Elli-Nicole Sazeides made the top 8 in last year's ELLE Rising Star Designer competition. While the competition did not go her way, Elli-Nicole is back this year to give it another go and tells me whether or not her second attempt results in a victory it will not deter her from putting in the necessary work in establishing herself as a designer.
Me: You are a finalist for the second year running. Do you think this gives you an edge over the other designers and why?
Elli-Nicole: While it is helpful to have an idea of the process and requirements from my experience last year I am by no means more relaxed, being part of this competition a second time also has it's challenges, you know longer have a luxury of a first impression so you have to up your game considerably!
Me: What would you say was the biggest lesson you learned from being part of this competition last year?
Elli-Nicole: The biggest thing I learned was to take chances with my work,instead of worrying about it being text book perfect I had to shift my mindset to "it's ok to try something new and fail", push yourself, try new things no matter what the outcome.
Me: Worst-case scenario, you don't win... Where to from there for you?
Elli-Nicole: I don't see not winning as a worst case scenario. Everyone loves to win but that is momentary, don't get me wrong it would be great but one win doesn't make a label it's about consistency and building a reputation as the years progress. I see the competition as a stepping stone on a path rather than an end destination. Win or lose I intend to take the lessons from the competition and grow my business and following and really focus on building a brand that is successful.
Me: What can we expect from the collection you are making for this year's show?
Elli-Nicole: My collection this year is adventurous in its pattern work but still effortlessly wearable with a balance between luxe and edge. I decided to push myself this year by developing my own prints which has been very exciting. It was also important to me to develop my accessories in this collection and therefore shoes and handbags will feature even more prominently than last year. This year the inspiration behind my collection is also very personal, the collection was inspired by all of the teachings and memories of my maternal granny whom I was very close to and who passed away last year.
Here are a few pictures from Elli-Nicole's show as a finalist in last year's inaugural Elle Rising Star Designer search:
Photography: Gary Stemmett/ SDR Photo