UKFT Rise – Founder Feature with Ellipsis
Meet Nicole Christie, 26, founder of Ellipsis, a luxury womenswear brand with sustainable values that specialises in creating sophisticated and timeless pieces.
Read Nicole’s feature with UKFT Rise below:
Company launched in: 2020
My background is… I am a First Class BA Hons Fashion Design & Production Graduate. After graduating I became one of four Scottish Modern Artisans for Yoox Net-a-Porter and The Princes Foundation. Yoox Net-a-Porter Group teamed up with The Princes Foundation on a collection of Menswear and Womenswear, that debuted in 2020. The partnership, which is known as the Modern Artisan Project, unites students and graduates from Scotland and Italy. The collection was manufactured by ourselves and sold globally across Net-a-Porter and featured in Vogue UK, Elle US and many other international articles.
I decided to start my business because… after graduating from University I found it difficult to find a Fashion graduate job in Scotland. There were many opportunities down south, so I decided I wanted to create my own in Scotland and hopefully be able to give others opportunities here one day.
Something that really helped in getting my business off the ground is…The Modern Artisan, the experience bridged the gap between education and industry strengthening skills to design and manufacture garments to high-end luxury standards. Sustainability was at the core of the partnership, educating the importance of sustainability within the fashion industry. The skills and importance of sustainability have greatly influenced Ellipsis.
An area of business I’d like to gain more knowledge of is that… I would love to be able to grade my own patterns, it’s the only stage in the process of creating the garment myself I outsource.
Three important qualities for an entrepreneur are…
- Never say no, every opportunity you will learn something new, be inspired and possibly spark something in you to create something even more wonderful.
- Think outside the box.
- Take step backs as challenges.
A UKFT Rise subscriber I find inspiring would be… all of them! If I had to choose, I love the ‘Ethical Kind‘ concept of being able to wear their pieces day to night. It’s another way to be more sustainable with our wardrobes buying versatile pieces. Reading more about Ethical Kind founder Lily Chong, I feel I can relate to her appreciation for craftsmanship and the use of luxurious fabrics.
Something happening in the industry that’s inspiring me right now is… the conversation surrounding sustainability is getting louder.
A change I’d like to see in the industry would be… for more people to join the conversation surrounding sustainability.
Can you elaborate on the inspiration in your work?
My collection “all barre one”, was inspired by my previous dance training background, the collection features ties, gathering, flashes of skin and most importantly capturing the fluidity of movement echoed by the body in the delicate luxurious fabrics inspired by dance. The hairbands within the collection have been crafted from off-cuts of Silk fabric that would once be discarded. This echoes Ellipsis’s mission in sustainability by giving this luxurious fabric a new life. All the garments within the collection have been manufactured in 100% Silk sourced within the UK.
What are your achievements and how have they shaped your career?
The Modern Artisan was a first of its kind collaboration between The Princes Foundation collaboration and Yoox Net-a-Porter – championed by HRH The Prince of Wales. The partnership, which is known as the Modern Artisan Project, united students and recent graduates from Scotland and Italy. Celebrating the marriage of artisanal textile and data-driven design expertise with high-end sustainable manufacturing at its heart, which was supported through the process of designing, manufacturing and bringing to market a luxury Autumn/Winter capsule collection.
The Modern Artisan bridged the gap between University and Industry. Whilst in Education it is difficult to perfect a wide variety of technical skills to a high standard within a short time frame. The programme gave me the opportunity to excel in my skill set to a luxury standard that I would carry throughout the rest of my career. With no sewing skills before education and with direct entry into third year of College, I believe I lost an important foundation of skill sets. The Modern Artisan was exactly what I needed. A chance to understand how to work with fabrics and not against them. The collection was featured in VOGUE, Elle US and other international media.
February 2022, I had the honour to present Ellipsis to His Royal Highness Prince Charles, Camilla Duchess of Cornwall and Kate Duchess of Cambridge. It was the most surreal and incredible experience and I was humbled I was able to gift both the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duchess of Cambridge with a handmade Silk Ellipsis bag along with a Silk hair accessory for Princess Charlotte. When the images hit the media, Ellipsis just exploded, I couldn’t believe what was happening. The demand went international. I had to open up shipping across Europe, America and Australia. The most humbling experience was a woman in France asking for the exact colour of scrunchie I gifted Princess Charlotte so her little ballerina could match.
I define sustainability as… garments made for a purpose, not made for the masses, made to be loved and cared for.
Do you have any exciting news to share for 2022?
Ellipsis was 1 of 20 to be shortlisted in the Creative Scotland Crowdmatch initiative. My project is to start a new and exciting area of the business called “Make It Yourself”. My plan is to create boxes containing pre-cut fabric and fastenings for you to create the item of your choice. The boxes will allow you access to an online Make it Yourself community, with step by step tutorials, as well as a help and advice forum. Giving individuals the opportunity to connect with like-minded people and share their love of sewing. “Make it Yourself” aims to create a safe space to ask questions and get inspired by others. With a variety of different items to choose from the boxes are available to all ages and levels of sewers, especially beginners. Having all you need to Make it Yourself in one box.
Ellipsis Crowdfunder achieved the target and raised £7600, which will allow me to start this new area of the business Make It Yourself September this year. I am very humbled that people believed in me and supported me in this new journey.