Our second addition to the #BritishDesignHub is one of Lucia's all time faves, providing luxury loungewear and beautiful day dresses; it's Yolke! Read on for our exclusive interview with founder, Ella and for your chance to win TROY and Yolke goodies worth more than £350.
From the ways Yolke has adapted in light of Covid 19 to their highly anticipated homeware range, we sat down with Ella to discuss all the highs and lows of being a mother and a business owner and how she envisions the future for this brilliant British brand.
YOLKE was founded at about the same time as TROY and we have enjoyed our journey alongside you. It doesn’t feel like so long ago that you, Anna, myself and Lucia met for a coffee in Holland Park to share ideas in the early stages of forming our brands. YOLKE is now known around the world for beautiful sleepwear and day wear.
How have you found the ride?
I found out I was pregnant the day we launched so it has been a juggle ever since of ups and downs. It has been quite an empowering lesson for me post babies to do this solo; You have to take chances and believe in yourself not to mention working all hours of the day but I enjoy it and my darling husband supports me, I couldn’t have got this far without him.
Having founded your brand on a stretch silk sleepwear, you have expanded into sustainably sourced linens and viscose for your new day wear collection. How important is sustainability to your brand today?
A few years ago it was almost impossible to source sustainable fabrics for a price we could incorporate into our pricing with wholesale margins. Luckily today our suppliers are going above and beyond to work sustainability into their business models and the fabrics they are coming up with are incredible. Its not all straightforward and we are far from the end result but each step is a step in the right direction.
We understand you have exciting new collections for children ‘Little YOLKE’ and homewares, tell us more!
The homewares has been such an exciting venture this year. It started because we were looking to use up our excess fabric ensuring nothing went to waste but with the addition of linen dresses we thought it would be heaven to have a tablecloth that matched your dress. Picnic blankets and silk cushions all made in the UK are coming soon.
The Children’s collections are expanding into more styles, little dressing gowns, summer nighties and beach coverups.
We love the florals we see in your current collection, where to do you look for inspiration?
I love looking through old print archives, postcard collections and botanical books I find in charity shops, I have so many now.
We have had a very tough few months with Covid-19, how have you managed?
Its been an exercise in adaptation. Our business has been incredibly busy but as a team of 2 without the usual part time help we have been working very long hours adapting to the new normal. We have found new ways to shoot, reaching out to our family of Yolke Girls around the world to shoot content for us. With so many people online there is a lot of opportunity to work with people on a quicker turnaround of content which has been really exciting. Rather than working on a project for 6 months collabs are turning around in a matter of weeks. The fact that more of our business these days is DTC has helped as we’ve been able to launch limited runs using up stock fabrics which has been fun for us and our customers.
Your designs have been worn by some fabulously stylish women, how important is ambassadorship in getting your brand out to fresh audiences?
Its very important for us to have a family of amazing women representing Yolke. Not just the models we cast in our campaigns but for our audience to see the clothes on real women, women we feel inspired by.
Have there been any particular high moments in building the business that you recall? Equally what has been the toughest?
Our SS20 collection had been one I’ve been most proud of with the shoot on Hampstead Heath with India, Tijana & Franzi one I will never forget.
The toughest moment was when HSBC withdrew their loan the day before our production arrived last year for no reason. I had to borrow a lot of money from friends and family we are still paying back. I have never been so stressed nor worried for the business but I wont make the mistake of putting all my eggs in a banks basket again!
Do you feel that being British is important to your branding and designs, or do you see yourself as more international in outlook?
Although I’m born here my father is Swedish and my mother half Canadian so I would say I have more of an international outlook but with a love of English flowers which find their way into every collection I design.
How would you define your personal style?
Hard to pinpoint but I feel most comfortable in shirts and skirts. I love vintage dresses and old waistcoats. Anything ruffled, quilted, floral or smocked.
You picked out the Cape Collar shirt as your favourite TROY piece, why was that?
There is nothing better than putting on a crisp white shirt especially when most of my wardrobe is floral.
If you weren’t a fashion designer, what would you be?
I’d love to be a chef but it doesn’t come naturally. Lockdown has taught me that.. and my poor family!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?
"There is nothing better than putting on a crisp white shirt..."
Simply enter your details below and the winner will be randomly selected on Tuesday 14th July.