groomer/kitchen beauty formulator and low waste living enthusiast. Originally from Sydney Australia, currently based in East London.
I first discovered the transformative power of great hair as a teenager, when a friend had her scraggly hair cut short and coloured a vibrant red. It totally transformed her! Most of us still had our mum’s cutting our hair with the kitchen scissors at that point, so it was a real revelation. I was mesmerised at how it framed her face, enhancing her features, skin tone and eye colour. She looked so beautiful and she carried herself differently. I needed to understand this witchcraft so I found the salon were the magic happened, applied for a weekend job and that was that! I was hooked on the feeling you get watching people light up in the mirror when they like what they see.
I’ve worked in the industry for over 24 years now, in one form or other. I’m not saying it’s an easy career choice. The schedules can be gruelling and it’s also hugely competitive, so you can find yourself going from having too much work to not enough and everything in between. But there’s always another avenue to pursue, another door to peek behind, if you’re game. It can be a rollercoaster, but I love it.
You have been on this journey from the beginning, and one of my biggest supporters, please tell me about all the E.L.V. DENIM pieces that you have!
Can I just start by saying, it was a real moment slipping on my first pair of E.L.V DENIM. I don't want to sound too dramatic, but it really was quite something!They were a pair of light blue match boyfriends that you casually handed me from a pile of samples on your desk, and they fit like a dream! Even before I’d made it to the mirror to marvel at how flattering the shape was, I’d fallen in love with the fit and feel. The perfect rise, snug on my waist, roomy at my hips (so no dreaded pull lines), the comfort of well-worn denim, cleverly constructed to support and control in all the right places. Anna! You created the perfect pair of jeans that ticked all my eco-anxious boxes! We’d worked together many moons before and I knew I loved your aesthetic, and when you explained the concept behind the brand I immediately wanted in. But, I was not prepared for my emotional reaction to finding my denim soul match! (Ok, now I’m sounding a bit dramatic... but it’s true) I’ve since had the privilege of being on set for many E.L.V. DENIM campaigns, witnessing the smiles in the mirror and the confidence these clothes imbue on everyone who wears them. The shoots are more like a mutual appreciation club really, with a whole bunch of inspiring and wonderful humans. It’s a privilege to be in the room.
Back to the question.. So far my E.L.V. DENIM haul includes:
1) the aforementioned super light blue match boyfriends (1st love, and still one of the most beloved and well-worn items in my wardrobe)
2) a dark blue match kick flare (my “how good does my butt look in these?!” Jeans)
3) a mid blue match boyfriend (the slouchy ones- a couple of sizes up, worn lower on hips and every time I wear them someone comments on the cool pockets)
4) a dark/light blue contrast crop jacket (wardrobe staple! I feel like the slight off kilter elements adds a bit of extra swagger ) 5) and my latest crush, a pink bleach contrast boyfriend (I love these jeans so much! I went in for a fitting, left the studio in them and have barely taken them off since.. I actually have them on now) I’ve also definitely got my eye on some other pieces... the latest collection is next level amazing! You really are a genius Anna, and I can’t wait for what’s next.
Not only are you a phenomenal hairdresser to the stars (who by the way most of whom won’t let ANYONE else touch their hair!), but your holistic approach has taken you on a journey to make your own products. Please tell us about them.
Haha Yes! I’m incredibly fortunate to have some very long standing and fiercely loyal clients, who seem to enjoy my particular approach. A big part of the job as I see it, is essentially being a support act. I very much enjoy collaborating with people creatively and translating ideas into imagery. But besides the fun of that, working on such an intimate level with artists, you quickly learn to read the room and use all the tools in your arsenal to get the vibe right. Over the years, I’ve picked up some pretty useful tools and a keen intuition.
I first came across the wonders of essential oils, aromatherapy and massage at that same Sydney salon where I trained all those years ago. Each treatment started with a “sensory test” and an Ayurvedic inspired scalp massage. I thought it was pretty cool when I learned to tell how someone was feeling by the aroma they were drawn to. Those plant extracts also had the power to energise/ calm/ relax/ distract from the annoyance that their hairdresser was running late.. cool right! I was equally fascinated by how stimulating certain points on the body could open up energy channels and promote feelings of well being. That led to me taking lots of different courses and I’ve never really lost that sense of awe and wonder in nature and ancient healing modalities. It was a natural progression to start thinking about the importance of ethically sourcing ingredients, obsessively scanning labels for endocrine disrupters and other nasties and looking for ways to minimise environmental impact. And that’s what ultimately led to me incorporating some of my home blends into my kit.
I come from a very long line of kitchen beauty enthusiasts. I think it’s a Lebanese thing. I have early memories of the morning mint tea leaves being squeezed into rounds and used as cooling eye masks. Rose water on everything! It’s about as clean, green and low waste as it gets and the more I learn about what these ingredients actually do, the more I realise the genius of that inheritance.
My formulations have come a long way since then, but definitely still retain the same ethos. I love to make beauty that’s multitasking, nutritious, unadulterated food grade, fresh. That’s what excites me. That and the fact that I can just keep refilling the same container. Over the last year I really had the time to focus on reducing my waste to bare minimum, and by that, I mean taking responsibility for as much as I could. I decided to really be committed to it.
I sense there is a new chapter to open up for LizTaw! What do the next few years hold for you?
Well, I’ve been very much been inspired by my talented friends and brands like yours who manage to produce the chicest products not despite of, but because of their ethical stance.
I’ve really enjoyed sharing recipes and empowering people to have a go at making their own products. So maybe a more formal and comprehensive resource to share recipes. I’m aware that not everyone has the time or inclination to make products themselves, but I really don’t want to produce another container that may or may not be recycled, repurposed or refilled, and will probably end up in landfill. I’m working on a solution and I’m pretty excited about how that’s developing.
Anna, you’ll be the first to know when I do crack it. Watch this space.