Elle La is an Amsterdam based interior brand founded in 2020. Elle La was born from a desire to change the way of making. We believe that making is essential to being human. In a world that is increasingly disconnected from makers and producers, Elle La focuses on craftsmanship by local makers, circular use of natural materials, and design that stays true to the materials.
We are transparent about the origin of our natural fabrics, the ingredients, and processes of making: from growing the fibers and dyeing fabrics according to sometimes age-old traditions in local communities, to designing and manufacturing our products on demand at Atelier Made Here in Amsterdam.
We want to enable you to connect with our products by sharing the stories of our makers working locally in Amsterdam, Europe, Africa, and elsewhere.
Our products are a celebration of craftsmanship. At Elle La, craftspeople are involved in every stage of making. A crafted object tells the story of a unique human being putting their skills and effort into its making.
Valuing craftsmanship is about experiencing an authentic connection to the person behind a product. This connection is what elevates a crafted object from the world of soulless mass-produced things – a world in which we have become entirely disconnected from makers and producers.
We believe that awareness of an object’s story, of the history behind a craft, can contribute to choosing objects more consciously, and to taking better care of the products we choose to surround ourselves with.
Elle La’s core collection starts from traditional, locally handmade natural fabrics from the Dogon region in Mali. Our sleek designs of solid colors are inspired by these materials that arrive in straight bands. The designs are then brought to life by the Syrian textile artisans working at Atelier Made Here in Amsterdam, who landed here after fleeing their country.
Materials and making
The bands of natural fabric at the heart of Elle La’s core collection are made by a small community of traditional weavers and dyers living in close connection to nature in the Dogon area in Mali. The women in this community are responsible for picking and spinning cotton, after which men weave the cotton into bands on small handlooms measuring 16-17cm. The textile bands are then treated with the pulp of pods to ensure colorfastness. Materials for dyeing the fabric are provided by the earth: fermented tree bark (brown), pods (yellow), indigo leaves (indigo blue), and iron-rich mud from the Nigerian delta (black). The process of dyeing takes over a week, with women tending to indigo and yellow dyes, and men taking care of the brown and black pigmentation. In the Dogon region, these fabrics are worn for protection at particularly vulnerable or powerful moments in life. This tradition of weaving and dyeing is in danger of disappearing, since young people increasingly leave the region. By establishing a direct and fair payment system to the artisans in the Dogon community, we support the makers and hope to support the continuity of this age-old craft.
About Brosk Hussein
Brosk was born in Afrin, in the province of North-Aleppo.
Already at a young age he went to the city of Aleppo, Syria, to learn to become a tailor. He quickly felt Aleppo was a bit chaotic and not a great place to learn, and moved to Beiroet, Lebanon. There the fashion industry was much more efficient and Brosk learned a lot in different kind of jobs. At some point he got the opportunity to work with well-known designers such as Georges Hobeika and Dani Atrash. Brosk loved making evening gowns and weddingdresses for the high society of Saudi Arabia and the Emirates. In 2015 Brosk fled for the war in his country and came to the Netherlands.
About Najib Khalil
Najib is from Aleppo in Syria, and has more than 35 years of experience in the clothing industry.
When he was 13 years old, he started working in a clothing factory. Over the years he learnt all about fabrics and sewing techniques for making female clothing. In 1993 Najib moved to Beirut to work with Elie Saab, where he gained a lot of experience with making designer gowns. In 1996 he opened his own atelier specialised in women’s clothing. The following years Najib worked a lot in Syria and Lebanon, until he moved to the Netherlands in 2015, fleeing from war.
About Ella Hustinx
Ella founded her company, Elle La, in 2020. At the time she was still working for an international consultancy firm, Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC). She always fostered a great interest for traditional crafts. While traveling though Asia & Central America she was already adjusting her travels to the traditional crafts along the way.
In 2020 she encounterd Elizabeth Visser, who shared the same interest for traditional crafts. Elizabeth worked for the United Nations and imported traditional textiles from artisans she encountered. While visiting her atelier in Hengelo she immedietly fell in love with the traditional Malian fabrics and felt a strong desire to work with them.
She has the ambition to make products that are made with love and care, that have a story to tell and contribute to the lives of the makers. In her designs she likes the textiles to steal the show. Working with traditional crafts but exhibited in a more contemporary way. This way she hopes the contribute to a renewed appreciation for true craftmanship.