A De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) graduate unexpectedly discovered she had a knack for writing and combined it with her flair for fashion to land a top job.
Emma Gorton-Ellicott had spent more than 15 years working in various designer roles in the fashion industry when she was inspired to start her own blog.
DMU graduate Emma Gorton-Ellicott works as a Fashion Editor in Bristol
The former Fashion student had no idea she had a passion for writing and quickly made a name for herself airing her views through her blog No Debutante.
It was Emma’s popularity and huge online following that landed her the job of Fashion Editor at the news and what’s on website Bristol 24/7.
She says she loves her job and is pleased she has ‘stayed true to herself’ by becoming a champion of local, independent and sustainable labels, especially those making small ranges.
Emma said: “I had no idea I loved writing as much as I do. I’ve had no formal writing training but I’ve pretty much gone from clothes designer to journalist.
“It just seemed like a natural progression and I’m so grateful to have this great writing opportunity at the heart of the Bristol fashion scene.
“I write about the latest trends, fashion previews and launches but no two days are the same as I never know what I’ll be covering.
“Everything has just worked out so well. Having a blog gave me a platform that got me recognised.”
With her own change in direction in mind, Emma’s advice to current DMU students would be to ‘follow your hearts’ and ‘keep your options open’ as you never know what opportunities could be around the corner.
She explained: “Just be yourself, don’t try to be someone you are not. If you enjoy it, you should just try it.
“If something is not working out, work on your strengths and head in that direction. Just keep learning by trying new things.”
Emma Gorton-Ellicott when she graduated from DMU
Emma grew up in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, saying she was always ‘really interested in fashion.’ However, she was always more into the creative rather than the corporate side of the industry as she’s never been a label-lover.
She graduated from DMU in 1998 having studied Fashion and Textile Design, specialising in Contour.
Emma said: “I had very happy times as a student. The best thing about the course was that it was so full on, it was like a 9-5 job which really opened my eyes to what work would be like.
“When I wasn’t at lectures, I was always making stuff, I was forever designing.
“I learnt so much at DMU; I learnt how to use sewing machines and all the relevant design techniques. I picked up all the basic knowledge that I needed, it was a great start in understanding the industry.”
Emma remained in Leicester for a further six years after university, designing girls wear for High Street brands such as Debenhams, New Look and Peacocks. She was employed by Superior Garments and worked her way up the company from junior designer to senior designer to account manager.
As a hobby she also made and customised her own clothes and sold them at a shop in Silver Arcade.
Emma decided to move back to the West Country with her now husband Phil. Settling in Bristol, she set up her own punk fashion label called Phlem. She built up the business and made a living out of making clothes, particularly denim, print-making, streetwear and clubwear. She sold her designs at markets and online.
With three children, Emma decided to try ‘something new with more child-friendly hours’ so started her blog to document her own unique sense of style about seven years ago. Her children are now aged 14, 11 and six and her blog is still going strong as Emma continues to share her views on her favourite designers, style icons, latest purchases and current obsessions.
Emma said: “When the children were younger, it was hard to run my own business.
“So I just started to write a fashion blog to keep my hand in the fashion world. I would just write about my outfits as people used to comment on what I wore. I still only ever write about what I am passionate about.
“At the time I was just trying my luck with it, I didn’t know what it would lead to, it just grew and grew, but I believe in fate and everything has worked out just fine.”
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Emma also continues to work as a DJ, running her own successful club night in Bristol called Bang, which has recently celebrated its 15th anniversary. She is also starting to design clothes again through her new fashion label, Fruit Salad.
She summed up her career by saying: “It’s crazy, but I like to be busy.”
Posted on Thursday 28th June 2018