Sunday, May 1, 2011

Mint Focus: Ella Lai, Fashion Designer

1. Tell me a little about yourself. Where are you from? What's your educational background? What are your general professional and non-professional interests?
I was born and raised in Shanghai, China and I was intrigued by beautiful things since I was a little girl. As I live in Shanghai for a while already, I could experience the transformation of this city, which is meanwhile a major Metropolis in the world and on its way to become also a major player on the fashion landscape. As mentioned above, I love beautiful things and therefore it was only consequent that I have majored in Fashion design and graduated from the Mod’Art Institute. When I am not thinking about and working in Fashion (which is not that often, I have to admit) I am enjoying the wide variety of the Shanghainese restaurant scene with my friends. I love to stroll around the local neighborhoods here in Shanghai and see the different faces of this city.
2. What does fashion mean to you?
Fashion for me is an important essence of life. It means lifestyle, it means beauty and it means confidence.
3. How would you define your city's fashion?
Shanghai is transforming, so it is its fashion scene. The fashion in Shanghai is energetic and urban and is changing in a breath taking speed. It is heavily influenced by modern western trends and traditional Chinese styles. However, Shanghai also has a romantic and playful side and this is also very much represented in its fashion.
4. When did you realize you wanted to become a fashion designer?
I was intrigued by fashion already as a child, when I was “designing” clothes for my baby dolls.
5. What do you love most about designing and creating your own items?
Creating beautiful things is sharing my personal inspiration with other people. When I see someone wearing my clothes or I receive a positive feedback from my customer it makes me feel proud and happy. I feel I have contributed to make them “pretty”, “happy” and “confident”.
6. What are some of your favorite materials to work with and create with?
As a fashion designer from China I have obviously a deep relationship to silk. However, I personally like to design modern and maybe strongly westernized clothes. Therefore I like to work with wool, but also jersey fabric.
7. How did you get your start in fashion designing and what have you learned over the course of being a designer?
As mentioned above I graduated from a Fashion Design school, in which I have learned a lot about the fundamentals of fashion. I learned about the history and roots of fashion, but also practical things such as pattern making or the construction of the piece. During the course of being a Fashion Designer, I have learned more about marketing and was able to gain a deeper understanding for the people who are buying my clothes. I always put myself in their shoes and think about, how I would feel wearing this special piece. Making clothes is different than painting a picture – clothing is something personal and you need to have a fine sense for the feeling and the confidence of people who are wearing your clothes.
8. If you could sum up your look and aesthetic in three words, what would they be and why?
This reflects the effort I put into the piece. I consider my pieces being sophisticated with many small details. These sophisticated features should reflect the style of the person who is wearing them. I don’t like pieces and persons being “cheap”.
When I am structuring a piece, I like to work with plain and simple structures and colors. Although this might sound a little bit contradictory to the things I have said about elegance, I still think it holds true for my pieces.
I am a city person and I love the hustle and bustle of Shanghai. This is also reflected in my designs.
9. What are some of your accomplishments as a designer?
I hope I could make the people who are buying my pieces “happy” and make them feel “confident”. I don’t see myself striving for personal achievements. I live day by day, enjoying the moment and enjoying the things I do.
10. Where can readers buy your items?
You can find me on Etsy:
11. How long have you worked as a designer?
After graduation I have worked as a Freelance Fashion designer and 2 years ago I have started to establish my own Brand – Ella Lai.

Ella has been so gracious to pass along a 10% savings to my fashionable followers for orders placed on her Etsy webstore using the promo code 'MINTART170411' which will expire on July 31, 2011.  Happy shopping!

Thanks for taking out your time to do this interview Ella! 

Fashionably yours - Shellena


  1. thank you for these inspirations, I really love it, soo good

  2. Thanks for your comment! Great blog, I'm following now, will you follow back?

    Please take a minute to look at my boutique;

  3. u got a nice blog.I Think your profiles and photography of people is just fabulous!


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Fashionably yours - Shellena ♥

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