Who is it? London-based brand ELLISS only launched in June of last year, but has crafted a strong and appealing identity since its inception. Designer Elliss Solomon started her eponymous line after studying Womenswear Fashion Design at Central Saint Martins with a firm focus on clothes with a conscience. She wanted to “manufacture within the same building that we design in, using natural and recycled materials” and “creating as little waste as possible,” she tells AnOther. Her aim was always to make women to feel “comfortable, sassy, quiet,” she explains – an aim that endures as the brand expands into ready-to-wear with discreetly luxurious fleece sweaters and velour track pants.
“The brand is continuously evolving,” Solomon explains. “The first collection was an exploration of womanhood; the vulnerability of being a girl and finding your place in the world – the brand is growing with the woman.” Firmly threaded through ELLISS’ identity is the notion of “unconscious clothing”: “a play on the idea of the conscious consumer; the women who buy our clothes may not be looking for something eco-friendly, but choose to buy a piece because of the design – to be unconsciously conscious,” Solomon explains. While the core pieces – beautifully simple (and sustainable) lingerie, printed T-shirts and elegant bodies – are mainstays of ELLISS, Solomon has just introduced swimwear “made from recycled ocean plastics” too. Considered and covetable, and flying high on our wishlist.
Why do I want it? With her third collection, Solomon’s references ranged from 19th century Polish poet and activist Maria Konopnicka – “I am inspired by women who spoke out before others would,” she says – to beauty ideals and summer holidays. Imagery has long been an important aspect of Solomon’s approach, and this season is no different; the lookbook, shown exclusively here, was shot by Amanda Camenisch in the style of documentary photography, with Solomon riffing on the hyperreal sculptures of Duane Hanson and Martin Parr’s tongue-in-cheek photographs to “document the glamour in a more static and controlled form”. The shots do feel spontaneous, yet stylised: a glance into the elegant everyday of three women – all related to each other in actuality too – as they recline, read and simply exist in ELLISS pieces. “The clothes are sophisticated but not typically glamorous – I like how this brings normality to the world that we created,” Solomon explains. “The girls are stripped back with only glimpses of this other world that they are consumed by. The world of glamour, desire and consumption.”
It’s here, in ideas about desire and consumption, that ELLISS looks to commonplace notions of beauty and glamour – hinted at through the styling of some looks with pink strappy heels, or the toting of substantial shopping bags in others. Solomon considers “why women aspire to look a certain way,” she says, something that manifests in some of the prints, which comprise of found imagery that has been collaged and “distorted and rearranged and remade”. Said prints are rendered in grey tones and have been treated just enough, so that they are graphic without being in-your-face.