There are lots of reasons to be interested in clothes. But without getting into the anthropological history of fashion, the easiest reason (other than, you know, not being naked) is simply that they can be visually appealing. You remember that first moment when you saw a piece of clothing that you really liked; you were five and those orange sweatpants symbolized independence; maybe it was when you were 15 and your best friend wore a dress that suddenly made her look like an adult; browsing through a second-hand shop and realizing that, sartorially, you should have been born in the ’70s (high-waisted skin tight denim 4eva).
Looking through Elevate London’s look book, I had one of those moments. I’m a sucker for tailored-casual, monochrome and leather jackets. So Elevate is kind of like catnip for me.
Founded by Marcel Robin and Alexandre Ruimy in 2012, Elevate quickly gained a following as a brand that looks at home in any number of cosmopolitan cities; luxe basics that can highlight almost everyone’s personal style.
Born in Senegal, Robin moved to Paris at age 11. In 2009, he moved to London where he worked as a club promoter and designed t-shirts on the side.
“I’ve always been interested in clothes,” he tells me while we chat on Skype. “It just took a bit of time to get from that to where Elevate started.”
It was after being in London for three years that Robin met Ruimy, a Parisian originally from Morocco. “It was instant,” he says. “Elevate started a month later.” The name, he adds, has been the same since their first meeting. “We were always Elevate,” he explains. “The idea is that you put on our clothes and they elevate you. Your look, your mood. It’s a way to feel your best.”
Looking at the clothes, I can see why. The pieces themselves aren’t necessarily glamorous or flashy; they look high-quality, luxurious and, for a brand still in its infancy, surprisingly self-confident.
With the launch of their second collection, Robin and Ruimy have already had excellent feedback. “People like the quality. They also like our passion for creating something beautiful.” Marcel tells me. This passion is evident in their production values, which includes sourcing all fabric from Italy and having the clothes made in a London-based factory.
At this point in the interview, I stop Marcel. “I’m sorry, I need to make sure I got that right,” I say suspiciously. “Your clothes are made in London?” Robin laughs, “Yes.” It’s not that I don’t believe him. It’s just that…well, isn’t it a little expensive?
“It is,” agrees Robin. “But it was important to us to be involved in every part of the process. I go to the factory pretty much every day. We always know what’s happening with the line and that’s the way we think it should always be.”
Needless to say, this impressed me. Aside from the aesthetic of the clothing, Elevate’s production model has all the tenants of Scandinavian design: locally designed and made, strong attention to detail and quality, functionality as well as beauty.
Currently selling from their webshop and in stores in the UK, Italy and USA, Elevate sells most in London. They ship internationally, however, and are looking to expand. One of the reasons we’re excited to include them in Scandi Dandies is that Elevate’s style is an almost comically great fit with Scandinavian fashion.
While Marcel says that he and Alexandre are inspired by youth culture, the overall look of the line is both sophisticated and clean. It’s a look that works almost everywhere but is especially pervasive throughout Scandinavia.
The next steps for Elevate will hopefully continue their upwards trajectory. They’re planning a capsule collection for Spring/Summer ’16 and hope to show in London during Men’s Fashion Week, Autumn/Winter ’15. They’ve been looking into running a pop-up shop in central London, which Marcel says is a way to test whether they’re interested in opening a permanent storefront. And, excitingly, Elevate is now planning an artist collaboration for a shoe line. Having just hired international PR and now in the process of re-launching their website, Marcel and Alexandre are keeping themselves busy.
That may seem like a lot for a brand with only two years of output, but when you take a look at the clothes it just seems right. The brand doesn’t feel, and has never felt, small; it’s no wonder that celebrities and regular customers alike are so in love with Elevate. The tenor of the brand is one of maturity. If this is where they’re starting, we can’t wait to see where they go.
See more and shop the collection here.
Photo credit: Ivan Ruberto