Meet the Soton student who launched her own clothing brand over lockdown

And all you did was get addicted to TikTok

Whilst most of us were scrolling through TikTok and avoiding uni work during the first lockdown, Ella-Marie started her own clothing brand: Hart&Co. Clothing.

A third-year Music student at the University of Southampton, Ella-Marie started making clothes during lockdown and realised she could make it into a business. She started out making crop tops and now has made accessories, and embroidered t-shirts and jumpers.

Ella-Marie spoke to the Soton Tab about her clothing brand:

‘I found out I loved being able to make my own clothes’

Ella-Marie said: “Like everyone else, I got so bored during lockdown and ended up turning to online shopping for summer clothes.

“I kept getting so frustrated when I couldn’t find anything I liked enough to buy! So I stole my Nana’s 30-year-old sewing machine and handmade a crop top out of some old curtain fabric I had around.

“I found out I loved being able to make my own clothes.”

She said it started off as a hobby and she had no intention that it would turn into a business. “I didn’t think I was going to be any good at it to begin with and definitely didn’t think others would wear them.

“I started making them and wearing them out the house and I got so many comments from friends and family about how I should sell them, so I sent a few to my friends before I launched [the business] to make sure I could make clothes to other people’s measurements and they loved them!

“That’s when I sort of realised that maybe it would be a cool idea to turn it into a business! I’ve always loved the idea of working for myself or having my own business so I ran with it.”

‘I wanted to be a slow fashion brand’

Apart from her most recent line which includes t-shirts and sweatshirts, Ella-Marie makes all her crop tops from fabrics she is given or finds in charity shops.

She told the Soton Tab: “I wanted to be a slow fashion brand and not just source everything from outside wholesalers, and also make unique items but at affordable prices.

“I think there’s something just so satisfying about knowing your piece of clothing was once a pillowcase or curtain.

“And usually the fabrics you find in charity shops are one-off that you can’t find in fabric shops. Customers love the idea of having something no one else does!”

‘It’s not too bad balancing uni and the business’

Ella-Marie studies Music at uni alongside running her clothing brand.

“Right now it’s not too bad balancing uni and the business, at the moment I work on a preorder way of releasing new clothes.

“So the sweatshirt launch at the moment, customers will preorder their sweatshirt, I”ll get them [the orders] all in and do orders ready to be sent out on a two-week turnaround.”

She says this is easier than having orders constantly and helps her balance her uni work.

She also said: “It’s so fun having uni students as my target market as I’ve bumped into a few people wearing my items and it’s so heartwarming when that happens”.

The future of Hart and Co

Ella-Marie said: “There will definitely be a few more drops to look out for in the next few months, I’m just so excited to see how it grows in the future!”

She also said: “We’re always looking for voluntary models that might be around Southampton, we want to be as inclusive as possible.

“I leave it up to the model to style my pieces for shoots so that their own personal flare and personality comes out and they feel super comfortable in front of the camera and it makes it more authentic.”

You can find Hart&Co. Clothing on Instagram.

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