Worn by some of the most colourful and fashionable humans in the universe (see Juno Birch and Amy from A Fashion Nerd) comes the colourful hat brand, Elleni The Label! Created by Brisbane maker Elleni, these bright and silly hats are designed to make you smile and sparkle like yourself. We’re excited to welcome Elleni back to the Brisbane/Meanjin Market lineup this Spring with her offbeat berets, heart hats and more! We caught up with her to learn more about her creative background, what’s new this season and where she might take the label in the future.
Get ready to celebrate small and support your favourite Aussie businesses The Finders Keepers Market returns to Brisbane/Meanjin this 2-4 September at the Exhibition Building, Brisbane Showgrounds.
What do you do, and how did you get started?
I make colourful, offbeat hats that are really just meant to make you smile! I love to help highlight the kooks that make you, you – because you’re pretty fab as you are. I come from a fashion design background, but the berets started from making a few just for myself to wear because nothing like it existed back then to buy and who would have thought there were quite a few people who got the same kick out of them that I did!
It’s been a slow burn for many years since Elleni the Label has always just been me (Elleni!) and has always been solely funded by my day jobs and eventually itself. Although I make all and work every aspect of Elleni the Label, I’m a designer first, and everything goes back into creating more new and exciting pieces – and I can’t wait to show you what’s to come!
We love your cute and colourful head creations! How do you come up with new designs?
Stop it! Thank you! I honestly have no answer other than I have a hectic brain and am a little weird. New ideas and designs pop into my head every few minutes, and if one is especially lucky, I’ll pluck her out and make her into something fun! Ideas are one thing I couldn’t possibly be short on.
Who are some of your coolest customers?
Every single one of my customers are the coolest humans that exist. When I was studying fashion, I was taught to design what I want to design, then reign it back in so it appeals to a wider collection of people – such a great lesson that I use always – but the thing that makes me so happy is that I don’t need to do that for my customer base. The things I think will be too much for people (but I include them because I love them) always do the best – how fun is that?
Amy of @afashionerd has an array of hats, as do some of my favourite Drag Queens, Juno Birch @junobirch and Creme Fatale @cremefatale. Even Michelle Visage has bought one of my berets for her daughter! You will always see me posting local beauties Nic @Nic_the_pixie, Sam @samtodd, Angie @angieking_ and Tyra @tyra.mua, and I have cuties being wildly fab all over the world from Laurel @hope.laurel in NY to Grace @dis.__.grace and Antonia @lady_purrington in London.
It took me far too long to pick out just a couple of names because I often get teary over how inspiring and talented my customers are. Take a peek through my tagged photos on insta if you’re ever feeling like witnessing truly exceptional humans being unapologetically themselves.
How has your business evolved over the past year?
So much! Since Christmas 2020, I’ve been launching seasonal collections for each holiday which have more than quadrupled in size this past year because I simply can’t help myself. I’ve also begun expanding to different styles of hats, the most exciting to date being the Gumdrop Hat – again, something that I feel is unique in the hat world. I’ve released them in small quantities this past year to test the waters, and the temperature was beyond perfect, so I’ve been feverishly working on having them as stocked and varied as the berets – and they will very likely be with me at Finders Keepers early next year. Behind the scenes, I’m always working on further completely new things. Elleni the Label was never going to be just berets.
What do you love about Brisbane, and who are you looking forward to visiting at the markets?
The sun! And the warmth, both in weather and people. I love shopping at these markets as much as I love having my own stall! I always adore Bonnie Hislop, Alice’s Earth, and Thistle Hill Studio – I’ll be coming in with a shopping list and literally find something else to obsess over every market. What a talented little city.
What can we expect from your stall at this event? Let us know if you’re bringing anything new!
I sure am! Along with the usual array of berets, I will have some matching pet berets and pieces from my latest collection released on August 16. This includes two new Gumdrop Hat styles in limited quantities and, most exciting, a totally *new* style of broad-brimmed straw hat – unlike any you’ve seen before – in 4 designs and two brim size options. These are also available in very limited quantities, and this event will be the first one they’re at! (They’ve been a long time coming, and I’m a little in love with them, can you tell?)