Learn all about the founder behind the effortless luxury label!
Ellie Mae is a Canadian-based, effortless luxury brand with a mission to combine individuality, intentionality, and superb craftsmanship in order to create clothing designed to inspire women to express themselves. Today, HOLR is chatting with Ellie Mae to discuss the brand’s beginnings, how Ellie Mae incorporates sustainability into its practices, and what’s next for the growing label.
Tell us about yourself and how you founded your brand, Ellie Mae.
I have always had such a positive relationship with clothing. Growing up, my parents encouraged me to wear whatever whenever, so it became my form of self-expression. Because of that, I wanted to create my own pieces. I always liked the idea of doing something creative that was also filled with expression. I founded Ellie Mae after attending Central Saint Martins. Living in England, people watching became my favourite thing. Toronto needed the same amount of colour that England had.
Going direct to consumer in 2018 felt like the true start to the brand when we were able to shift our business to a process that worked better for us as a team. That was the beginning of us getting to know who our identity was as a brand.
How does Ellie Mae fuse together individuality, intentionality, and exceptional craftsmanship?
Our team does business in a unique way. We champion everyone’s individuality in the office and I find that translates to everything we do. Being authentic and transparent about our process is the most important thing for us. Fashion is a very intentional process and because we would consider ourselves slow fashion, like the farm-to-table of fashion, we want to make sure each step is done with the care it deserves.
Talk to us about the latest launches and where your inspiration for the pieces came from.
The newest collection is called Retro Vacation. It was inspired by the perfectly nostalgic vacation and the carefree attitude that comes with that feeling. Our silhouettes are heavily inspired by the 80’s and 90s with vintage elements like floral prints, bold stripes, and fun buttons to tie it all together. Texture is a big thing for us this season – the Millie cardigan is a representation of the inspiration, with the knit flower pattern, the bright colours, and the vintage style buttons.
Can you walk us through the sustainability practices being integrated into your brand’s processes?
We pride ourselves on being an ethical brand. By producing in-house, everyone is treated equally as a team and we are able to own the commitment to ensuring everyone is respected and paid well. We work to integrate sustainability into our processes in any way that we can, like making our garment bags, totes, and scrunchies out of deadstock fabric. Those pillars of the business are where our values are focused. When you are running a business, you can’t do it all, so you have to pick which things are important to you. For us, having the right people on our team to execute our vision together is the number one thing.
What’s next for Ellie Mae?
Retail was a big step for us this year as a brand. We all believe in the value of our flagship store in Summerhill and have seen that come true since opening. We hope that the future holds more than one Ellie Mae brick and mortar. Additionally, our new studio location at 100 Niagara will become a huge pillar for us. We will be opening up a showroom space at the entrance to customers in May, and our signature VW bus outside the studio will be activated throughout the year with collaborations and events.
Be sure to check out the brand’s latest campaign video here.
Published by HOLR Magazine.