Exploring the Wild – Nellie Quats AW17 – Comfortable, Simple, Stylish Childrenswear
To say the last few months have been a whirlwind would be an understatement, for me as a mother I have watched my sweet girl adjust to a new pace of life with the start of school.
Many warned me about how exhausted she would be as we approached the end of the year, but I still don’t think I was fully prepared for quite how wiped out she would be. No doubt once the latest whirlwind of this final term of the year is over, she will be ready just to stop and take a big long breath… before the excitement of Christmas festivities hit!
Often when she is exhausted she often wants to dig-in in front of a DVD and zone out and I absolutely welcome that, however I know myself that getting outdoors is just as important to connect with each other and the environment we are fortunate to live in.
Spending the days in restrictive school uniforms, when we get home from afternoon pick up, the first thing we do is throw off the uniform and find something in her wardrobe that is simple and most important of all, comfortable. I have written about my daughter’s ‘go t0’ pieces before, they range from the sparkly dress from last Christmas, to some really lovely pieces from brands we have grown to love over the last few years.
One such favourite is of course Nellie Quats; I still remember coming across the Nellie Quats Instagram and seeing the beautiful childrenswear available, each piece fitted so well with type of clothing I wanted for my daughter, simple, stylish and comfortable, as so a relationship was formed and over the years, Nellie Quats pieces are regularly worn.
Not only is comfort and simplicity important to me when it comes to the clothes I put my daughter in, but as most know, I hold very strong ethical values when it comes to my daughter’s wardrobe as well as my own. Nellie Quats also has these values, using the finest quality fabrics from sustainable sources, as well as making sure that seamstress who make the clothing are treated fairly… so Nellie Quats has always ticked all the boxes for me in the quest for childrenswear.
Quarter length sleeves of Spring/Summer have been replaced on the Hopscotch Dress with full length sleeves, making it perfect for cooler days. The Hopscotch Dress is available in three fabric options, Dusty Pink, Grey Check and Special Edition Sparkle, in fact the dusty pink Hopscotch Dress has been so popular, it was sold out at the time I was selecting pieces, demonstrating just how popular Nellie Quats has become.
The Conkers Pinafore, which again comes in two fabric options, Red and Grey; this is without a doubt our favourite Nellie Quats piece, having had exactly this pinafore and red fabric previously, the Conkers Pinafore was the outfit of choice for many, many months as it was perfect layered on colder days, but great to wear alone on hot Spring/Summer days, so when the Conkers Pinafore came back for Autumn/Winter and WITH pockets we were thrilled!
Having supported Nellie Quats from the very early days, I have felt so happy to see Nellie Quats become such a well-established and well-loved childrenswear brand online as well as various markets and pop-up events. So, I took some time to ask Nellie Quats founder Elinor Bussell to ask her some questions about Nellie Quats, her plans for the future, successes of the brand, as well as how she comes up with all the fabulous names for her pieces!
Nellie Quats is becoming a firm wardrobe favorite of so many, with its’ timeless and simple style, where do you take your NQ signature style inspiration from?
I think my inspiration comes from lots of different sources. I absolutely love simplicity in clothing and I’m quite influenced by Scandinavian style and design. My designing is colour driven and a fabric often inspires me before I decide on the style of a garment. I have collected and scrapbooked Vogues from a young age so I often find inspiration from those.
What was your inspiration behind the gorgeous AW17 collection?
Autumn is my favourite season, I just love all the beautiful colours that it brings, and my AW collection was really inspired by this. In order to introduce some of winter season into the collection too, I chose lots of variations of cool greys to contrast the warmer autumnal colours.
What are your favourite pieces from AW17 collection?
I absolutely love the dusty pink Hopscotch dress, the fabric is so soft and it’s a really beautiful colour. I think the Conkers Pinafore too is always a favourite of mine. I love the simplicity of it and the detail of the bow at the back.
The ‘Nellie Quats Classics’ Hopscotch Dress and Conkers Pinafore have made a welcome return for AW17, can you tell me a little bit about how you come up with the fabulous names for your pieces?
My brother was the mastermind behind the names of the dresses. He came up with my branding for NQ, designing the packaging to double up as word searches and colouring boxes. The concept of NQ is to be playful and fun for the child, not just for the adult buying the clothes. Following that idea, the dresses are all named after children’s games, most of which we played as children.
You have a strong brand identity, is this something you felt was important when launching Nellie Quats?
I definitely think brand identity is really important. I’m from a family of designers; my brother and my boyfriend are both graphic designers so it’s certainly something that I get a lot of help with. In order to make your brand memorable to customers, it’s important to have a strong, distinct identity that runs throughout everything you do, even the smallest details.
How important are ethics and sustainability to Nellie Quats as a brand?
Very important. I really feel everyone has a responsibility to question where and how things are produced. I try to make conscious choices about packaging, fabric, production of the garments and every aspect of the business, though there are always improvements to be made.
The underlying ethos behind NQ is to create well-made and long lasting clothing that can be passed down to siblings or friends; the antithesis of the fast paced, throw-away fashion industry.
How does your ethical stance affect the choices you make in selecting your fabrics and who makes your clothing?
It definitely influences my choosing of fabric and production. My fabrics are all sourced from UK companies and produced in Europe. One of my main fabrics is linen, which I love for its low environmental impact, using a low amount of energy, no pesticides and only rainwater to produce.
In terms of production of the clothing, I think it’s really important to know where your clothes come from and who made them. I am really proud to say our clothes are designed and made in the UK by individual seamstresses. This way I can guarantee that the women are fairly paid, working their own flexible hours and in comfortable conditions.
Your clothing for girls is just stunning and incredibly popular; do you have any plans to create a collection or pieces for boys in the future?
There is a strong possibility I will expand to boys clothing in the future but I have a few other ideas first. I would love to have a very simple knitwear range and possibly some mumma clothing too. I just have to make sure to remember to grow slowly and not get ahead of myself!
From the perspective of someone who discovered your beautiful clothes right at the start of Nellie Quats, I have been thrilled to see your success, how has social media helped with the success of Nellie Quats?
Social Media has been an amazing tool for spreading the word of NQ, particularly Instagram which is one of my main drivers of traffic to my website. It’s a really wonderful community, with so much support available from other businesses and great for building personal relationships with customers. I love the fact that you can be tagged in a photo; it’s a really wonderful thing to see the clothes that you designed being worn by a customer, and no matter how many photos I’m tagged in, every single one is just as exciting as the first!
// FEATURED //
Nellie Quats – Beautiful, ethical, durable handmade children’s wear
Hopscotch Dress – Long sleeve dress with tie at the back of the neck. Made from light-weight grey check linen that hangs beautifully. Attached gathered skirt sits at a longer length below the knee. Designed to be oversized for a stylish, comfortable fit. Perfect layered over as well as under other pieces.
Conkers Pinafore – Classic pinafore dress made from the highest quality, soft, textured linen with gathered skirt front and elasticated waist back for a comfortable fit. Straps tie through loops at the back so fully adjustable. Two little pockets sit on the front skirt. Designed to sit above the knee. Perfect for layering in cooler weather or stripping back in the summer.