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By Elleven was launched in October 2020 by stylist Rachel Evans and fashion consultant Joanne Watkinson who had a shared a passion for clothes combining top quality, ethically-sourced organic fabrics, designed with busy lifestyle in mind.
The result is an environmentally conscious brand which sits at the opposite end of the scale to high street and online fast fashion.
It’s gone on to appear in magazines including Grazia and Hello, and Rachel and Joanne have successfully built a community of like-minded fashion lovers.
Now alongside their wardrobe staples of easy-to-wear sweatshirts, T-shirts, hoodies and trackpants, the pair have teamed up with illustrator Lydia to add three unique pieces featuring her specially-commissioned Intangible Objects artwork.
“This kind of collaboration was always in our plan when we started By Elleven,” explains Joanne. “We knew we wanted to create a brand, it wasn’t about just printing logos on T-shirts, we wanted the business side of things to be plastic-free, sustainable, and more conscious, and for the quality to be better as well.
“Ours isn’t fast fashion so there isn’t newness for people to look at all the time, every week or even every day, and we’re aware of that. We realised we had to come up with content and ideas and points of interest which didn’t rely on new clothes every week.
“That meant creating a lifestyle that has its own community, so for instance once every week there’s an email that go out to all our subscribers where we highlight someone who is interesting or inspiring. It’s not all about trying to sell people something, it’s a mix of content, so we’ve featured female DJs, artists, Gabriella from Vincenzo’s; just people who we think have got an interesting job or something interesting to talk about.
“As part of that we want to collaborate with other female entrepreneurs and creatives, and Lydia is the first.”
Joanne and Rachel initially spotted Lydia’s work on the window of Cow vintage on Bold Street.
“She’s got a really recognisable style, she’s a storyteller and a lot of her stuff is in block colour which looks amazing,” says Joanne. “But then she did a line drawing at Minna on Lark Lane which was the first time we’d seen her work without the colour, we loved it and we thought it really fitted in with what we’re doing as a brand.
“We knew that we wanted our illustration to include me and Rachel in some way, and we wanted it to include By Elleven so we got in touch with her, gave her a brief and she came back with loads of amazing ideas.”
The one they chose now features on three new By Elleven pieces – a long-sleeve skater influenced top, an essential T-shirt which is their best-selling T-shirt, designed specifically for women with a longer-length sleeve, and an essential tote.
Joanne says she hopes more collaborations will happen in the future, so Liverpool independent businesses can support and promote each other.
“It’s about creating pieces that people are going to love and want in their wardrobe because there’s a lot more thought and care gone into them,” says Joanne.
“I think it’s a really special thing to wear a piece of art that someone who is super-talented like Lydia has sat down and taken the time to create. It’s not just a slogan, and it’s not one of her prints that we’ve just put on a T-shirt, it’s a commission which is only for us we feel very privileged that she’s done it.
“It’s really important to me and to Rachel that Liverpool and what’s happening here gets the recognition that it deserves. Even though it is a hub and a hive of creativity, it still doesn’t really get as much credit for that as it should.
“I genuinely believe we’ve got some of the most incredible talent but it can easily get lost in the high street landscape. We’ve got great independents here but there isn’t enough championing of it, to showcase it within the city, so it is important that these kinds of collaborations happen.”
By Dawn Collinson
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