By Meg Sharpley
Ellie Mae is being hailed as the “Canadian designer to watch” for 2016, with the likes of Sophie Trudeau rocking her fabulous designs. As an inspiration to fashion gurus and young women, Fashion Weekly got to learn more about the girl behind the beautiful jackets and we are sharing all the details with you!
FW: How did you get started in the fashion industry?
EM: I was 26 when I attended Central St. Martins school of design. It was an amazing experience to be able to attend such a respected school and learn all the fundamental tools required to start my own business. Once I came home from London I knew I wanted to start my own jacket collection, I love jackets… I started with a small assortment and quickly realized I wanted to dive into it and expand into a full jacket collection. We started with just a few of us and we’ve been able to watch it grow from day one. It feels surreal.
FW: Where do you gather your inspiration from?
EM: My inspiration comes from many facets, living in London really helped shape the inspiration for my first collection and it certainly plays into affect when designing Fashion Week and upcoming collections.
FW: How did you feel about debuting your first collection at Fashion Week?
EM: Having a fashion show was always a dream of mine, I just didn’t expect it to happen to soon. The feeling of watching our jackets come to life on the runway is truly one of those feelings you rarely get to have.
FW: Tell us about your feelings upon finding out that the “first lady” of
Canada, Sophie Trudeau, has been spotted wearing your designs, not once, but multiple times on the world stage?
EM: I was very humbled to see Sophie wearing our jackets! It’s an honour to be supported by such an amazing woman. She looks great in our jackets and we hope to continue to work with her!
FW: How has your brand exposure been affected by Sophie Trudeau’s adorning of your jackets?
EM: We have been very fortunate to have the support of Sophie Trudeau. It has helped elevate our brand to the public eye and with it being our first year, it has created some wonderful press and helped in expanding our brand across Canada.
FW: Do you hope to branch out from jackets or keep this niche market?
EM: Right now, I am sticking to jackets, but you never know what could happen. I like to introduce new commodities to my collections ever season, we added hats for Fashion Week and they were very popular!
FW: Where can we purchase your collection and when do you plan to debut your
EM: You can currently purchase our collection from Toronto to Vancouver and in the United States as well. We are working on the launch of our online store for our Fashion Week season.
FW: You just launched your brand in 2015, how has this past year been for you?
EM: The last year has been very challenging, it’s a never ending journey of learning. I
feel as if there is always something new to learn, no matter how much you think you
may know. Balancing work and life is always a challenge but you make it work;
growing a new business requires a lot of attention and I knew that when I decided I
wanted to start.
FW: Did you expect to find this much success right off the bat?
EM: I don’t think anyone expects to find success, it’s always a nice reality if you’re
lucky enough to have some. I feel very fortunate to be as well received as we have
been in our first season.
FW: Tell us a little bit of how you got to where you are today.
EM: When I went to school in London, I knew that I wanted to design my own jacket
collection. After I created my first small collection I dove right into it. It started with Lily (our designer) and myself working out of my apartment and grew the team from there!
FW: What are your short and long term goals for the brand?
EM: Short term, I’d just like for the love of our collection to continue. Long term, of
course I would like to have global growth and like I said earlier, perhaps other
FW: What obstacles have you encountered on your road to success?
EM: There are many obstacles in every industry you are in, mine would be entering the marketplace. It’s not easy to create a name for yourself, all of that takes a lot of
time and I think we have been fortunate to of had all the support we have this early
into the journey.
FW: How would you describe the style of your brand? How does it differ (or
does it differ) from your own personal style?
EM: Ellie Mae is for any age, someone who likes to enjoy her wardrobe. She likes her
jacket to be the highlight of her outfit, as do I, and she isn’t afraid to try new prints and bodies. She’s always looking for something new and something different, as am I. The jacket is the most important part of her wardrobe, as it is mine.
FW: What advice would you give to others looking to enter the fashion industry?
EM: Wither you’re a woman or a man, I would always say that it’s an uphill battle until it isn’t and there is always a learning curve. I would say that you have to have
faith in that it will work out, there will always be obstacles on your journey but don’t let them stop you from following through on your dreams!