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How it all started

18 September, 2013

antique-sewing-machineOnce upon a time there was a little girl who loved her grandma very, very much. Yep, the little girl is me. My grandma (my mom’s mom) used to live in a small Romanian village, a few dozen kilometers from the seaside city of Constanta, which is my hometown.
My parents used to take me to her place when I was just a few years old, because my father used to work in Bucharest and my mother had to spend a year in Bucharest too, to get her specialty degree. It was in the 80s, the last and hardest years of the Communist regime in Romania. Food was also hard to find in stores so me and my brother had to stay in the countryside at my grandma’s so we could actually have something to eat, as her and my grandpa were, of course, growing all the food.
I spent that year (I was 3, my brother was 1) entirely in the countryside, and that is also the place where I spent a lot of summer holidays afterwards. My grandma’s place was a fascinating universe in itself. The 100 year old house surrounded by a vast yard with gardens, trees, storages, barns, animals and birds, hay-stacks, was our playground and exploration field.
But one thing that had its particular fascination to me was her sewing machine. It was an old treadle machine, I don’t remember the brand, but looked something like this (no, mine was not a Singer):

rioMy grandma used to make bed sheets, table cloths and such, but I don’t remember having seen her making clothes or… anything at all. Just that the machine was there and I was endlessly curious to see what it does but no-one ever showed me. I remember playing with the treadle just to hear the sound it made and to see how fast I can push it to move… but that’s it. No-one taught me how to actually use it and I don’t even know if it was functional at all when I noticed it.
At the same time I remember I was passionate about making dolls’ clothes. So passionate that I used to steal scraps of fabrics from my mom’s fabrics, by literally cutting pieces of them, no matter how precious they were and how much she cared about them. I was merciless. I NEEDED those fabrics for my “creations” and nothing else mattered.
Fast forward to the beginning of 2010. In the 18 years that had passed, I gave up making dolls’ clothes and embraced a more pragmatic course of life, with lots of maths, some writing, and some economics and finally marketing and advertising. And some PhD in communication stuff. So no, no art school, no fancy schmancy fashion design university, no nothing.

One fine day I found out about a costume party I was supposed to attend 2 weeks later. I had this crazy idea of wearing the costume of a Brazilian samba dancer (you know, like the ones you see at the Rio carnival). But I could not find a nice costume for rent and to buy one would have meant spending 200 euros. So I decided to make it with my own 2 hands using stuff I could find around or buy. And after 2 weeks of struggle without a sewing machine (including ordering ostrich feathers online… and sewing and assembling everything by hand) I came out with this:
Then after making this costume (and shocking everyone at the party) I just felt I could not stop there. So I borrowed my cousin’s sewing machine, learned how to sew, bought lots of fabrics and started getting crazy with them.
Things got serious when I moved to Milan and, having only my PhD as a job, I could really get seriously into sewing, learned new techniques and studied some fashion business and fashion marketing.
During these 2 years I invested all the extra money I had into buying fabrics from all over Europe during my trips, buying 2 new and fancy-schmancy sewing machines, manequins, and all the tools I needed. I am now the proud owner of a vast atelier I had built without even realizing. So this is how Elochka was born: when I found out I didn’t care so much about making clothes for myself, and wanted to share them with the world. I’m only getting started, so make sure you join the ride!

Love,
Ela

 

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