Chanel Joan Elkayam

Kicking off her fashion career at the tender teenage age of 16, Chanel Joan Elkayam has broken fashion records, as the youngest fashion designer to complete the big four fashion weeks by the time she was 20 years old. Here is a little bit about how this happened and what keeps her going.

Kicking off her fashion career at the tender teenage age of 16, Chanel Joan Elkayam has broken fashion records, as the youngest fashion designer to complete the big four fashion weeks by the time she was 20 years old. Here is a little bit about how this happened and what keeps her going.

How do you balance life between showing at all the major fashion weeks whilst still completing your BA at Central Saint Martins?

Time management is an important factor in balancing my work, education and social life.

Is it correct to say that you started showcasing your collections before completing a design course? What inspired you to chase your dream so quickly? Has this been beneficial when enrolling in a fashion design course?

Yes, I started showcasing when I was 16 years old, long before I started my degree at Central Saint Martins. My mother inspired me to chase my dreams and not to delay anything. She gave me confidence, teaching me that age should not be a barrier to starting my career.

It has definitely been beneficial as when I began university I was ahead, with the skills and experience I had already gained in the fashion industry.

You are certainly not short of drive. Do you have any words of wisdom for other millenials who are starting their careers?

I think it is important to pursue your dreams as early as you can, once you know that is what you want in life. Whilst many millennials are now wasting time on social media, with no real purpose, just looking at who’s in a relationship with who or who has what, I am using social media for professional purposes and to push my brand further.

You recently launched your A/W 2018 collection during Milan Fashion Week. Your inspiration came from a very personal place – the story of your grandmother. Can you give us a little insight into your thought process from design concept to final product? Is it an emotional process?

Absolutely, all my collections involve an emotional process and there’s meaning behind them. It is all part of my design aesthetic.

My collection “Nonna”, which was showcased in Milan Fashion Week (on-schedule), was inspired by my grandmother’s life story. My grandma, who passed away a year ago, was born in Tripoli. Tripoli was controlled by the Italian dictator Mussolini. He had a plan for the Nazi regime there and before this took place my grandmother and her family ran away from Tripoli leaving behind properties, businesses and everything they owned. They left with only one bag.

My grandmother’s story and the fact that she survived and lived happily until the age of 85 inspired me. I was thinking about the period of time in which she lived in and what she went through. All my thoughts came together into mood boards, selecting fabrics, design developments and the final collection.

Could you tell us about your most unforgettable behind the scenes moment… 

Throughout the years, since starting my career, everything has been unforgettable. However my most unforgettable moment was when I was at Paris Fashion Week showcasing my AW16 collection and I received an email from Central Saint Martins to say I was accepted to their prestigious Womenswear Degree.

Who is the Chanel Joan Elkayam woman?

An independent woman who believes in the empowerment of women. She is a boss. Feminine, seductive and elegant. Fearless and unstoppable. Powerful and comfortable in her own body.

Quick facts about Chanel Joan Elkayam:

Current playlist: Netta Barzilay

Top travel destination: Mediterranean countries

Magazines, print or online? Both

Favourite season: Spring

Favourite Designer: Dior

Most prized possession: Jewellery passed down to me from my grandmother

Favourite Instagram page: @ivankatrump

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