Enterprising sisters Ellen Brown and Melanie DiCristino prove that there are no cultural and geographical boundaries when it comes to fashion and good will, as illustrated by their accessories label, Ellebelle.
Ellebelle was borne out of the sisters’ shared dream of doing business with a heart, as they have always wanted an opportunity to combine their love for textiles with their desire to help non-profit human rights organizations.
As Brown and DiCristino put it, their aspirations started to come into fruition when they went to Istanbul, where they met the Turkish artist Ebru Uygun. As fate would have it, Uygun is also the brains behind TOCEV, an organization that helps improve children’s education in Turkey.
Eventually, the sisters tapped Uygun to design and help produce Ellebelle’s first collection of fashion accessories and clothes, as well as home furnishings. The aim for now is to give the American market artisanal products that help the less fortunate, as part of the sales from the brand’s initial offerings will benefit TOCEV. In the future, the siblings also want to work with other artists and charitable institutions that are making a positive impact to their communities.
Among the current products featured, the silk-wool felt scarves are perhaps the most ingenious to date, each handmade in Turkey using stone wash and heat fusion techniques. This accessory hybrid seems ideal for fickle, transitional weather as each silk-wool scarf is light enough to carry and use during Resort seasons yet can also be functional enough to keep you aptly warm when temperatures get a bit chilly.
Retail: $165 (silk-wool felt scarves)
—Eugene Y. Santos