Retail therapy: Ellie Mae opens flagship store to expand tactile clothing

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For Ellie Mae Waters, designing clothes is a form of self-expression. “My personal life experience is what inspires me the most. It’s the most authentic thing that can inspire me, ”says creative director of seven-year-old women’s clothing line Ellie Mae, designed and produced in Toronto. The song is equally inspiring for Waters. “I don’t think I’m ever in a room without music,” she said.

In August, Waters and his partner Jeremy Wood-Ross, CEO and sales director of the brand, expanded Ellie Mae from her loft-style studio in downtown Toronto to open her first flagship store. Designed by interior designer Ashley Montgomery, the store is as much a reflection of Waters’ work process as its final product. “A lot of my creative process has to do with the physical touch of fabrics,” says Waters. “We wanted to make this stand out as much as possible in the physical space.” In addition to the tactile elements, Waters uncovered some of the space’s original architectural details to reveal its uniqueness. They also added a mix of vintage furniture to complement the serene pink and white color scheme, as well as the vintage clothing selection. “There aren’t a lot of feelings that beat nostalgia for me, it just takes you to a happy place,” Waters says.

The fall collection, which Waters calls Magic Hour and includes comfy knit sweaters and floral-print dresses, is also evocative of feelings of contentment. “I crave those quiet moments of sunrises and sunsets,” Waters says.

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Ellie Mae Studios, 1096 Yonge Street, Toronto, 437-224-0904, elliemastudios.com.

Ellie Mae Lloyd jacket, $ 645.

Ellie Mae Lana dress, $ 545.

Ellie Mae Luciana sweater, $ 475.

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