Fashion Couture With a Conscience
Derbyshire Life|May 2017

Elizabeth Meller, the Derbyshire-born director of Frida Josef fashion, tells how her unique clothing business came about.

Frida Josef

Tell us about yourself

I currently live in Hamble on the south coast with my husband Clive and our dog Billy. Being in the south gives me easier access to London and my manufacturers but I make regular trips back up to Derbyshire to see family and friends and still consider it as ‘home’. My father was Scottish and many school holidays were spent in Edinburgh which gave me an early introduction into the world of tweeds, tartans and Scottish lambswool – world-renowned and still as popular as ever. However, I was born and bred in Derby, attended Cherry Tree Hill junior school and then Spondon School. I worked in Derby for many years for Bemrose & Sons, was their sales representative for Derbyshire and spent most of my days in its lovely towns and villages.

What sparked your interest in the fashion industry?

From a young girl I always had an interest in fashion. I would have loved to have studied fashion but it was needlework/sewing or nothing so I opted for art instead. I have since spent many years working with fashion designers, pattern makers and manufacturers, which has given me an understanding of the industry from different angles. I have visited mills and dyers to see fabrics being manufactured, learned how to hand-weave fabric in India and witnessed the silk worm producing silk in the cocoon. Having witnessed the cocoons being placed into vats of boiling water to kill the worm inside, we now only buy ‘ahimsa silk’ whereby the silk worm emerges from the cocoon unharmed.

How did the idea for Frida Josef develop?

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