DESIGNER / Elarel
DIY, bleach and out-of-place frills/embellishments.
q & a
background / edu
I studied Fine Arts straight out of high-school. I was making a lot of mixed media work, a lot of which entailed fabric and sewing. I continued doing sewing and other weird crafts after graduating, but steered far away from the art world and focussed on social work and health fields. Now I’m completing my Masters in Public Health whilst running ELAREL.
manufacturing and production methods
It is just me, myself, and I at the moment. I buy a heap of items and fabrics from op-shops, second-hand stores, and Depop, and repurpose them by bleaching, painting, and sewing with my machine. There are so many garments that exist in the world that it seems silly to me to create whole new ones. My production process considers the shopping for pieces to up-cycle, the painting of each piece, the washing, sewing additions, even photographing and editing the photos for the website.
ELAREL actually began because a friend described a tattoo idea to me, and I told them how it reminded me of these two awful cringe tattoos that my dad had on each of his shoulders that he loved. On one shoulder was a yin & yang in flames (with coloured ink), and on the other was three intestines with a love heart on the end of each one, creating a circle, (also in coloured ink). I drew the love heart design on my notes on my phone, and they said they loved it. I bleached the design onto a jumper and added some other bits, photographed it and posted it on Depop. I decided I really liked it and made some more along with a cap because everyone in Melbourne wears caps these days.
I was inspired by the myriad of independent creatives, artists, and designers that I’m constantly seeing on social media. I found myself getting into a never ending spiral of links and names and usernames and being blown away with how unique all of them are. To name a few small labels you should follow,
Fey Fey Worldwide, Shay Galla, Ottolinger, Claire Barrow, my amazing friend Solange Quietus, Olive Woodward, Fresh Maybe New, Yusho Kobayashi, Gabe Gordon, Diaspora, Cicciolina, Cat Lauigan, the list goes on and on but honestly Instagram in general is my inspiration because it’s impossible to go
on there and not discover a new creative talent. I hate to be such a slave to Zuckerberg, but sue me for being transparent - I am when it comes to discovering art and fashion.
I can try! My process is instinctual. It began in a much more structured way with the classic ELAREL three love hearts design, but it’s naturally expanded from there. I’m attracted to the classic patterns like houndstooth and tartan and checkerboard, and that’s the phase I’m going through at the moment with each piece I paint. I love adding the different frills 3-D elements to change the classic structure of the shape. It’s meant to be a bit funny and a bit annoying - to have a standard t-shirt or hoody or cap that just has a massive frill or fringe all over it.
I think conceptualising things is one of the things that made me so deterred from continuing to practice art. I think I am sometimes too literal to conceptualise everything creative. What I can say is that sometimes my pieces remind me of people wrapping their heads around the idea of non-binary and androgyny not being mutually dependent on each other. Or that having long hair and wearing skirts whilst having a vagina is too femme to be non-binary. I’m not referring to the hateful thinking though, it’s when it comes from this really sincere place, as if thinking about someone being AFAB and femme presenting on Wednesdays but being non binary has genuinely floored someone with how unconventional it is. People are just funny. The frills are the long hair.