Do What You Love: ELLY CLAY


How did you get into fashion?
I got into fashion primarily from working in the entertainment industry; I have been involved in styling artists for music videos, photo shoots, performances, etc. My past positions in the entertainment industry have put me on the spot countless times and I have had to create or change a look for an artist within minutes. Friends and colleagues always said that I should become a stylist or create my own line, but I never gave it any thought.

Tell me how and when everything started.
I have been a handbag fanatic forever, and I also realized that while there were many amazing handbag designers out there, I was not able to find many handbags below the $800 price point that would satisfy my fashion cravings for great designs, quality leather and fine craftsmanship. So this was a huge factor in my starting to design a handbag collection of my own. I started to sketch my ideas as a hobby, made a few bags out of fabric and it finally grew into an obsession and that is how the Elly Clay Collection was born.

When did you first know that you wanted to be in fashion?
I was interested in handbags and fashion since I was about 5 years old. I would make purses and clothes out of hand-wipes and pillow cases for my dolls. I have always been able been extremely artistic and creative. I used to sew and try to design my own clothes at 10 years old. I also painted and sketched growing up. So I would say that designing was in my blood. I knew that I wanted to design handbags for about 10 years, but it was just a whimsical thought. I would always picture what a bag could use to make it extra special.


If you weren’t in the fashion industry, what would you like to be doing?
I would be writing. I love to write poetry, songs and short stories. I would be doing something where I could use my creativity and imagination.

What do you do in your down time?
I really don’t have much down time. I am a busy mom of twin toddlers as well as running my own business. When I am not working on my collection, or running around with my family, I like to relax by meditating or watching a good movie.

How would you describe your personal style?
My personal style can be described as a combination of uptown and downtown chic. My style has changed a bit since becoming a mom. I love jeans and dress them up or down with my accessories, shoes, boots, great bags and belts.


Who are your favorite designers? Oscar de la Renta and Chloe.

What motivates you?
As far as designing goes, Street style and culture motivate me. I am also motivated by people that I see or read about that beat the odds, overcome obstacles and have faith. When I see them achieving their goals and giving back and helping others, it totally motivates me and encourages me to keep working hard towards my goals and dreams.

Big thanks to Elly Clay for taking the time to talk to Life With Style!

Photo Credit: Elly Clay

Author: Rose Wheeler

Hey, I'm Rose! I work with words on a daily basis as a content manager and writer. When I'm not working with my awesome clients, I enjoy cooking, yoga, styling, blogging and curling up with a good book.

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