Ethel & Leo
> Please describe the ethos behind Ethel & Leo.
Ethel & Leo is a really organic, down to earth lifestyle label. It is really about being a little adventurous, having fun and not taking life too seriously. We try and use as many natural, organic fabrics as possible at an affordable price point for everyone and comfort is a very big factor in every piece made. Everything is made locally which I think is so important which is why people have started following the label. The main focus behind the label is really the mix of textile art and the coastal edge of the loose and easy silhouettes. It is all about luxe comfort, but at the same time having that uniqueness that no one else has.
> Ethel & Leo has really taken off since the initial launch of your Northbridge store; very well deserved I may add. How are you feeling about your label’s growing following?
It has been really overwhelming the support we have had. Western Australian girls are just amazing, I love them. Some styles sell out so quickly, I have found it quite hard to keep up with everything from production and stockists, to the online store and just keeping stock levels high in store for our customers. We have such an amazing local following now that I still can’t believe it, and it makes me so happy when girls fall in love with the prints and get emotional.
> One thing I absolutely respect and admire about you is that you design and print all of your own fabrics. It is such a dying practice. Why is it so important for you to do this?
Ah it is such a double edged sword because the work and effort producing your own designs and textiles is a lot of work, and people don’t understand how long the process is, but at the same time textile art is where it all started for me and it is definitely the heart and soul of the label. I have always loved to have unique pieces that no one else has in my own wardrobe, and I have always made my own clothing with my mother, but seriously, the label really started for me when I learned how to print fabric. My mother is an artist so I have grown up in a very creative household, but it was when I learned technical graphics and textile printing that I became obsessed with textile art and making my own fabrics.
Our prints are really the differentiation we have against other labels, so it is important for me to just be 100% myself when I make prints, and not be affected by what other people are doing. There are so many other labels cutting costs and buying textiles from China at the moment; I understand why they do it, but my whole entire label is focused around our unique textiles so it is just not something I could ever do.
> Your prints are all so colourful and fun! Where do you find inspiration for them?
I get really emotionally attached to my prints haha, especially the ones that have taken me weeks to paint. They come from absolutely everywhere and yes colour does play a very big role in all of my prints. Colour is good for the soul! I get inspired by everything from pants, to animals, other art, cultures and travelling. I was recently in Spain and I became obsessed with the colour palettes there. So I painted a lot of Spanish inspired florals and Aztec prints after I got back.
I recently made a moon print after going for an evening job on the coast, the moon was so bright and magnetic; I ran home and spent the next 5 hours making a moon print because I had this clear picture in my head of an awesome moon outfit. My boyfriend thought I was crazy at the time and as soon I had finished the print he asked me if I could make a him a t-shirt from it.
> Are you excited to be involved in this year’s Telstra Perth Fashion Festival?
It still hasn’t really sunk in but yes, I am very excited; it is just such an amazing opportunity for us to have a lot of fun and showcase the label at the same time! The TPFF team is doing such an amazing job, it is going to be a really fabulous night. There is so much support locally as well, everyone I speak to has bought tickets to the show so I can’t wait, it is definitely the highlight on my calendar at the moment.
> What can we expect to see at the WA Designer Runway show?
An absolute array of colourful, adventurous, fun. Some of my all time favourite prints will be going down the runway so I’m extremely excited to showcase the collection. And as always, it is a very lush and coastal aesthetic. There are a few beautiful new cuts I have done in plain, bold and pop colours as well, so I am really excited for these styling pieces because they go with everything and will suit everyone. It is hard to have the collection sitting in my studio because I want to wear it all now haha.
> And lastly, with such a strong following behind you and a new store, what’s next in the pipeline for Ethel & Leo?
The new Claremont store is such an exciting step for us because it is a permanent space of us to grow and really get the label’s personality out there on a direct level. We are at the point now where we need to step up and keep up with our demand, as well as make sure we have new pieces and prints dropping regularly. We are looking at refining our presence across Australia so that girls know where they can get their Ethel and making sure all our stores have a really good edit all the time.
There is lots of exciting goodness in the pipeline for Ethel & Leo. We have a beautiful basics range coming out in organic cotton plains, which we are trying to have stocked continually. At the moment pieces sell out in a few days, so I am trying to get these staples in store all the time. We also have a rad bikini range for Summer in all of our crazy prints and we get truck loads of emails from guys requesting tees, singlets and boardies so we are working on a sweet Summer range for the dudes.
We also get a lot of overseas purchases from the online store coming from Instagram, so this is exciting. There are lots of babes in France, Greece and Italy floating around in their Ethel which makes me so happy. Who knows, maybe there will be another Ethel store on the horizon.
Ethel & Leo : Claremont >
22 St. Quentin Avenue, Claremont, 6010
Photography by Ryan Ammon