Living in the coastal suburb of Beaumaris, on the outskirts of Melbourne, Australia, fashion designer Danielle Sanders is constantly surrounded by the beauty of nature. And so it’s little wonder that she only uses natural fibres for her womenswear label Ella Sanders.
Her passion for all things natural has been with her from a young age, spending holidays on her grandparents’ wool farm. “My Mum grew up in regional Victoria in Elaine, where the farm and shearing shed is located. She learnt to knit from a young age and visits were filled with wonderful memories of playing with woollen fleeces and playing in the shearing shed with my cousins.”
Later in life, as a textile design student, she came to fully appreciate Merino wool yarn and how it was made, after learning about synthetic fibres.
“Learning where and how man-made fibres were made pushed me into thinking more about natural fibres, and this seems the only way to go,” she said.
Team this passion with her flair for knitting - a skill passed down by her mother and grandmother - and it forms the backbone of the Ella Sanders brand, which she launched in 2008.
“Mum used to hand-knit most nights on the couch and I thought I’ll give this a go. I knitted very large gauge scarves, beanies and headbands under my first brand dsanders. I sold these to a range of boutique stores in Melbourne. From there it firmed up my decision to study textile design at RMIT and major in knitwear design.”
Now stocked in more than 100 stores across Australia and New Zealand, and available online, the brand has garnered a strong following for its signature, ultra-luxe appeal from across the globe.
“Our clients range from mid-twenties through to 70-plus, which is really wonderful to see. The one thing that our customer loves is the quality of our knitwear, understanding that it will last throughout many seasons. I love wool’s durability, softness and natural qualities. It’s beautiful to wear and treated with love it will last throughout many seasons.
“I get so excited seeing the range of new colours each season across melanges and solid colour - the colour combinations are endless sometimes. Each season we see clients come to us for our use of colour, pattern and stitch techniques for that point of difference. We are known for our superfine Merino, and once you understand the quality and longevity combined with unique design you can’t turn back.”