elle evans

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How can we make 'Sustainable' Accessible?

Sustainable Fashion, SwimwearEllie EvansComment

I've written before about the dangers of the EPIC sale like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Boxing Day etc, but I do think small sales are really important for labels like Elle Evans for one very specific reason: Sustainable doesn't always = accessible. 

I know spending your hard earned cash on a $150+ sustainable swimsuit can’t be an option for everyone. Heck, we’ve all been there! But what are the alternatives? Unlike most other clothing, secondhand swim can be a bit of a risk, so that really just leaves buying it new somewhere cheaper (where let’s face it, it will probably start to sag next season forcing you to retire it and buy another cheapo bikini for the coming Summer amiright?!)

Part of being a sustainable business means we actually pay what things are worth. We pay more for good quality fabric, we pay more so the talented people who sew your bikini locally earn a living wage, and we pay more to ship it using a carbon neutral courier. And because we pay more, you pay more. That’s the price of being ethical. So while we can't slash our prices every other week we can give people the option to buy sustainably on the cheap (even if it’s just for a few days) without compromising our sustainable business model. 

What do you think about having annual “Accessible Sales” for sustainable brands? Because until sustainable practices become the norm and there for cheaper this is the best we can do. And really, doesn't everybody deserve to shop sustainably?


Sustainable FashionEllie Evans

Capsule wardrobes are all about having a small collection of versatile pieces; maximising the use you get out of every piece in your wardrobe. You know that great pair of jeans you can wear with anything? Imagine if your whole wardrobe was like that!

Purdy is our communications manager (and wonderful big sister to me, Ellie) and takes care of lots of bits and pieces behind the scenes. She also happens to be a new mum (to an adorable nine-month-old) and has just gone back to work part-time. Just quietly we're pretty stoked to be an all-female workplace and to currently employ three bad-ass young mums who desperately want and need to be flexing their creative muscles! Tanya and I wanted to help Purdy out with developing a capsule wardrobe for Autumn/Winter that would take her from the park to the office.

To build a capsule wardrobe sustainably you need to assess what you already have and work out which key items are missing.  A great place to start is by making a “floordrobe” yep, drag everything out of your wardrobe and chuck it on the floor! And then it’s time to get ruthless.

Try on every, yes EVERY piece, you'll be surprised what you might fall back in love with. As a new mum key factors to look at for Purdy were, is it breastfeeding friendly? Can I walk comfortably? (Mum's walk everywhere amirite!!) Can I wear it to work? Can I wear it with at least 3 different things? Is it comfortable? And is it flattering!  

I suggested pretending you were planning a month long trip and pulling out the key pieces you would "pack", then stashing the rest in a box for the rest of the season to see if you miss anything! Another approach to this is the old turn the coat hanger around the wrong way trick; if you haven't touched the garment in 6 months time for it to move on to the Op shop! (or give it to your younger sister!)

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Here’s where we ended up with Purdy’s existing wardrobe, 15 pieces that she already loves and work really well together. You’ll probably notice a colour palette emerging, Purdy has lots of blacks, greys and olive greens and a little denim. We freshened it up by adding some whites, light denims and prints to her wardrobe. 

Here are the six  pieces  Purdy invested in to complete her capsule wardrobe for Autumn/Winter. 

  1. A great patterned top (its loose enough to lift up for breastfeeding) an excellent one for work, but casual enough for a play date at a cafe. This one was an op shop find!
  2. A comfy loose white tee, a must have (also op shop score)
  3. Demin jacket (even if the 90's aren't here to stay a denim jacket is a classic you guys) 
  4. Cirta Skrit by the lovely people at Tamga Designs, this is a great piece to invest in as it works all year round! A knotted tee for summer or add tights, boots and a leather jacket for winter.
  5. Perfect for those days when you're on the go all day Our Fruta 7/8th Legging Fruity
  6. High waisted Jeans, these ones were actually my mums, vintage Levis from the 70's! Never forgot to check out the back of your mums wardrobe as well as your own. 
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Ellie Evans
balck friday.jpg

If there's one day that captures the needless consuming of fast fashion, and overspending on things we don't need it's Black Friday. 

Sales in general I can get behind, but there is a level of consuming-for-the-sake-of-consuming on Black Saturday and Cyber Monday that goes beyond getting that one piece you've had your eye on for a long time at 20% off. 

As a sustainable business we make to order to limit the amount of fabric waste we create, we pay our local seamstress a living wage, we use a fabric that costs more in dollars so it won't cost the environment. Remember that someone or something pays the price for sales even if you don't. 

I'm not saying don't shop today, but I am asking you to think before you buy, ask yourself "Do I need this", "Who made this?" And "Is this price fair for that person?" 

If your answers are "yes" "someone being paid well and treated with dignity" and "it sure is"  then by all means add-to-cart baby! 


CONSCIOUS COLLAB: Body Flow Yoga Work Out Bags

Conscious CollabEllie Evans

This month I tackled a fun little side project for a friend of Elle Evans Swimwear, Body Flow Yoga. We love a good collab over here and jumped at the chance to work with our favourite yoga studio to design an exclusive Elle Evans Work Out Bag for their October 30 Day Challenge.

The bag was made using reclaimed Neoprene which was leftover from a large manufacturer that would have otherwise gone to landfill, and of course, our signature, recycled ECONYL lycra. A cotton drawstring turns this little bag into a backpack, perfect for throwing in all your gear and drink bottle!

Body Flow studio manager Sarah Hammond  packed the bag with goodies including:  A mason jar of deliciousness thanks to The New Normal Project, a voucher for Perla Natural Teeth Whitening, a sparkling probiotic drink from Kreol, some beautiful Endota Spa sample products and a little gift from the délicieux Resto Bobo! We also threw in a little 20% off our swimwear for all 30 Day Challenge participants too. 

This particular design was an exclusive collab with BodyFlow Yoga, but keep your eyes on this space! We loved making them so much we just might have to release a range for summer.

I can think of a few mates who would love one of these work out bags as a Christmas present!  



Press FeatureEllie Evans

This May I did an interview for  Good On You the website and app that's focused on making the fashion industry transparent with their rating system letting customers "shop their values."   Elle Evans received a GREAT ranking on their ethical sustainability scale. You can read the full article below:

This Label Uses Recycled Fishing Nets, But You’d Never Know

Swimwear made from recycled fishing nets? At just 26, Australian designer Elle Evans, has created a gorgeous range or swimwear and activewear made from discarded fishing nets, but you’d never know. She tells us about her vision to reconnect with the entire process of creating beautiful clothing.

Our writer Jacqui Carter caught up with Elle to get the down low on her sustainable range that’s making a difference. Elle Evans has been rated Good . 

At the age of four, I was smearing paint onto butcher’s paper. Elle Evans, on the other hand, had already designed and produced her very first swimsuit. It may have been for her doll Anna, but it was prophetic – she now creates swimwear with cutting-edge designs (made from recycled fishing nets, of all things!). We’ve fallen in love.

The ‘Florida’ One-Piece in pineapple print. 

I guess I never really stopped sewing. It was always what I loved doing, and I never thought I would do anything else other than design or sew.”

I tell Elle I’m jealous she found a career so early in life. But it’s then I realise I’m mistaken – hers is not a career, but a calling. Her grandmother was a seamstress who sewed until she could no longer see. Her grandfather was a sewing machine mechanic, and Elle has many a childhood photo in which she and her sister are clad in matching swimsuits handcrafted by her mum. Nostalgia and unbridled creativity shine through in her swimwear designs. They cut new and refreshing shapes, a world away from the typical standard bikini.

20% off Elle Evans Available in the Good On You app


The ‘Tanlines’ Bikini Top in soft recycled lycra. Hurry up, Summer.

“What stays with me the most, is the patience my mother and grandmother showed in sewing, knitting and creating,” Elle says. “And how that bond between maker and garment strengthens when you take your time and go slow.”

Her philosophy reminds me of a by-gone era where clothes were crafted and cared for – not mass produced and quickly disposed of.  Because of the way the industry operates, designers can send a design off and it comes back as the final product they have no idea what’s happened to that garment in between, or where it’s going, or where it’s going to end up.” Elle took a new approach to crafting her range.

From Fishing Nets to a Fabulous Finish

Elle creates swimwear and activewear from post-consumer waste fabrics. She’s hands-on at every stage from design through to production. It’s this deep level of involvement that allows her to feel connected to the end product, serving as a reminder that everything she creates has an impact on the environment.

“I always ask – is this the right thing for the business and the world? It’s actually  a lot easier being sustainable from the beginning,” she explains. “I see these companies having to backtrack, to make themselves more sustainable. It’s difficult going back on practices that have been in place forever.”

“We were using remnant fabric in the beginning, but as we’re getting bigger it’s almost too difficult to do that. Now, most of the time, we’re using a recycled nylon called ECONYL – a material created from pre and post consumer waste material. Basically, the fabric is made from dredged upfishing nets, but you wouldn’t know that’s where it comes from”

Side on: the ‘Florida’ One-Piece in pineapple print. 

Elle assures me: “ECONYL a beautiful fabric, and it prints beautifully as well.”

There’s no doubt the label has struck a chord with Aussie ladies, both in and now out of the water. “It was a logical next step to go from swimsuits into active wear, especially as there was a bit of a crossover,” she says. “We sell to a lot of chicks who are into paddle boarding and things like that – they can use their active wear in the water.”

Extending the label to active-wear design was a business-savvy move, as was Ellie’s determination to market the brand, firstly and fore-mostly, on its design credentials. She wants her customers to be dazzled by her prints and designs.

“I want them to buy it because it’s going to look amazing on the beach or by the pool. But as an added bonus it’s sustainable, and along the way they can learn why that’s exciting and important.”

Elle Evans Activewear: the ‘Tropica’ Crop and Leggings

When I ask Ellie if she’d like to be the next ‘it’ label, she says, without a hint of insincerity, “I don’t want to get to that point where it’s so big you have this disconnect with the end product. Then you’re doing that same thing that the big companies are doing with clothing.”

Her business partner is her pal Tanya, and she cites her family and friends as a source of inspiration in life. “I’ve definitely had moments when I’ve wondered if I’m doing the right thing. My friends and family always tell me to trust my instincts. Nothing is more inspiring than having a support network.”

Elle may have found the secret to life: find your passion, turn it into a business, and surround yourself with family and friends who believe in you.

Good On You rates Elle Evans as ‘Good’. Check out their ethical ratings on the Good On You app!