Liverpool fashion brand By Elleven launches wearable art collaboration with local illustrator
Liverpool fashion brand By Elleven has collaborated with local illustrator Lydia Hignett to create a new collection of wearable art.
By Elleven was launched in October 2020 by stylist Rachel Evans and fashion consultant Joanne Watkinson who had a shared passion for clothing that combines premium organic, ethically sourced fabrics, designed for an active lifestyle.
The result is an eco-conscious brand that sits at the opposite end of the high street and online fast fashion.
It then appeared in magazines such as Grazia and Hello, and Rachel and Joanne managed to create a community of like-minded fashion lovers.
Now, alongside their wardrobe essentials of easy-to-wear sweatshirts, t-shirts, hoodies and sweatpants, the pair have teamed up with illustrator Lydia to add three unique pieces featuring his specially commissioned work of intangible objects.
“This type of collaboration was always in our plans when we launched By Elleven,” says Joanne. “We knew we wanted to create a brand, it wasn’t just about printing logos on t-shirts, we wanted the business side of things to be plastic-free, sustainable and more conscious, and quality to be better as it goes. Good.
“Our fashion isn’t ephemeral, so there isn’t something new to watch all the time, every week, or even every day, and we realize that. We realized we needed to come up with content, ideas, and points of interest that did not rely on new clothes every week.
“That meant creating a lifestyle that has its own community, so for example once a week there is an email sent to all of our subscribers where we highlight someone who is interesting or inspiring. it’s not just about trying to sell something to people, it’s a mix of content, so we featured female DJs, artists, Gabriella de Vincenzo’s; just people who we think have interesting work or something interesting to discuss.
“In this context, we want to collaborate with other female entrepreneurs and creatives, and Lydia is the first.”
Joanne and Rachel first spotted Lydia’s work on the Cow Vintage storefront on Bold Street.
“She has a really recognizable style, she’s a storyteller and a lot of her stuff is color block, which is amazing,” says Joanne. “But then she did a line drawing at Minna’s on Lark Lane, it was the first time we’d seen her work without the color, we loved it and thought it really matched what we do as what brand.
“We knew we wanted our illustration to include me and Rachel somehow, and we wanted it to include By Elleven, so we reached out to her, gave her a briefing, and she came back with full of amazing ideas.”
The one they chose now features on three new By Elleven pieces – a skater-inspired long-sleeve top, an essential tee that is their best-selling tee, designed specifically for women with a longer sleeve , and a tote essential.
Joanne says she hopes more collaborations will happen in the future, so independent businesses in Liverpool can support and promote each other.
“It’s about creating pieces that people will love and want in their wardrobes because they require a lot more thought and care,” says Joanne.
“I think it’s really special to wear a work of art that someone super talented like Lydia sat down and took the time to create. It’s not just a slogan, and it’s not It’s not one of her prints that we just put on a T-shirt, it’s an order that’s only for us to feel very privileged that she did.
“It’s really important to me and to Rachel that Liverpool and what’s happening here get the recognition they deserve. Even though it’s a hub and a beehive of creativity, it doesn’t get still not as much credit as she should.
“I sincerely believe we have some of the most incredible talent, but they can easily get lost in the high street scenery. We have some great independents here, but there’s not enough promotion to showcase it in the city, so it’s important that those kinds of collaborations happen.
Visit the By Elleven website here.
By Dawn Collinson