Almost 7 years ago this journey of EllieFunDay started. It started with a dream of using a blanket to empower a marginalized woman. A woman that I met that needed a job to support her family so that they could have the basic necessities to survive; food, water, education, healthcare. All the things that we may take for granted.
What some of you don’t know is that the dream wasn’t just about a blanket, but a full lifestyle of items that would embody the ethos of “handcrafted for life”.
Which means :
So this Spring I’m super excited and proud to share with you a collection that I’ve been dreaming about, literally.
To back up a bit I do need to share with you my backstory of how I even arrived at this point. I honestly have been fighting a lot of self-doubt. Voices in my head that said, “What makes you think you can win against these giants that have millions of customers that can churn out clothing effortlessly and sell it for less? You don’t have what it takes to make this happen.” Truly a discouraging voice to have. But from the words of Theodore Roosevelt brought back to life through Brene Brown,
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”
Daring Greatly means you gotta try and be ok with failure and pick yourself back up quickly. So I sent out a small cry for confirmation to the universe and said, "If you want me to design clothing, I need some mannequins!"
The same night I get a text from a friend that notified me that the Art Institute of San Francisco was closing down and that they had an auction selling all of their goods. I quickly checked the auction site, and low and behold, they had 2 lots of dress forms being sold! I started to bid on both but lost the one that was selling the full-size set. I only ended up with 2 from the auction. Slightly bummed I didn’t get the whole size set, I went to pick up my forms. At pick up, I decided to ask the person managing the auction if he knew if there were any extra dress forms left and to my surprise, he said there probably was buried in this mess of a backroom full of extra tables and computers. I eagerly bounded up to the mess of the room packed to the gills full of old office equipment and wires everywhere and lo and behold a whole set of dress forms were there for my choosing. That day, I came home with 7 dress forms all for under $1000.
If that wasn’t a miracle, I don’t know what is.
And so this is where this mommy and me collection began. From a place of fear now into hope.
As with trying anything, I thought we’d try some of the simplest silhouettes with our most loved pigment collection organic double weave muslin. We’ve had a ton of requests from all of our customers asking for items in their size!
The Maxi Dress: I love comfy dresses. Something flowy, feminine, and breathable that someone could wear easily to the park, cafe, beach, brunch and look effortlessly fabulous. Pockets always are a must to store any snacks, your phone etc. (lots of inspiration from Gemma Chan’s giant pink Oscar’s dress with pockets!). What I think you’ll love about this dress is it’s adjustable for many sizes. The drawstring straps can be shortened to fit more petit women (like my marketing director, Paula) and loosened for taller and larger women. It’s wide to accommodate a growing baby belly (or food baby ;). And if you like to dress it up, you can belt it for more definition at the waist.
I’m a beach/wannabe-surfer-girl so this is perfect for those days I need a lovely cover-up to transition from beach to a nice dinner. (Plus it's so roomy, I can easily do my quick change under it!
For the nursing momma, the front tie is fabulous for easy access to feed your baby.
It’s also great if you like to layer during the Spring months, throw a chambray shirt over it, or even a denim or leather jacket and voila, instant chic. Or you can try a fitted tee under it for the throwback 90s look that we all loved with our spaghetti strapped dress. This will be a sure staple to your effortless spring/summer wardrobe. (Secret styling tip: you can also wear the tie in the back and have the front be nice and clean, we discovered this when our intern, Hannah tried it on backwards without knowing and it looked fabulous!)
The Ruffle Neck Dress: We love the look of this ruffle neck dress paired with the Maxi dress. Now littles can match their mommas. As a little girl, my mom sewed me a dress for my birthday to match hers. It had spaghetti straps and I remember her trying to turn those straps around after sewing it with a chopstick. I was so proud to match my momma. As always we’ve included pockets for all the little bits and bobs your little will find on her many adventures. This easy dress will be sure to be a favorite for your little’s adventures.
Kimono Jacket in Organic Double Gauze Cotton: Your wish has now been granted friends! Our most loved kimono tops are now in big people sizes! Each one of our team members has tried this on and has decided it’s like wearing a snuggly blanket all day long. Now who wouldn’t want that? It comes in all our favorite colors with pockets! See them here.
Kimono Jacket in Organic Cotton Canvas: The spring layer of your dreams. When I designed this jacket, I wanted to make sure it had a lovely fit at the shoulders to accommodate the potential of sweaters underneath. I also knew again…pockets, great big ones. (Notice a theme here? I’ve always been annoyed at women’s wear that had teeny tiny pockets) These slant pockets can fit a small child, or puppy. 🙂 But it comes in handy when you don’t want to be carrying a purse and just need to keep things light. I can’t wait for you to all try this as it’s such a versatile piece that has an amazing cost per wear. Paired with a turtle neck, jeans and boots, it’s perfect for the spring transition. Then when the weather warms up a lacey camisole and breezy pants looks super chic for a brunch party. They come in two lengths!
I’d love to see how you’ve styled it! Tag us in #elliefundaystyle We’ll be choosing a winner every month to win a $50 gift certificate to our shop!
Some side thoughts: I’ve thought about the history of the kimono and there have been many discussions about cultural attribution when one uses certain terms. I’ve consulted my friends that are Japanese about the word “kimono'. It has become a fashion term now loosely associated with the original kimono dress. The origin of the kimono was a ceremonial piece of clothing worn by women in Japan for special occasions. There is an art to wearing a kimono with it’s many layers of specific knots for the obi. To be specific the silhouette that we’ve designed is more like the Japanese Haori which is a looser layer worn in more casual settings. In order to help with ease of finding our items we have decided to use the term kimono as an homage to the original. We hope that in no way or form we are paying any disrespect to the origin of this term. We hope everyone comes to cherish their modern day versions of the kimono that will be used and loved with care just like the original.
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