The ‘GLACIAL’ Cover Story is one of our online ISSUE segments, head to THE GLACIAL ISSUE for the complete editorial and the complete set of images
To face a glacier—large, cold and uninviting. The cold world we all wish to crack into by melting the surrounding ice with the fire burning inside of us. The Glacial issue’s cover story unveils the frozen truths within, begging us to ask questions and melt away our icy front. Join our arctic exploration into the unknown. The fashion powerhouse Elix Toci covers LOAD’s Winter 2022 issue, lensed by Magnus Swärd, serenading us in their snowy urban, fantastical fusion palace and conquering the ice fortress. Shot in snowed London, UK, the city landscape of skyscrapers, bridges, roads and industrial scenes places Elix to unfreeze themselves in the realm of the ordinary.
Fashions that Press Defrost
Extravagant and stylistic expression contrasts the ordinary surroundings and clashes with the winter war of extra versus ordinary. The looks take on different expressions of the journey we all go through to reach our truest form and melt the ice. The punk-rock look comes as the initial rebellion against our personal and societal prejudices, the first glacial crack. The otherworldly skin-like garments, designed by Mr Oystr, portray the reshaping process, once one decides to explore the secrets kept frozen deep inside the heart of the iceberg. As Elix takes over, the city seems redundant—a conquered glacier eliminating all surrounding efforts to freeze their spirit. They defy the winter temperatures in their chill-inducing garments, encapsulating the power of defrosting their truth. The peripheral urbanism accentuates the star’s elf-like forms and encourages our readers to venture away from preconceptions of themselves and their fashion. Going against your personal avalanche, the Glacial issue urges you to experiment on the figures you could manifest.
LOAD is proud to hold Elix’s first exclusive interview. The London-based fashion model and personality, share their journey through the ice age of finding themselves and experimenting with fashion, while also unveiling their frozen style secrets. Read the full interview in the LOAD Winter 2022 Cover Story.
Who is Elix?
Elix is an idea, a dream, a fantasy! A chaotic form of energy that you cannot describe but only experience hehe.
To be honest, I don’t know who I am. I am learning new sides of myself everyday. If I gave you a description of who Elix is now, I am pretty sure in the next 3 months I would be a completely different being.
I would say Elix is like a fictional character written by Trisha Paytas, who is obsessed with alien conspiracies theories and Lana Del Rey!
Every iceberg hides a big unexplored world under its tip. What journey have you been on to discover the depths of your glacier?
I still have a long journey to discover my true self but the journey full of struggles has helped my self-discovery.
I was born and lived four years in Albania. Coming from a working class background, my family took the decision to move to Greece for a ‘better life’. I still remember when we were illegally crossing the borders between Albania and Greece. I specifically remember my dad holding me in his arms trying to convince me everything was alright, but babes, my dad was more scared than me and not convincing at all.
Life in Greece was definitely a low quality one.
Me and my family were illegally living in Greece for more than ten years, I know that’s crazy!
My mum was doing housekeeping jobs and my dad was doing construction jobs—you know the average immigrants’ jobs. Even though we were struggling financially and living in a tiny basement flat, I always felt like a princess in a castle. I am truly grateful for my parents as they always made sure me and my brother weren’t missing anything.
The school years were ok…I wasn’t bullied, kinda the opposite. I was sometimes the bully but I did it for their character development hehe.
One traumatic experience I remember in school was when I was around 8-9 years old. We were in Greek language class and the teacher assigned us to describe our rooms. Everyone was describing and describing while I was shook, you guys have your own rooms? Then is when I realised that I am broke, because before I thought I was rich…delusional.
My teenage years were a hate crime…Changing from elementary to high school was a culture shock. I had high achievements in school; you know high grades, participating in maths/physics competition aka my geek era. I did all of that to get validation and attention from my peers while at the same time trying to prove the same to my parents. Basically, my teenage years were me suppressing my feelings and at the same time being a people pleaser.
Everything changed as soon as I left my home, family and the country.
This act of independence made me realise that I am now on my own. I became selfish and started to prioritise myself and set boundaries. Being alone helped me get out of the trap I was stuck in and start to discover the depths of my glacier.
What have been the biggest difficulties and accomplishments in your exploration?
Having to understand that I don’t have to prove anything to my parents.
Lots of working-class immigrant parents tend to think of kids as their own possessions. They believe their kids are their hope, their future. Don’t get me wrong, as I’ve said before, I am truly grateful for my parents. I understand that seeing me like that is the fault of the non-privileged life we had. This attitude that my parents had towards me caused a toxic thinking pattern to myself. I was prioritising them and then me.
After analysing my toxic thinking, I began to acknowledge that this was the root of many of my difficulties.
Has moving to London influenced your journey? If yes, how?
When I first moved to London it was rough. I was kinda homeless at the beginning and living in a hostel for 3 weeks. That did not put me down as my excitement for the new chapter in my life was powerful. I am now officially closing one year in London and this year I have lived and achieved the most I’ve had in my life. From meeting wonderful inspiring people to the opportunities, the fashion world, and the techno parties; all of these have truly influenced me as a being.
The east London queer techno-rave community is strong! In this community I felt like home, a feeling I never had back in Greece. Although I had discovered parts of me, the scene connected them together.
Has fashion helped you on your quest for personal acceptance and expression?
Fashion saved my life!
Lol that sounded like something a white cis-straight vsco girl would say. Since I was a young kid, I was mesmerised by fashion. Lately I started to experiment with it through my personal style. I loved it so much because there are no rules, no limits, no labels. It was my utopia, a gate to access to my true world.
I got into the fashion industry in my early adult years. A super toxic, problematic, controversial environment to be in, but sometimes I love toxic stuff and this is one of those.
Fashion has shown the best and worst parts of me.
What inspires your edgy style and looks?
Hehe I wouldn’t say my style is edgy just queer and underground.
My style was always there since day one, it just kept developing through the years. Style is definitely not just clothes, body and attitude. Style is your DNA, ancestors, culture, family figures, traumas etc. It is a complex combination of all your experiences. I find inspiration through the pain in life.
I love to embody a fictional character while creating an outfit for example if my makeup and hair gives a futuristic vibe, in my mind I am an alien warrior princess that kills nasa cis male astronauts.
At the moment, space, marvel villains, Ancient Greece and techno culture inspires my looks!
What are your tips for exploring stylistic expression?
My tip is just be yourself, don’t be scared to do you…I am joking, I get so mad when people say stuff like that—so cliche!
I am going to be super honest with you guys. Not everyone is or can be stylish and that’s alright.
There is a confusion going on while the labels ‘stylish’ or ‘fashion icon’ are put on privileged people.
Skinny, tall, rich, white, cis, blonde and all the other privileges get confused by the society as stylish. I acknowledge some of my privileges (skinny, white) and I have asked myself if I was a person of colour or had a different body type would I still be stylish by society?
Personally, I find oppressed individuals more stylish than the privileged ones in society. The pain, lack of representation, discrimination, social exclusion maybe all those make them discover, learn and express themselves better. To the privileged people, I don’t care if you get offended by this like this is not about you.
So, any tips for exploring stylistic expression hmm…I would say to explore yourself first. Try new stuff, do a hobby, find a community, quit that damn job, struggle, cry, dance, laugh and place yourself in inspiring environments. Be selfish and listen to your needs, mind and soul! (as long as you are not physically, emotionally and spiritually hurting others.)
Where do you draw your confidence to be unapologetic and rocking your revolutionary looks in daily life?
Baby all the confidence you see is fake. You are speaking to someone that deals with all the insecurities that come with gender dysphoria.
Although most of us struggle with our own image issues, we need to not let those thoughts decrease the quality of our life whenever we can.
My coping mechanism is gaslighting myself and my surroundings into thinking I am confident and fierce hehe. To achieve this, I visualise a fictional character depending on my mood. This lessens my anxiety to be bold, as in my head I think that this is not me but this random fictional character.
If you were able to speak to your younger self what are the 3 things you would advise them?
I was a really well-behaved kid; I was literally the perfect kid a parent could have. I would advise young me to be crazier, make mistakes, have fun, go out with friends, and be naughty—you know, to be more of a kid.
Not to stress and feel pressured that much about my love or sex life. We lived for about 2 decades and still are a virgin, never had a partner and we are asexual.
Get that shot!
Do you have a message you would like to share with our readers?
Is this one of those closing interview questions where they say something meaningful and deep?
I have some things to say:
- It’s so hard to follow your dreams when you are not privileged.
- You mostly need networking to get a job.
- Beer tastes so bad.
- London and the fashion world are not glamorous at all.
- Most of the skinny models you follow struggle with body image.
- Take care of your drink when out, spiking is real.
- Everyone wants to be or be with a doll nowadays.
- There is little to no trans healthcare!
- Everyone in the fashion and the entertainment world lies and exaggerates their achievements.
- Fashion is my passion.
Written and interviewed by Konstantinos Tsagkaris
Visit the ISSUE for the complete editorial and images
Photographer Magnus Swärd @son_of_vogue
Styling Kenny Dossous @bsbksquirt
In Frame Elix Toci @elixtoci
Makeup Emily Bagdades @getyour_glamon
Art Direction Konstantinos Tsagkaris @konstantinos.tsagkaris
Assistant Art Director Filippos Vogdanis @philip.vogdanis
Article Konstantinos Tsagkaris @konstantinos.tsagkaris