The rising fashion star who lives her passion and loves her Frenchie.
BY THE GET LEASHED DOGGY STYLE TEAM
If they say that blondes have more fun, then that statement certainly rings true here. Meet Ellie Mae and her pooch Clay Bieber. Not only does he have a last name that’s easily recognizable but he’s also utterly adorable and ridiculously handsome. Move over Justin. This heartbreaker has got a whole lot of swagger that could make any girl’s heart turn to mush.
Besides being refreshingly charming, with a personality larger than life and a smile that can go on for days, Ellie Mae is also the founder of a Toronto-based brand – a line of fashion forward jackets and outerwear that is inspired by Rock’n’Roll. This musical influence not only conveyed in cool details such as grommets, studs, and beading, but also in the song quotes that are printed on the inner lining of her designs. After launching her brand early this Spring, Ellie Mae took the fashion world by storm when Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau — wife of Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau — stepped out wearing the ‘Yazmin’ jacket at the Canada 2020 reception in Washington, DC.
Recently, our Fashion & Style team visited Ellie Mae Studios in Toronto, Canada, to catch up with the trendsetting designer and her adorable Frenchie.
First of all, you both look fabulous! Can you tell us a bit about a typical work day?
It has only been a year and a half since Ellie Mae came to life so every single day is always different which works very well for me because I would describe myself as organized chaos. I prefer coming into work and doing whatever needs to be done instead of planning out my day. My favorite part about my day is getting to work with the team of people that took the chance with me to help me go after my dreams. They are all beyond talented and teach me something new on a daily basis. This job is a constant learning experience and I don’t believe that will ever stop; it makes me fall in love with what I do all over and over again.
How did Clay come into your life, and what’s the story behind the name?
I found Clay through a service called Puppy Spot and they name all the dogs when they put them online. Clay’s name online was Clay and I fell in love with him as soon as I saw his photo. When I met him, I couldn’t imagine calling him anything else so it ended up sticking. I named him Clay Bieber because I was going through a very strong Justin Bieber phase, which after his most recent album, has started again.
We know your days are very full, but what do you make time for on weekends?
An ideal weekend for me would include catching up on all my Real Housewives and Shark Tank episodes that I missed during the week. Taking Clay Bieber to the Brickworks for a nice walk and stopping in at either Cafe Belong or the Soho House for breakfast with some of my girlfriends to talk complete nonsense. If my nights include my favorite people, I never care what we do or where we go as long as we are together.
In a few words, how would you describe your style?
Vintage music tees, ripped jeans, and Chloe Susanna boots. This is basically my uniform.
What inspired you to start your business?
My family is my inspiration. I come from a family of dreamers who have always encouraged and supported my business ventures. They give me the ability to believe anything I dream is attainable.
The lyric quotes inside your jackets are really special. Was music always an influence for you?
I don’t know life without music. I grew up with my dad playing music in every room or car ride my sister and I were ever in. I was maybe 5 when he took me to my first concert which was Bette Middler! I have never been able to function without it, therefore music goes hand and hand with my design process. I listen to music to get inspiration for jackets and the quotes inside are able to give people more of an emotional connection to the garment.
How did you switch from jewelry to clothing design? What would you tell someone who’s thinking of shifting career gears?
I had always wanted to get into clothing design but Jewelry was such an amazing creative outlet for me and a great way for me to understand business. After living in England and taking short courses for fashion at Central Saint Martins, I knew I needed to come home and put fourth everything I had learned. My advice for anyone shifting careers would be to do it if you can’t stop thinking about it. Going after your dreams is hard; it’s why so few people take the risk but I have been living mine for a little over a year now and I have never looked back.
What’s been the most exciting moment of your career ?
The most exciting moment so far would have to be when Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau wore one of our Spring 16 Jackets while attending an event in Washington. It was such an honor for all of us here at Ellie Mae and a very surreal moment for me when I first saw her in it. We are all so grateful to be a part of what she has been doing for Canadian designers.
Looking ahead to Fall 2016, what’s one trend we should all be watching for?
Keep your eye out for oversized jackets done in warm tones with a lot of texture. Texture is big for 2016, you will want to touch and feel everything.
With a name like Clay Beiber, we imagine your pup has quite the personality. Can you leave us with one story about him?
When Clay was a puppy and we had to travel with him in his crate, he always cried the entire time. I learned very quickly that if I played certain Country singers in the car he would stop crying. Every time I leave the apartment now, I always make sure to leave the Country station on so he has something to listen to while I’m out. We have been connected in more ways than one ever since I picked him up from the airport but when the music incident happened, I knew he was meant to be my dog.
Ellie Mae is currently available at Riant Boutique and Carbon in Toronto. For more information, visit elliemaestudios.com
Follow her on Instagram @ elliemaestudios