We recently sat down with Ryan and Natalie to get the scoop on all things Elsie & Fred. We asked them all sorts of questions and captured studio life for you to have a peak at …. Full interview below!
What does a day at Elsie and Fred studio look like?
RYAN: A day in Elsie & Fred is bright and loud. Normally annoying our office neighbours with anything from Fleetwood Mac to Notorious B.I.G (Singing & Rapping Inc.) Our office doubles up as our studio so it can be anything from days of social media to pattern cutting and sewing to dropping down the backdrop and shooting for the day
Where do you get inspiration from?
NATALIE: We travel a lot which is great for inspiration, you never know what kinds of treasure you will come across. The inspiration for our AW15 collection came from a picture of a showgirl dancer we stumbled across on instagram. We knew as soon as we saw her she was our winter look- luckily we found what must be the world’s biggest sequin store the same week so our fate was sealed.
What’s coming up for Autumn/Winter?
RYAN: Think sequins, gems and party wear. We are working working a new manufacturer that is currently honing the final touches to our key pieces and we’re super excited! For everything else you will have to wait until our collection launches.
What’s the biggest challenge you have faced so far?
NATALIE: We are still so new to online selling that just the unknown is the most challenging part of the business. Timing stock drops. stock levels, sourcing, shooting, finding our identity and our place on the huge selling platform that is the internet. We’re getting there- every month a lesson is learnt.
How did Elsie and Fred and start?
RYAN: Natalie owned a women’s boutique in Coventry called GladRags, I (Ryan) was managing a bar in Coventry at the time when we decided to come together and create a unisex clothing line that we could incorporate everything we loved to make a brand itself. The name Elsie and Fred of course, recycled from our Nan and Granddad which Nanny Elsie cannot get her head around.
What’s the best advice you have been given?
RYAN: The wise owl Father Haynes continuously reminds us to enjoy it and remember why we’re doing what we’re doing. When you enjoy it, the ideas flow and it becomes a lot easier to gel as a group. I think when you step back and take a look at how lucky you are to be doing what you are it becomes a lot of fun.
NATALIE: Never forget that you are lucky to be doing what you’re doing. ~My Dad
What’s the best thing about working for yourself?
RYAN: Gratification of getting something right I think, It’s on you; so when we gamble on a dress/top that you can visualise working on the models and it pays off it’s an instant YAAASSSSS you know? I must say I also enjoy cooking full gourmet lunches in the middle of the day just because you can. Plus you’re never late.
NATALIE: When you work for yourself your work IS your life which for some people sounds awful, and there are days I wish I could just switch off- actually that is a lie I don’t really want to switch off, I’ve created a life around my work that I love. Working is never ‘going to work’ it’s just doing what I do and I don’t have ‘Monday Blues’- it’s worth it just for that.
RYAN: It always comes back to the fresh prince
NATALIE: My mum. She was a chic and stylish seventies diva
Place you would most like to visit?
RYAN: New Orleans- Bourbon Street for, well, Bourbon, Soul Food & Jazz in seedy bars
NATALIE: So many places I want to see but if you had to pin me down to one Mozambique.
Most loved item in your wardrobe/piece you can’t live without?
RYAN: Some woolen high waisted trousers that I can rely on when having a disaster
NATALIE: I don’t think there is a day that goes by without my Elsie & Fred elephant embellished leather jacket on my back.
Desert island three items?
RYAN: Frank my Jackuhuahua, My camera with a (yet to be made, infinite battery) and a hamper of white beer and gin. My contraband would be a pen and paper to get Tom Hanks and Wilsons’ autographs.
NATALIE:A vat of red wine, full kindle, bucket of wasabi peas. These items may not save me from certain death but at least I’ll die happy.
Favourite decade for fashion?
RYAN: 1920’s- Classic never dies.
NATALIE:70’s. And I still have a huge soft spot for 90’s does 70’s because that was when I was just getting into fashion.
Leather or denim?
RYAN: Woah. um. dependent on mood. I’m going to go denim for versatility, but I don’t mean that answer. LENIM, not the bad Russian kind.