Ella Gilbert launched her bohemian inspired beachwear label just last month and while fashion hasn’t always been her first choice, you can definitely tell it’s her calling. Admiring Hearts is for the free-spirited traveller, the beach goer and the adventurer. Its first collection is natural, feminine and simplistic in design, and includes wrap skirts, lace sets and white linen.
The label has a sustainable and ethical focus, with each garment hand made by Ella from natural fibres sourced within Australia. She believes strongly in slow fashion and only making what she needs, therefore limited quantities of each garment are available. To find out a little more about this true Aussie label, we picked the brain of this young creative.
Why did you begin Admiring Hearts? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
I haven’t always wanted to be a designer. It sort of began back in 2013 when I was in high school. I started a little Instagram shop [selling] festival clothes just for some pocket money and that did surprisingly well. I gave it up to pursue a different passion but for some reason or another, I was drawn back to designing and making clothes.
In 2017, I began studying fashion design and I knew I wanted to start up a label again but this time with a more beachy/boho focus. The concept of Admiring Hearts started back in April 2017 and from then on I just worked and worked on it until the day came for me to launch my first collection. I started it really because I love fashion, I love to create, and I love being my own boss!
The first collection “Lost In Sunlight 18” is a mini collection. Has it been a success?
I would definitely say my first collection “Lost In Sunlight 18” has been a success. I have gained lots of exposure through the launch and received an unimaginable amount of amazing feedback from so many beautiful people. I have been contacted with a number of stockist enquiries from some really cool online platforms as well, which I’m really excited about! So hopefully you’ll be seeing some AH designs around very soon.
Are all the garments handmade by you?
Yes! Every piece of Admiring Hearts clothing is hand crafted by myself in Brisbane. It takes a lot longer than mass producing and importing garments from overseas, but I think it’s cool for people to know that what they are wearing has been made with love right here in Australia. It adds a unique feel to an outfit, and I feel like people appreciate the garment more when they know how much work and care has been put into making it!
What inspires your designs?
A big inspiration for me is traveling. When I travel and become exposed to different sights, sounds, people and cultures, I sometimes get struck with an urge to create something that inhabits the mood of the place or atmosphere I am in at that time.
There are lots of contributing factors to my design inspiration. It could be a shot in a magazine or even a certain fabric that I’ve fallen in love with—that’s definitely a big one; if I am fabric shopping and come across one I really love, heaps of ideas for designs start to flow into mind. Obviously another factor is what’s currently in fashion at the time, and I tend to sketch heaps as well – once you start sketching something, it can turn into 10 different things and then you’ve got a lot to play with!
What are your sustainable and ethical practices? And why are these important to you and your brand?
I like to use mostly natural fabrics and materials to construct my items such as linen, cotton, muslin etc. I do that because I think it feels better to wear something made of natural fibres. Certain fibres have certain properties such as moisture retention and breathability and I think it’s important to keep all this in mind when designing clothes made for the hot sun and summertime temperatures.
What’s your vision for Admiring Hearts
I would love to say that I have a clear plan and set vision for AH but in reality, I am just rolling with the punches. It’s already doing better than I expected and I definitely have some goals in mind for it. But what I’m really working towards at the moment is developing my own unique [and] clear style that can be identified amongst the vast variety of online clothing brands. I hope to gain a following and have people be familiar with my label. It is a hyper competitive market out there now but I hope that with a lot of hard work, patience and of course support from rad independent platforms…I’ll be able to grow the label to stand out from the competition and eventually be able to set trends, not follow them.