I am Elena Fenby and I am the owner of …by Elena, a high end luxury lingerie and nightwear brand which designs and makes all it’s products in the United Kingdom.
What inspired you to become a lingerie designer?
I completed the world renowned Contour Fashion course at De Montfort University and in 2012 graduated with a BA(Hons) degree. Having my own lingerie brand was something I had hoped to do in a few years time but it happened much earlier than planned.
What makes your designs different from others?
All of my garments feature silks printed with designs which I have created from my own photographs, this results in no two pieces being exactly the same. The prints and the creative designs combine to make garments completely exclusive to the brand.
Are there any celebrities wearing your designs and who are they?
Not yet, but it would be nice to think someday there may be.
Do you wear your own products?
I do. I believe that if you don’t wear your own products and believe in them, then why should anyone else.
What’s your favourite lingerie brand (not your own!) and why?
My favourite lingerie brand would be Fleur of England. Their pieces are beautiful, every single one is flawless and has effortless style.
Do you think there’s enough choice for D+ sizes?
Something I have heard regularly whilst setting up my brand is that women can’t find attractive D+ lingerie. There are a few brands which cater for this sector but maybe it is something that still needs expanding as it is obviously still a problem.
Are you happy with the way lingerie is sized? If not what changes would you like to see?
I think lingerie is difficult to size but think that even if it was changed it still wouldn’t be perfect.
What advice would to give to an aspiring lingerie/swimwear designer?
I would say stick at it. It is a hard industry to get into and there are many difficult times but you have to keep going and remember why you started in the first place, as this will help you when things get tough.
How do you get your inspirations for new collections?
My inspiration can come from anywhere,so far I have used flower themes and also the intricate wrought iron work which I have seen around London. When designing prints the inspiration has to be spot on, I can look through hundreds of images before I find the right one. When looking for inspiration for new collections I find one of the best ways is the traditional trend research, looking at the images from the research sparks ideas for prints, fabrics and colourways.
Do you use paper and pencil to design your first draft or is it all done on computer?
Generally I sketch my images first and then I create them on the computer. Sometimes if I find I can’t get across the image in my head onto paper I will create it on the computer rather than draw it.
What would you be doing if you weren’t a designer?
If I wasn’t a designer I would probably have been a fire-fighter. I have always had an interest and this lead to me researching fabrics suitable for fireproof underwear as part of my university work.
What are you working on right now?
I am currently working on the next two collections for the brand. I am also working hard to get the brand recognised and finding new stockists.
What makes a great lingerie model?
I would say someone who feels comfortable in their own skin and at ease with the camera. Someone who can showcase your products and convey the image that you want.
Take a look at some of Elena’s designs below and find out more about the brand on her website.