Almost 7 years ago this journey of EllieFunDay began. It started with a dream of using a blanket to empower a marginalized woman. A woman that I met needed a job to support her family so that they could have the basic necessities to survive; food, water, education, and healthcare. These are all things that we often 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” and empowering women everywhere.
This means :
So this Spring I’m super excited and proud to share with you a collection that has been in the works for quite a while.
Let's back up a bit. To be transparent, I have been fighting a lot of self-doubt recently. Voices in my head that said, “What makes you think you can stand out among these huge companies that have millions of customers, and who can churn out clothing effortlessly and sell it for less? You don’t have what it takes to make this happen.” But as the words of Theodore Roosevelt say,
“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... 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 have to learn to be okay with failure and consistently pick yourself back up once hitting a roadblock. 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 and that they had an auction of their goods. I quickly checked the auction site, and lo and behold, they had 2 lots of dress forms being sold! I ended up with 2 from the auction. Disappointed that I didn’t get the whole size set, I went to pick up my forms. At pick up, I decided to ask the person in charge if he knew of any extra dress forms and to my surprise, he said there might be a few buried in this mess of a storage backroom. I eagerly head up to the room and was shocked to find a whole set of dress forms 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.
This is where this Mommy & Me Collection originated, from a place of fear transformed into hope.
As with trying anything, I thought we’d try some of the simplest silhouettes with our most popular pigment collection organic double weave muslin. The idea of matching outfits for moms and daughters was incredibly well recieved!
The Maxi Dress: I live in comfortable dresses. A dress so breathable, flowy, and feminine offers the versatility of being worn to the park, cafe, beach, or brunch, all while looking effortlessly fabulous. Pockets are of course a must to store any snacks, your phone etc. (inspired by Gemma Chan’s giant pink Oscar’s dress with pockets!). You’ll love that this dress is adjustable to 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 also perfect as a maternity dress or even just for your food baby ;). And if you would like to dress it up, you can belt it for more definition at the waist.
This piece also serves as 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 mom, the front tie allows for easy access to feed your baby.
It’s also great if you like to layer during the Spring transitional months. Throw a chambray shirt over it, or even a denim or leather jacket and voila, perfectly styled. Or you could even try wearing 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 next to 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 always so excited to match my mom! As always, we’ve included pockets for all the little things your little will find on her many adventures. This ethically-made dress will definitely be a favorite, as she gets to match with her mom and can be free to adventure as she desires.
Kimono Jacket in Organic Double Gauze Cotton: Your wish has been granted, my friends! Our most loved kimono tops are now in adult 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 was oversized, versatile for the sweater weather too! I was inspired by the Elizabeth Suzann Clyde Jacket. These roomy pockets can fit a small child, or puppy. But it comes in handy when you don’t want to carry a purse and just need to keep things light. I can’t wait for you to all try this high quality piece! 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 also 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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