Australian born, Parisian based, Italian made, luxury fashion designer Kym Ellery has become a hugely coveted brand, internationally recognised with cult status. ELLERY creates signature styles that transcend time, and carries a distinct DNA across every piece created in every collection.
Kym talks eloquently and candidly with X-Files about how she is managing during this strange and unprecedented time in Paris, and her hopes for the future.
How has this crisis affected you?
Professionally.. I have been based in Paris for some time now and design the ELLERY collections here. We then work in Italy to create the garments. I would normally be in Italy right now working with the atelier, instead we have had to think of a new way to work and I am passing all of the designs via video call. The Italian team have remained incredibly positive given the situation. They have really been focusing on the future and coming out of it instead of being in it which I greatly admire.
Personally.. I feel a lot closer to my family and friends, even though they are far and we are unable to see each other in person it is so nice to have time to be present and speak with them regularly. I realise now how busy life became and want to focus on changing that in the future.
Philosophically.. Sometimes it is easy to fall into a dark place mentally during such a challenging moment but I try and keep my chin up and focus on what we can change for the better. There is no point worrying about the things that are not in our control.
How will you navigate this crisis?
Professionally.. I have been overwhelmed by the feeling of community in the last few weeks. Brands are banding together, sharing each other’s experience, contacts and knowledge and also helping one other support the community in assisting with the shortage of medical supplies. As an outsider it is easy to think that the fashion industry is fluffy but at a time like this it is encouraging to see the power of supply chain when it is pivoted to something as critical as this so that tomorrow can be a better day.
Personally.. Every dollar that you spend is a vote for the change that you want to see in the world. Support the businesses that you believe in, buy your food from the small grocers over the large conglomerates and choose quality over quantity every single time.
Philosophically.. In France they have a saying 'Vivre d’amour et d’eau fraîche’. It means that you need nothing more than love and fresh water to live. This expression tends to be used to describe the start of a relationship but during this time I like to think about it in a more literal sense.
What changes to your life will you make as a result of this experience?
Professionally.. I will continue to work on bringing as many additional sustainable aspects to ELLERY as I can beyond being a slow fashion brand. We encourage investing in pieces for long term use but now that the science of sustainable raw materials is quickly evolving and becoming more available for brands to access I can’t wait to bring these items into our collections more.
Personally.. Spend more time on my art. During Isolation I have been taking painting lessons with the talented female Australian Artist Dagmar Cyrulla. She is teaching me so much and I am excited to show the work in a small exhibition once the isolation is over and then auction to works for charity. Watch this space :)
Philosophically.. I will attend the philosophical school of Epicureanism, the main goal, to attain a happy, tranquil life, characterised by the absence of pain and fear, through the cultivation of friendship and freedom.
What advice do you have for your peers?
Professionally.. Take this moment as an opportunity to reevaluate everything.
Personally.. Put down your phone and look up at the beautiful sky! Also read a book, or even better, lots of books.
Philosophically.. Be the change that you want to see in the world.
If you can use this period as a turning point, name one New Year’s resolution type change you will realistically implement to each of the following aspects of your life:
Professionally.. I am passionate about change and change in the fashion industry. It is not a new idea for us to try and find a way to make this machine work better - be smarter, stronger and more sustainable on so many levels. This crisis is no different, it is just another accent showing us what the priorities should be.
Personally.. I want to dedicate time to help women get back into the work force, close the pay gap and encourage open and honest conversations about these issues in the community. We cannot rely on others to make the changes that we want to see - we have to do it ourselves.
Philosophically.. My mother sent me a TED talk by Dr. Libby Weaver to listen to. She also chased me about twelve times to check that I had seen it *laughs. When I finally got around to watching it I understood why my mum thought that it was so important. In the talk Dr. Libby Weaver speaks about what she calls 'rushing women’s syndrome’. Basically today as females, especially mothers, we are expected to do the job of three people. Realising that you can never please everyone is key and I must say, I completely agree. In life it is impossible to always be perfect and to make everyone else happy. I then thought about my role as a designer. Of course I am not saving lives, but I want each day to work to enrich other people's lives. My goal has always been to create the tools, the armour that women need to get up each day and be who they want to be, and make them feel good and beautiful in the process.
Shop our selection of ELLERY at Parlour X.