Have you always been into fashion?
As a teenager I started to become really interested in vintage and retro fashion as well the clothes my favourite bands were wearing. I started to realise as a 14-year-old I couldn’t afford what I wanted, so I started making things for myself just by eye and it grew from there! My School didn’t have a uniform so everyday was for experimenting, sometimes I'd stay up all night just to finish an outfit for Monday morning!
What did you study at Brighton? Do you miss uni life?
I studied Fashion and Business Studies at Brighton University, which included a year out to work in the industry. I had the most amazing time working for a small brand in Melbourne called Dress Up in 2015 and went back to fourth year at Uni kicking and screaming!
I found University tough in some areas, such as a total acceptance of being unbelievably stressed and that if you weren’t killing yourself with all nighters you weren’t doing it right. Since leaving I've maintained my level of motivation without unhealthy stress levels and now I know how I want to work and what I want from the Fashion Industry. Work/Life balance is so important!
What's good about starting up in Edinburgh?
I'm from lovely Edinburgh so after being away for over 4 years I was desperate to get back to Scotland. I knew it would be a nurturing environment to start my business, as everyone is so supportive of each other.
You have a very distinct style. Where do you draw inspiration from?
Squint come from the Scottish word meaning 'askew' or 'off kilter' and was the name for my Graduate Collection. It describes the ‘girl’ she’s weird and a bit of a misfit but fun! Each collection has its own inspiration but always maintains that playfulness and laidback style. Recently the shapes and detailing have come from skate fashion and the 1980s. I have also always loved Japan, although I’ve never been, I feel that it always influences my general aesthetic.
In addition I like to use things that I hate or find ugly and twist and redesign them to create something new. That’s where my love for the 1980s came from. I used to hate it!
Starting your own brand is a pretty brave thing to do. Kudos. What have you learned?
Squint is still a wee baby at under a year old, but I’ve been so lucky to learn so much already! I think a big thing is to be self-motivating. It can be hard working away at something and not even really knowing if anyone is seeing it or responding to it so being able to tell yourself to keep going is so important. I've also found it difficult to not sacrifice my creativity worrying about what might sell or not, but having said that I have learnt to be mindful of what people are buying from Squint and what is working and what’s not.
What’s on the horizon for Squint?
My new collection ‘Take it Easy’ will be out on the 12th September, it is my first full Ready-To-Wear collection and I’m so excited for everyone to see it! I am also part of the 2017/18 Fashion Foundry designers so I’m getting a lot of amazing support and guidance on expanding my brand.
Keep up with Ellie on Insta!