In our last Meet the Team post, we introduced Mark to you so we thought it was only natural to follow with another key player in our design team; Elaine. Read on to get to know what makes this incredibly creative lady tick… Ethical fashion designer Elaine Hi Elaine, we hear there’s an interesting story behind how you met John and Rachel. Please can you share it with our readers? As well as design, and write, I also occasionally sell vintage clothing. John and Rachel came to browse on my stand at The London Textile Fair, and we got chatting. It turned out they were looking for a freelance designer. I was looking for some freelance work and the rest, as they say, is history!   How did you get into doing what you’re doing and what is it you love most about it? I was completely bloody-minded from about the age of 12 about becoming a fashion designer. I'd been taught by my Gran to sew from an early age, and I was good at art, so my route to a Foundation Course and then a degree in Fashion and Textiles was pretty straight forward. I never get tired of starting a new season, the heady thrill of finding new inspiration, and creating a collection from it. Ethical fashion designer Elaine And where do you find inspiration? Inspiration is everywhere; magazines, the internet, vintage clothes, exhibitions. It's just a case of keeping your eyes and mind open, always looking around you, and absorbing everything you see.   What’s your favourite Braintree piece this season and why? My favourite spring piece is the organic cotton chambray Randa Dress. I build my wardrobe from things I know I will wear a lot, and this offers on-trend fabric and styling, in a really versatile and flattering way. Meet ethical fashion designer Elaine   What does living ‘thoughtfully’ mean to you and how do you embrace it? I try not to create too much landfill waste. I have one of those water bottles that can be reused again and again, I never use a plastic bag if I can help it, and most of my furniture is vintage or second-hand. The two pear recipes I shared previously on #Bthoughtful are a good example of this; the chutney leaves left over fruit scraps and the vodka uses them up. As for clothes, any I buy will stay with me for a very long time to come. I try to design them that way too; always using sustainable, planet-friendly resources. I always try and eat organic or free-range products, and the same goes for my clothes. Ethical fashion designer Elaine Tell us a bit about your hobbies… I read and write fiction, although I have to say it's become more of an obsession and less of a hobby – I have almost finished the first draft of a novel. After all that sitting down, I do yoga a couple of times a week, Hatha and Ashtanga. My chocolate Labrador Jeff, likes lots of walks, and so I do that daily with him. I cook a lot for friends – I love food, and it's fun to have a few willing guinea pigs to try new things out on!   Just for fun, tell us something random about yourself… Hmm? Really? Okay then… When I was younger, I lived in the States and decided to relocate to Nashville to become a country singer. Obviously that didn't quite work out…   A recycling tip, a recipe, an exhibition… Share something you love with our readers. It can be anything! We recently renovated an old house, and had to replace a wooden floor. Instead of taking it to the dump, my industrious boyfriend has made it into three dining room tables! Here’s a recipe for you to try, too: A Sloe-gasm! You’ll need 1 part of homemade Sloe Gin and 9 parts Champagne, Prosecco or other dry white sparkling wine. Mix, drink and repeat (responsibly, of course). Here’s how to make the homemade Sloe Gin.
  1. Pick 1lb sloes (or find a local supplier), wash and prick them all over before popping into a sterile jar.
  2. Add 8oz caster sugar, and 2 pints of gin.
  3. Mix and decant into bottles. You can do this in several old gin bottles, it works perfectly. Leave aside for a couple of months.
  4. Strain, serve and enjoy!
  Let us know if you give Elaine’s recipes a go. And look out for our next Meet the Team post when we introduce you to Laura, also from our design team.   Clare x

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