"I hope to be dressing the worlds most iconic women."
Today's interview takes me straight back to a beautiful summerday in 2015. That day I had the pleasure to meet Chanel Joan Elkayam, a Fashion student at Central Saint Martins, while she was browsing faux fur coats in a hip little vintage store in Manchester. After talking about our shared love of all things fashion, I knew that I had met an interesting, young woman with ambition. What I didn't know back then, is that a little more than one year later, I'd be talking to her again, trying to find out how the 19 year old from a little town in the English countryside has brought her collection to the international catwalks, what her inspirations, dreams and ambitions are.
S : Chanel, was it always your ambition to become a designer?
C: Yes, I have! I have always wanted to be a fashion designer for as long as I can remember.
S: Chanel, this past year has been a dream come true! How do you explain your success at such a young age?
C: I always put a lot of effort and work into everything I do. I started my own clothing line when I was 16 years old with my mother’s encouragement. I have set a goal and that’s what I want to achieve. Nothing will stop me. There will be plenty of obstacles along the way but the key thing is to never give up. Always believe that something amazing is about to happen.
S: Tell me about New York! Were you scared?
C: New York Fashion Week was a surreal experience. It was unbelievable to see how many people had come to see my show. I was a little scared as it was such a magnificent event, bigger than anything I had ever done before.
The feeling I get every time I go out onto the stage after the show will never change, every single time I just feel like I’m in a dream.
S: I was a big fan of your SS17 collection, can you tell me what inspired you?
C: For my SS17 “Solo Flight” collection I was inspired by a quote which the American aviator Edna Gardner Whyte had said during her first solo flight on new years’ day in 1931. She was a woman ahead of her time, she spoke the words that not only inspired generations of women but also served as an inspiration for myself.
She said:“Just watch, all of you. I’ll show you what a woman can do… I’ll go across the country; I’ll race to the Moon… I’ll never look back”
S: How would you describe the collection in your own words?
Lightweight draping fabrics create a sense of movement and fluidity throughout the collection, punctuated by structural tailoring that evoke an element of power and elegance outside of the traditionally masculine context with pleats, embellishments and slit sleeves.
S: Do you have a favorite piece in the collection and why?
Every garment is my favourite! Each garment represents myself in some sort of way.
S: I know you made a lot of great experiences, but what was the most exciting moment in your fashion career so far
C- It has all been so exciting!The most exciting moments during my fashion career would be when I was invited to showcase my collections at the most prestigious fashion weeks.
Another very special moment was when I received my acceptance email to the Central Saint Martins Womenswear degree. I received this whilst I was in Paris Fashion Week showcasing my AW16 collection!
S - How has your experience at Central Saint Martins been so far and how did you profit from it so far?
My experience at Saint Martins has been breathtaking! I feel like I have developed so much as a designer since joining Central Saint Martins. The teachers are open-minded and they have taught me to realise that my work is faultless and that imperfections are in fact perfect! This has allowed me to develop my work to a much greater level.
S- Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
C - In 5 years time I hope to see my label at the forefront of the fashion industry. I would like my label to be sold in Harrods, Bergdorf Goodman, Selfridges and Browns. I hope to become an inspiration for others.
I hope to be dressing the worlds most iconic women.
S- Thank you for the insight to your life as an designer - I wish you all the best on your way, and I hope I see your dresses at Harrods soon!