MEET ASLAUG MAGNUSDOTTIR
This week on Wynne's World, we are honored to interview Aslaug Magnusdottir, an entrepreneur and investor who we admire. Aslaug was introduced to us by our friend Carlota Espinosa, another inspirational woman who has been featured here in the past.
Áslaug Magnúsdóttir is the Founder and CEO of Katla, an eco-friendly fashion brand inspired by the nature of her native Iceland. Previously she co-founded luxury e-commerce platform Moda Operandi where she served as the initial CEO. Aslaug has partnered with Six Senses Hotels to develop a Six Senses resort, spa and residences in the stunning Össurá Valley in south-east Iceland. She spends her time between Reykjavik and the San Francisco Bay Area.
Heidi: What are you currently working on?
Aslaug: Most recently, in 2020, I launched a new sustainable fashion brand — Katla. The brand is named after a true force of nature; a very active and powerful volcano in my home country of Iceland. Katla draws inspiration from nature and hence we place a big emphasis on zero waste manufacturing and vegan, eco-friendly fabrics to minimize our impact on the environment.
In particular, in February, we will launch new styles made of a seaweed cotton blend. The seaweed originates from the area around Sleepy Islands (Svefneyjar), a cluster of 63 magical islands in Breiðafjörður, off the west coast of Iceland, where my partner and I have our summer home. At Sleepy Islands, we are setting up satellite operations for Katla where guests will be able to visit our atelier and to learn all about the sustainable seaweed harvesting process, as of this summer.
Moreover, I am excited to be developing the Six Senses resort and residences in Iceland, along with a few other partners. The resort will be located in Össurá Valley, on the south-east coast of the country where the nature is dramatic and beautiful. The site includes a lagoon, black sand beaches, a valley and multiple waterfalls.
Heidi: What are you reading?
Aslaug: I am currently reading a fascinating book by environmentalist Paul Hawken: Regeneration: Ending the Climate Crisis in One Generation. This book is a must read for anyone concerned about protecting our environment. Hawken talks about a variety of climate solutions including the power of seaweed farming and restoring kelp forests — topics that have become near and dear to my heart.
Heidi: Do you have any winter travel plans?
Aslaug: My partner and I travelled to the Maldives in December where we celebrated his birthday. Next, we headed to Iceland for the holidays. We plan to stay in Iceland until February at which point we will go back to California. I am currently pregnant, so we will most likely stay put at home in the Bay Area until the baby arrives in early June.
Heidi: What are you wearing this winter and spring?
Aslaug: All of the pieces I wear these days need to tick a few important boxes. I need to love them aesthetically, but I also want them to be extremely comfortable and versatile. For a day to evening look, my current must-haves are Katla’s Viktoría jumpsuit and Soffía slip dress, which comes in both solid colors and florals. For a more casual look, I love the Katla Force Sweatsuit and the new “Curly the lamb” t-shirt that we launched in collaboration with artist Rachel Brown. A portion of revenue from the sale of each t-shirt is donated to the Wildlife Conservation Network. Finally, I will definitely be wearing our new seaweed blend styles as soon as they launch next month.
Heidi: Could you please share with us a few of your favorite beauty products:
Aslaug: I am a big fan of Ástinmín and especially their Magical Face Oil. Ástinmín products are made from Icelandic mountain grasses and other natural ingredients by makeup artist Andrea Helgadóttir. There is no other skincare product that makes my face glow as much as this magical oil.
I also use Blue Lagoon Silica Mud Mask, which is used to deep cleanse the skin and to help minimize the appearance of pores. It is made from Blue Lagoon geothermal seawater and silica mud from the lagoon.
Finally, Mogra Rejuvenating Gold Cream from Subtle Energies is a daily moisturizer that gives a beautiful glow, but is particularly effective as part of the 24k gold facial offered at Six Senses spas.
Heidi: Who is your fashion or beauty icon?
Aslaug: I have many style icons, some of which are inspired from my love of 60s fashion like Jane Birkin and Catherine Deneuve. Of the more modern day style icons, I particularly admire those that also take a stance for the environment like Amber Valetta.
Catherine Deneuve, Amber Valetta, Jane Birkin
Heidi: What is meaningful in your life right now?
Aslaug: Being pregnant takes up a lot of my focus these days and I am thrilled to be having my second child at the beginning of June. My work is also very meaningful to me. The fashion industry has a huge impact on our environment, as well as people and animals. My goal with Katla is to develop a blueprint for a new and different way of creating fashion. Zero waste manufacturing and supply chain transparency play a big part in that transformation, and I believe that with a mindset shift, we can dramatically transform this industry in a very impactful way.
(This is not a sponsored post, rather we love supporting fellow entrepreneurs, especially when they offer a sustainable collection)
Thank you, Aslaug!