Thirty year old, Welsh-born, Elliott Frieze has a pure, almost angelic quality in his face and voice. He loves to work in his atelier in Wales in the morning. “There are too many distractions in London,” he says, “much as I love it.” Elliott’s first season in London was this past February 2010. He designs for men and women, though his university degree was in history, politics and economics. “My father always told me it was always good to have a good degree behind you.” After studies in England, Paris and Berlin, Elliott’s good looks won him modeling contracts with Seeds Model Management in Berlin. He ended up at University College in London where he got his degree in 2002. As his first language is Welsh, early jobs included participation in television documentaries in Wales.
Enter his first fashion muse, Michiko Koshino, from the Japanese fashion industry. The two moved together to Notting Hill, where Elliott says Michiko taught him “how to work hard and make it work for you.”
“I wake up in the morning, I design, I think, I cut and I sew,” he says. “My work is quintessentially British with a slim, tailored silhouette. When it comes to cutting, you can draw it on. That’s Saville Row tailoring and (the late) Alexander McQueen’s technique.”
“I design with a wardrobe in mind—everything British.” Both Elliott’s sisters are equestrians, “so last season was equestrian.” He began his business under the name Kasimi with partner Prince Khalid bin Sultan of Sharjah after the two met in University College London.
Anna Popperwell, a good friend of seven years, who played Susan in Narnia and was in the picture The Girl with the Pearl Earring as well as Prince Caspian is another muse. “This season will have the Oxford-Cambridge influence. Tennis, society, especially political societies reflecting David Cameron and Boris Johnson, dressed in a certain English way. ”
Elliott is known for working with top models such as Erin O’Conner, Lily Cole, Yasmin and Amber Le Bon, Jaquetta Wheeler and Carmen Dell Orefice, in other words, women of all ages. “Fabrics for men and women are the same, but the cuts are different. My women’s collection is not overtly feminine but I always include draping. I always start by designing menswear and then interpreting into the women’s wear collection” “I want Elliott J. Frieze to be a life-style brand. I’d love to have boutique hotels. I admire Paul Smith and would love to someday create the same aura in my own stores.”
Elliott J. Frieze has set high standards for himself, and appears to love every minute of the business. A breath of fresh air, I thought, as we said good-bye, just what this sometimes jaded industry needs.