Brand - Elliatt
Focus on small and niche to develop the business model
Elliatt is an Australian fashion brand founded by Katie Pratt and renowned globally. Its fashions are stocked in more than 1,200 boutiques globally, including Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom, with distribution networks spanning Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, and the US. The brand has a turnover of about US$5.3 million annually. In an interview with Fibre2Fashion, the designer speaks about her journey, aesthetics of her collection and shares tips for fashion aspirants.
Fibre2Fashion: When did your love affair with design begin and how would you illustrate your journey?
My mother’s hobby was dressmaking, so I watched her doing it growing up. I would ask her to create specific things for me, so I guess I was designing from a young age. When I was older, I started creating my own racing looks with millinery hats and would enter competitions for the Melbourne Cup. I loved designing event looks for special day to night events.
F2F: How would you define the aesthetics of your collection?
Elliatt is definitely occasion wear, with a focus on day to night looks. We design classic silhouettes and have an emphasis on flattering cuts. We update our consistent look with a clever use of colour and texture. We love working with specialty fabrications and using fabrics in an unexpected way. We are feminine, romantic, and modern—all at once.
F2F: Being Based in Australia, what motivated you to launch your store in China and not in Australia?
We commenced wholesaling in China to major accounts in 2015 and the brand was very popular there, so when we had the opportunity to open a store in Shanghai in one of the most high-end malls, it just made sense. We are passionate about bringing our aesthetic to the China market, as we offer a point of difference to most Chinese women’s current wardrobes. We have been worn by some of the top Chinese celebrities and key opinion leaders (KOLs), so our brand is becoming more and more popular there.
F2F: Where do you get your creative nutrition? What fashion do you follow?
Pop culture is very important to obsess over and find inspiration in. I also like to focus on what real women wear—celebrity’s and everyday women alike. I find going to an event with friends and seeing how they dress just as important as looking at influencers and celebrities. We design real fashion for real women, but we take a dash of aspiration from high-end influencers to ensure we are always providing a fresh look.
F2F: With so many fashion brands coming into the picture, how do you ensure your label stands out?
We have been in business for 12 years now. We have worked hard growing our brand into a globally recognised brand and aligned ourselves with the best retailers in the world. We are stocked in Bloomingdale’s, Harvey Nichols, Nordstrom and Revolve, and more than 1,500 independent stores. I think having good market share, and knowing exactly who our customer is, always ensures that we stand out.
F2F: How do you include sustainability in your creations?
We do a fully sustainable collection every year, which includes the use of organic fabrics and all natural fibres. We also practice sustainability every day in our offices. We are careful on wastage and never mass produce stock; we only make to order.
F2F: Can you give a brief about a few trending things in the fashion industry?
The fashion industry is evolving quickly, so it is a very exciting time in our industry. From influencers to digital marketing, to fashion in the metaverse, to a focus on slow and sustainable fashion, things are changing quickly, and traditional design and business operations are evolving quickly. We now have so many ways to sell and market our brand globally now. It was a very different landscape 12 years ago.
F2F: What were your favourite looks from the recent events like Met Gala 2022?
Nicola Peltz in hot pink. I love a dramatic sleeve and an interesting bustline!
F2F: What advice would you like to give to women trying to break into the field of fashion?
I think ‘niche’ is a key word. Social media and digital marketing now mean you can specialise in one product or a small collection and sell globally instantly. The traditional large fashion houses doing every look from A-Z is too difficult to compete with for a start-up business. So, focus on small and niche to develop the business model, then grow the offering when you have found the right pathway.
F2F: Where does your label stand when it comes to the global market?
We are stocked in the US, Asia, Canada, South America, the UK, Middle East and of course our home Australia. We pride ourselves on being a global brand, selling to diverse women and cultures…. And I think it’s a testimony to the success of our product, Elliatt sells the same collection all over the world, and is embraced by women with very different cultures and lives.
F2F: What is the vision for your label for forthcoming years? Are you planning to expand the same?
Expansion is underway every day, we grow every day, open new accounts, new markets and work on new collections every day. We don’t stop, we only move forward. My business partner Amy Li and I ultimately want to dress women all over our beautiful world! We are rolling out Elliatt franchises globally (we have opened 3 in China in recent years), expanding our brand awareness globally, and growing with our loyal stockist accounts, boutiques, online stores and department stores. Our loyal buyers have been with us since day one, and we will keep designing for them. We will continue designing for our customers. We believe every woman should look and feel amazing. We offer beautiful high-quality designs that are aspirational and accessible. Seeing customers feel good in our designs is the ultimate end goal.