Ela: Ela & Martin Aldorsso

Late this March, I had the opportunity to interview Ela and Martin Aldorsson, the duo behind Ela. If you're looking for a new Spring staple, look no further than their Jungle Punk SS14 collection. 

The Aldorssons embrace something they call "Humble Luxury", or a minimalist approach to the finer things in life - from your wardrobe to the way great design in the smallest capacity elevates your lifestyle.

Learn more about the duo and their approach to design below.

Ela Martin Aldorsso Interview

-Yours is a love story, both for each other and for design. How did you meet?Martin and I met in passing at a restaurant in London, England. At the time, I was moving from London to Toronto and Martin was moving from New York City to London.

Ela and Martin Aldorsson

-How did you come to the decision to work together on Ela?Both Martin and I come from very entrepreneurial families, so to have our own business was always the ultimate goal. We have both spent almost 10 years working for other companies in the business so we were ready for the venture. The decision for launching a handbag brand was the opportunity that we saw in the affordable luxury segment of the business that bridged the gap between fast fashion and luxury. We wanted to offer pieces that were high in quality, authentic in design, functional and approachable that I myself was looking for.

-How has your Canadian background influenced your work – both from a design perspective and as your home base?Martin and I are both European by birth. I grew up in Canada (my roots are Polish) and Martin is Swedish. I think what was great about starting a business in Canada was the environment to test our products in the market, gain feedback, tweak anything that wasn’t working and get all of our ducks in the row before growing the business to other markets.From a design point of view the influence has been more from a worldly perspective. -What made you choose Spain for production?We chose Spain for its artisanal skill set. We found a workshop there that had the same philosophy when it came to product integrity, innovation possibilities and quality and understood our goals and placement in the marketplace. We are in Spain quite often.

-Your bags embrace a minimalist approach to design with an attention to detail, which we see in your famous clasp. Is this a reflection of who you are as individuals, as a couple? In your own wardrobes, home and day-to-day lives, do you embrace the same minimalist approach?Yes, absolutely. It’s what we like to call humble luxury. This is the philosophy we strive for in the ela designs but also in our own personal wardrobe and space. The focus is on less things but items that have quality and a timeless appeal. -What's your process for designing a new collection?I usually have a general idea of the direction and theme when planning a new collection based on what inspires me at the time, what’s happening in the market place and what has been successful in our past collections. We have many signatures classics already developed so many of these will continue with a new finish or an added function. It’s important to stay consistent and continue the story.I don’t usually design from one place although the final collection I’ll put together at the office and work with our studio in Spain in developing first prototypes.

ela jungle punk

 -What is an ideal weekend for the two of you from Friday night to Sunday afternoon?If we are back in Toronto it would be an early dinner on Friday night preferably at home with a great bottle of wine and a good movie, but if we are at our factory in Spain, Friday night is a great time to test out new tapas places and the bar scene in Sevilla. We are big foodies and when we are not travelling we do a lot of cooking and entertaining at home. Saturday and Sunday morning would include a run or a game of tennis usually followed by running a few errands or brunch with friends. We are a bit old school when it comes to how we take in the news as we like to have a real paper in our hand so in the afternoon we usually head over to our favorite newspaper/magazine store. Saturday night is a great time to get a group of friends together for dinner as Sunday nights are usually spent with family.

-What’s one detail of design you really appreciate about Ela that you think people may not notice?If I had to choose one it would be how lightweight our bags are especially the bigger bags like the totes and drawstrings. This was one design and function detail I didn’t want to compromise. 

ela aldorossan

Love the bags? Shop Ela at Saks Fifth Avenue Plaza Frontenac in St. Louis.