Kāpiti designer Ella Booth is launching a range of equestrian clothing designed to make the rider feel gorgeous while also feeling empowered and beautiful.
Studying at Whitecliffe Fashion Tech from 2018-2020, Ella used her last year to create her equestrian line which has recently been chosen to be shown at New Zealand Fashion Week as part of the graduate show.
"Seven graduates from 2019 and 2020 were selected by a panel of Whitecliffe Fashion Tech lecturers and academic staff and then offered the opportunity to take part this year," programme leader Debra Denny said.
"During her studies Ella was very passionate about art and fashion design, she was equally passionate about her horse and participated in horse trials.
"She has merged her two passions and has identified a niche market where fashion meets function, offering a unique design aesthetic targeted at the equestrian community."
Throughout her study, Ella's goal was to combine her two loves, and is excited her designs have already generated a good response from the Kāpiti horse community, and also the fashion industry.
"I've always wanted to have horses in my life, but I also wanted to do fashion but they didn't really mix that well.
"My options were to go into the city, study fashion, and leave the horses behind or find a way to combine the two.
"I decided to bring them together and make horse-riding clothes so I could keep my passion of being around horses and also start a career in fashion."
At the end of her diploma year, Ella made a collection for the school's end of year graduate show featuring three equestrian garments.
"I made three equestrian garments for that show and knowing that was what I wanted to go into, this year I've been working on starting my business selling equestrian clothing."
Launching her website on September 1, Ella delayed her launch date from its original date of July 6, her birthday, after being asked to have her line in the New Zealand Fashion Week graduate show later this month.
"Right before I was about to launch I got an email from the head of Whitecliffe asking if I would like to be in the graduate show at New Zealand Fashion Week.
"This is cool because equestrian clothes have never been at Fashion Week before.
"I will be the first designer with an equestrian line to walk down the runway at Fashion Week which is pretty awesome."
To make the most of the opportunity Ella pushed out her launch date to work on the fashion show.
"I only wear my stuff out when I'm competing now.
"I do everything myself - from making patterns to sewing, it's all made to order.
"Once you've purchased it you will have to wait a couple of days for it to be made before it will be posted to you.
"I've had lots of interest already because Kāpiti is so big for horsey stuff."
Ella tests all her designs herself, making sure they are comfortable to ride in.
"There's no frilly stuff for horse riding in New Zealand yet, it's all flat and plain.
"My designs are different to the plain, boring black equestrian outfits out there.
"They're lacey, pretty and stylish.
"I want to have my customers going out at a show and hear people say 'wow, that's gorgeous'.
"I ride in all my designs to make sure that as well as looking stylish, they're comfortable and rideable."
Ella is starting out by offering show tops, and will then move on to show jackets and pants as her business expands.
Always having a tall and skinny build, Ella knows what it's like to have clothes that don't fit properly.
"When I launch, you will be able to choose a size which I will then make, and eventually I will be doing made to measure garments where you can send in your measurements, and I will make garments specifically to fit."
Everything is designed and made in Kāpiti at Ella's Otaihanga home with garments available for purchase from September 1 under the name Ella Bella Equestrian.