Sublime: What inspired you to set up elliot. organics?
Alex Elliot: I’d actually been thinking about launching my own range for about ten years before I finally did it. I’ve had the opportunity to design for both luxury brands and high street names. I loved designing for the high end labels - I’ve always valued quality fabrics and production - and designing for high street was fun too, in a different way. Faster and more on trend. But it was working for a fast fashion retailer that really pushed me to launch elliot. I couldn’t align my personal beliefs with some of the practices I was seeing. I needed to do something that allowed me to get back in touch with the things I really valued, and that would help inspire change in the fashion industry.
S: What’s the ethos behind your brand?
AE: It’s pretty simple: high quality, timeless design. To create garments that last and improve with age, and that don’t damage the environment in their production.
S: Could you tell us about the benefits of wearing organic clothing?
AE: We think about what we put into our bodies - we know it’s important to eat good food and think about where and how that food was sourced. It’s really not a big step on from that, to be thinking about what we put next to our skin. Organic clothing is made from cotton that is grown without harmful chemicals and pesticides, which benefits the planet but also us, as the end consumer. If the cotton we wear has been grown organically, it doesn’t contain any harmful irritants or toxins. It’s kind to our skin and to the planet - and it really does feel better. It’s lighter, breathes better and feels cleaner. Your skin will tell you!
S: What’s the process of creating an elliot. organics garment, from start to finish?
AE: I have pieces in my wardrobe that I’ve worn until they’re pretty much falling apart. I find I buy virtually the same thing, in a slightly new variation, over and over. So elliot. is about taking those pieces and remaking them to be the best they can be. Style, cut, fit, fabric, and trims all have to be perfect, because each piece is made to last. We want you to love them as much as we do, and we want you to want to wear them every day. They are understated and timeless, and because of that each design is supremely versatile - they’re intended to be worn at home, in the office, on a night out - to be the building blocks for every outfit you wear. They’re investment pieces, made to be loved.
S: Have you come across any challenges in the market when focusing on ethical fashion?
AE: Absolutely. It’s harder to find fabric, to get trims, to select packaging. Everything has to be checked and edited, and sometimes it means making a choice between being ethically and environmentally sound, and getting the product right. We’re not perfect, but we’re making the best choices we can to create the best product we can, and we’re pretty happy with what we’ve achieved so far. Consumers want to feel like they’re making good choices; we want them to know that if they shop with us, the ethical and environmental issues are taken care of - all they have to do is choose some great product.
S: What’s your go-to product from your range?
AE: That’s a tricky one - I love them all. Can I cheat and choose two? The first would be our Annie Tank. It took a long time to develop and it’s deceptively simple: long in the body so you never have any uncomfortable gaps or riding up, low enough at the front to feel sexy without revealing too much. The organic cotton makes it super soft and breathable, so it’s warm in winter and cool in the summer. And it washes really well! No twisting or pilling. It’s just a great, super comfortable, all-round piece. The second has to be our Bettie Short. Again, we spent a really long time getting the cut and the fit right. It might look like a basic, but it’s really flattering on all body shapes. It’s our best seller, and with good reason - it’s both super comfortable and quietly sexy; it covers enough while still looking hot (we’ve been getting great feedback on that aspect right from the start) and that’s just the combination we want: sophisticated, understated style.
S: Do you have any plans for the future of your brand?
AE: The coronavirus pandemic has been a terrible shock for everyone, but it’s also been a great opportunity for us to slow down and take stock. elliot. was taking off pretty fast before the shutdown, so we’ve been able to look at how far we’ve come in a short space of time (we only launched in November last year) and appreciate that. We’ve seen what’s working for us and how we can build on those areas, and identified elements that were developing in haste but maybe aren’t where we want to be ultimately. We’ve also selected our next edit of favourite pieces - without giving too much away, loungewear is big on our radar right now. Watch this space.