This Norfolk fashion brand is a favourite with Made in Chelsea stars
PUBLISHED: 19:30 20 November 2019 | UPDATED: 15:42 21 November 2019
Meet Ellie Wales, the designer behind Whale of a Time Clothing, which has fast become a favourite of reality TV stars and Instagram influencers.
Whale Of A Time Clothing began when Ellie Wales was studying design in sixth form, over four years ago. Combining a flair for fashion with an entrepreneurial spirit, Ellie's first sweatshirt was inspired by a retro design. As the brand became popular amongst friends and university students, soon Whale Of A Time Clothing became more than just a hobby and took off to be the ever growing brand that it is today - designed in-house and manufactured in the UK, the brand is sold at many shows across the country, is a favourite of many influencers and has frequently been worn on TV by many Made in Chelsea cast members including Digby Edgley, Miles Nazaire, Binky Felstead and Frankie Gaff.
Initially run from Ellie's home with her family helping to pack the orders at the very start, Whale Of A Time quickly outgrew this and has been in its new HQ at Abbey Farm, West Acre for the past year with a great team of four. After the successful launch of the recent AW19 collection, we caught up with Ellie.
Tell us about the AW19 collection. What was your starting point and how did you choose the pieces/ colour palette?
The excitement around our new AW19 collection was focused around a brand new product, the Penzance Puffer Jacket proudly made here in Britain. Having not worked on an outerwear range before, our main focus was on getting the puffer jacket exactly how we wanted it, constructed from eco-friendly fabrics and with many high quality features, with a unisex fit and hardwearing water-resistant outer layer. Much like the rest of our collection, it was important to us to ensure our first jacket was sustainable and we were focused on finding a UK based manufacturer to produce, not only our new outerwear but our whole range of products. Creating a collection using eco-friendly fabrics is a really important aspect to us, using 100% organic cotton allows us to offer our customers a high-quality product at an affordable price point.
How does Norfolk and the coast influence your designs?
I draw most of my inspiration from the North Norfolk Coast where I grew up and my designs are always defined by bold block colours on timeless, easy to wear casual wear. At the heart of each collection is our signature sweatshirt, produced from a luxury 100% organic cotton, keeping it both sustainable and stylish, with that all-important relaxed fit. I always look ahead to emerging trends and make sure to work with colours that not only compliment our existing collections but that fit with the upcoming seasons.
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You have celebrity fans including the Made in Chelsea cast and social media influencers - what impact does their endorsement of one of your pieces have on your brand?
A huge impact! We are lucky enough and always grateful to see the brand being worn regularly by many influencers, who include Lady Alice Manners to most of the Made in Chelsea cast, as well as a great range of fashion and country influencers. All of the influencers that we work with are carefully chosen both in-house and with the help of our PR agency, so we can ensure we are working with those who best reflect the brands ethos and aesthetic, as well as aligning with our core values. We continuously ensure that we are outreaching to influencers that speak directly to our target demographic, that best suit our casual wear and love Whale Of A Time as much as we do. We have definitely noticed over the last year that influencer marketing plays a crucial part in growing the brand and achieving maximum brand awareness.
Christmas is coming up - how do you like to spend Christmas in Norfolk?
I will be spending Christmas at home in Norfolk with family and friends - the only way to spend it for me!
What are your plans for Whale of a Time in 2020?
Without giving away too much, we have lots of exciting plans and new products in the pipeline for 2020, which will compliment our current collection. A big focus for the brand next year will be growing the events side of the business along with many other areas, so be sure to look out for us and watch this space!