Tell us about yourself : My name is Chanel Joan Elkayam. I am 19 years old and own the womenswear label called Chanel Joan Elkayam – CJE. I am currently a Womenswear first year BA student at Central Saint Martins – University Of The Arts London (The worlds leading university for fashion). I am based in both London and Manchester (UK) however my collections are sold globally.
My website : www.chaneljoanelkayam.com
My Facebook page : www.facebook.com/cjeofficial
My Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter : https://www.instagram.com/cje_official/
Tell us about your label and what actually led you to start your own label : My interest in fashion began at a very early age. My mother says that as a baby I was fascinated by materials. Over the years I was self taught in making clothes.
I always wanted to have my own label and I thought that I needed to wait until I achieve a degree in fashion design. However, my mum encouraged me and told me that there was no need to wait for a formal education and I could start whenever I felt ready. When I was 16 years old I launched my own label and first collection.
My first collection was showcased in Manchester, where I received positive feedback from the public, press and media.
Shortly after that I was invited to showcase a collection in Manchester Fashion Week where I received a standing ovation from the entire audience.
Later in the year I was awarded The Young Designer Of The Year UK 2015.
This lead to a further invitation from Paris Fashion Week.
My “Femme Royale” AW16 collection was first shown in Paris Fashion Week, March 2016. This collection was inspired by royalty from the 1800’s.
At the time I was 18 years old and that made me the youngest designer in fashion history to have showcased a collection at Paris Fashion Week.
I was recently invited to showcase a collection in New York Fashion Week, this meant that I was again the youngest designer in fashion history to showcase in New York Fashion Week.
My SS17 collection is called “Solo flight” which was inspired by Edna Gardner Whyte’s quote: ““Just watch, all of you. I’ll show you what a woman can do… I’ll go across the country; I’ll race to the Moon… I’ll never look back.”
During New York Fashion Week, I was awarded the International Designer Of The Year 2016 by the New York Fashion Awards. I was told that I was nominated for this award by prestigious fashion industry professionals. I am greatly appreciating their recognition of my work.
Who are your customers : My label is aimed to empower women of all ages and tastes. My customer is the modern woman who is sophisticated, time-less and elegant.
Describe your label and its signature style : Looking through my mother’s wardrobe as a child unearthed my ideas of inventive cuts, clean lines, slender silhouettes and sensual fabrics that today have contributed to my signature wearable-couture aesthetic.
I create bold, elegant clothing for the sophisticated modern woman. I choose the fabrics in order to create a sense of movement and fluidity throughout my collections, punctuated by structural tailoring that evoke an element of power, seduction and elegance outside of the traditionally masculine context with pleats, embellishments and slit sleeves. I embroider and embellish my designs by hand using Swarovski crystals and Swarovski beads.
Who are your style icons : My style icons at the moment would be Angelina Jolie, Kate Middleton and Emma Watson. They are elegant, sophisticated and powerful women which I wish to dress one day in the near future.
What is your advice for others : To keep following your dreams! There is no such thing as “impossible”. When you really want something, you can make it happen. Don’t think out of the box, just think that there is no box!
image sources : Agatha Tomaszewska, Seks Wilson, Lisa Gee, Georgina Martins, Emma Carney, Charles Davis