Interview With Fashion Designer Elle B. Mambetov
HI ELLE! THANKS FOR TAKING THE TIME TO CHAT WITH US! CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF, WHO ELLE B. MAMBETOV IN YOUR OWN WORDS?
I’m a bit of a rebel I suppose. I find I am always so sure of the journey I am on that I am willing to go against the grain. This is seen in every aspect of my life. In fashion, I left the commercial industry behind to become a modest wear designer where I am constantly trying to push the boundaries and ideas of what modest wear is and what it can become. In my personal life, raised in the Christian church I converted to Islam and am the only Muslim in my family. I believe in living authentically and have had a lot of bumps and bruises along the way, but I am still striving to break barriers in my life and industry.
WHAT SPARKED YOUR INTEREST IN FASHION?
I’ve always been interested in fashion from a very young age. I asked for a sewing machine when I was 7 years old and was always bothering my mom to take me to the fabric and craft stores so I could make clothing for my American Girl doll Addy. Creativity always seemed to be such an innate part of who I am. I am so thankful to be able to do what I love on a daily basis.
WHAT MADE YOU TAKE FASHION MORE SERIOUSLY AND MAKE A CAREER OUT OF IT?
I was always serious about business, and fashion was such a passion of mine that I always planned to merge the two. I did my first business plan at a very young age so I was always quite serious about having my own company. Both my mother and grandmother were entrepreneurs so I had wonderful examples growing up. My grandmother was also one of the most fabulously dressed women I’ve ever met and so much of my inspiration comes from her.
HOW HAS YOUR WORK EVOLVED SINCE YOU BEGAN YOUR OWN LABEL?
My label Elle B Zhou has evolved as I evolve personally. My former collections where I used french lace and dressed my models with levels of European nudity was a reflection of where I was personally in my life and my career. I had thoughts of dressing Miley Cyrus as she swung on a wrecking ball. My lifestyle was much different then. Now as a modest designer, I am always amazed and thankful at how many people love my designs, because I didn’t create them with a celebrity in mind, or with any particular goal except to just create. I design with complete and total freedom. I love the beauty of Arabic writing, and finding some way to incorporate that whimsy into each print as I am designing is fun and challenging at the same time.
WHAT ACCORDING TO YOU IS A FAVORITE PART OF BEING A FASHION DESIGNER?
I’m so thankful to be able to do what I love. I always have the most fun creating the print. Each compilation of color means so much to me, and I really enjoy that process. I seek to create timeless pieces that aren’t bound by any fashion season, so I mix and match my own personal style from each season and that is always so fun.
ARE THERE ANY TYPES OF CLOTHING THAT YOU AVOID WEARING?
I dress modeslty so I typically avoid sheer pieces unless I can successfully layer under them in a fun way. I also avoid clothing with images of animals or faces on them due to my practicing of Islam.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUNG DESIGNERS?
Just go for it. Find your own creative voice. There are so many brands just chasing trends and creating something that is a variation of something someone else has already created. The feedback I have received from customers of the Elle B Zhou boutique is that they love that they can find something different, something unique. As a designer, don’t be afraid to stand out.
ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR READERS?
There are so many ways to be unique in this world. Whatever makes you special can be the one thing that makes your brand a cultural phenomenon