Words by Brianah Smith
For years, I have heard about the Elle effect. I didn’t fully understand it until myself and other lucky students at The Fashion Institute were graced last week by the beautiful, humble beach babe, Elle Ferguson. As someone who knew she wanted to work in fashion, unsure exactly where, Ferguson offered students insight into how she got to where she is today; a digital influencer with over 600k followers and the founder and creative director of Elle Effect, a brand now stocked in Mecca.
After graduating from Enmore Design Centre, Elle went on to work as the National Visual Merchandising Manager for One Teaspoon. Eighteen months later, she moved onto General Pants Co as the head of Womenswear Visual Merchandising. It was during this time that Elle started They All Hate Us, a blog which garnered a cult following. Around the time of launching her blog, Instagram had popped onto the scene as she says, “it was my sister who told me I should be on this new app”.
But pure luck is not the reason Elle Ferguson is where she is today, and that is the message she wanted the students to understand. It’s hard work and includes being on a train at 3 am to be at the office for a 5 am shoot. It’s catching two trains and a bus to get to school, or even running for an hour, six days a week, every week. Success isn’t about appearances or how many followers you have. Success is about how hard you’re willing to work to achieve your goals. Success is about holding yourself accountable for your actions; in the end, it is on you. Your success and whether you reach your goals are on you.
As the Founder and Creative Director of her brand Elle Effect, stating, that she was “inspired by those with a platform creating their brands” as she uses Kim Kardashian as an example with KKW and Skims. But for students here at TFI, it is Ferguson that they look to as a successful and self-funded business owner, proving that success comes from resilience and never accepting no for an answer. Being resilient is something that Elle Ferguson knows too well. After constant knockbacks from chemists in Australia, Elle went overseas and found a chemist that believed in her product, showcasing to the students that if you believe in your product and never give up, you will find someone that will believe in you.
Even after meeting the Kardashians and being friends with celebrity hairstylist Jen Atkin, Ferguson is still such a down to earth and kind woman who wants to support women and men in reaching their goals. Through her new podcast: Sliding Doors, Elle is inspiring the next generation. From her story and stories her guests share, listeners gain a deeper understanding of what it means to become successful and the strength it takes.
The kindness that Elle showed at TFI, as she asked every student where they are currently interning and what field they would like to go in to, and even taking selfies with students afterwards, further proves the type of person Elle Ferguson is.
Having the opportunity to learn more about Elle and her journey that has led her to where she is now and getting to meet her, all thanks to The Fashion Institute, is a memory I and many other students will cherish.