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Elly Nelly

indesignlive.com’s New York correspondent Jess Noble chats with the lovely ladies behind Elly Nelly, a Mother-Daughter design pair who manage their label from different time zones.

Elly Nelly


November 4th, 2009

What a way to stay in touch with Mum. Elaine and Nell Oliver live worlds apart in Cairns and New York respectively, but thanks to technology their joint design venture, Elly Nelly, has welcomed unexpected success via online sales. 

“We were always inspired to set up our own label because we have always wanted to work together and be in control of our own direction,” says Elaine. “The Internet has brought the world to us enabling us to work together from across the globe.”

“Thanks to the internet – email and skype, the studio runs smoothly 24 hours. When Mum is heading to bed in Australia, I’m waking up in New York,” says Nell, who has worked in New York as a textile designer for over three years.

“There are never-ending sources of inspiration around both of us, and that for one will keep us busy for years to come. It’s such a buzz to work together even though we’re so far apart in distance. We have a great design process together.” Says Nell.

“It’s exciting after all the hard work of getting a collection together, to see your designs come to life on the runway during NY fashion week or in the pages of Vogue,” says Nell.

Using original artwork by both women, the Elly Nelly wall-works are quirky and cute, trumping the other cookie-cutter competition in this budding design market. Though half-formed and half-based in the US, Elaine and Nell are adamant the designs be recognized as Australian.

“The US is our biggest market due to the volume of people here alone, says Nell. “However we’re selling all over the world and our market is growing every day. We are an Aussie label that’s available everywhere.”

“Working in New York definitely sets the stage for whatever you want to do next. If you have the passion, talent and work ethic, you can take your designs anywhere. Mum and I have proved this with Elly Nelly, working on opposite sides of the world in two very different environments, and having success.”   

(In the 1970s, Elaine counted legendary New York designer Dianne Von Fustenburg as a buyer of her work. Today, by complete coincidence, Nell is employed by Von Fustenburg in New York City.)

Elly Nelly



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