Elle B Mambetov was originally born and bred in Texas, she moved to London in 2011 to begin her career in fashion. The 2012 debut of her womenswear label Elle B Zhou at London Fashion Week was a hit and she quickly became the new designer to watch. While her star was on the rise, Elle was dealt an unexpected blow derailing the launch of her empire for two years. Betrayed by a friend she was falsely accused of a crime and spent time in a maximum-security UK prison before the U.S. Government stepped in to free her. Elle documented her unbelievable story in her 2019 book A6347DW: American Captive which can be found on Apple. Through perseverance, she was able to turn tragedy into triumph when she moved to Los Angeles to relaunch her womenswear line Elle B Zhou which is now bigger than ever. Along with her flagship store in the Beverly Center, Elle is poised to change the perception of modest fashion with her bold luxury designs. Elle’s multi-brand boutique showcases not only her own brand but other Middle Eastern brands such as Yataghan, Okhtein, Azzi & Osta, SemSem, and European brands such as Ecriteau and Dreamboule. Her latest womenswear collection “Let the Stars Be Our Guide” exhibits a constellation map over Mecca in an industry pioneering online virtual presentation with the help of Egyptian actress Huda El Mufti. This hot young designer is making headlines in such publications as Forbes, Essence, Glamour UK, Vogue Australia, and Marie Clare Arabia. A recent partner with Farfetch, Elle made exclusive color-infused modest designs for this international platform in celebration of Ramadan. Elle lends her voice as a FEED Ambassador and together with Lauren Bush Lauren is helping provide meals and support to children all over the world. When not working or giving back to her community, Elle enjoys bike riding, hiking, and spending time with her family.
Sassy & Co Magazine recently caught up with Elle to discuss her journey in the fashion world and here’s what went down:
1.How did you get into the fashion industry?
No one invited me that’s for sure. I had this plan in my mind and just invited myself in. I moved to China to learn about manufacturing before moving to London and making my debut as a London Fashion Week Designer.
2.What do you like most about being a designer?
I am a creator, so being a fashion designer allows me to be innately who I am. It’s such a blessing to be able to do what you love. Making custom prints and then imagining them into garments is such a dreamy experience.
3.Downside to being a fashion designer?
There is no downside to being a fashion designer when it is your dream. Being a business owner has its ups and downs and its own challenges, but being a fashion designer is as truly magical and whimsical as one would imagine. I love it.
4.What has been the most memorable experience of being in the fashion industry so far?
My very first opening of London Fashion Week with my womenswear line Elle B. Zhou is something I will never forget. That moment for me represented so much more than just the unveiling of a new collection. It was proof to myself that I had evolved in fashion in a way that I never thought I would, as I had always been afraid of womenswear. I feared that women wouldn’t understand the designs I was making for them. The positive feedback was something I will always hold dear in that moment.
5.Who have been the most interesting people you’ve met so far?
People are people, whether celebrities or some of my best clients in the Elle B Zhou boutique, I am so honored to have to love and support of so many people who love the brand and the boutique.
6.What has been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned while in the fashion industry. This can be about the industry or about yourself.
It’s important to be true to yourself and your own design aesthetic. It’s that, that people will love and respect you for in the end.
7. Is your family supportive of you being a fashion designer?
Absolutely! My mom was very supportive from day one of me finding my passion in life. As a child, while I was very immersed in arts and crafts and sewing lessons, I also took tennis, ballet, basketball, soccer, and baseball. My mom was adamant we find our passion. She got a little bit nervous at times when I would do something random in my career like up and move to China, but she has always been supportive.
8. If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were just getting started, what would you do differently?
Never take that Virgin gym membership where I met the man who stole my identity…. In some ways, it’s such a hard question to answer. I believe that everything happens for a reason so I try to learn from the things that have happened that I didn’t like and would want to change, no matter how dire they have been.
9. What is the best advice you have ever been given?
My mother has always called me her magnum opus, meaning “a large and important work of art, music, or literature, especially one regarded as the most important work of an artist or writer.” I was always told I was special, and I believed her. Even when it felt like the world was against me, and in the moments I felt alone, I believed in myself. Even if no one believes in you, always believe in yourself.
10. What are your future plans? Inside your career or out of it in yourself.
The Elle B Zhou boutique is growing in some exciting new ways, and I am looking forward to the future of the company, the brand, and my own personal growth. I think I’m nearly ready to start having kids so that will be an exciting adventure of its own! We’ll see what happens, whatever Allah wills.
The ‘LIGHTNING FAST’ Round:
1. Last good movie I’ve seen: The Woman In the Window with Julianne Moore and Amy Adams
2. What do you consider beautiful and why? Color, I just love it. It makes me very happy.
3. What haven’t you done yet that you wish you could? I really want to visit Tokyo, Japan.
4. Complete this sentence: “If I had no fear, I’d ” Relax.
5. What is the one “flaw” you wouldn’t change about yourself? I have no concept of time and my internal clock is genuinely off. But it allows me to work fast and accomplish things faster
because I don’t seem realize it’s only been one week instead of
one month, or two months instead of 5 or 6.