Ella Cook, an 18-year-old student from North Shore, Auckland, scored an epic fashion internship at renowned New Zealand womenswear label, LEO+BE. Cook is someone the fashion industry should definitely be looking out for.
Cook has always been into fashion design since she was young, flipping through clothing racks, creating her own fashion 'spreads' in intermediate, to recently winning the Materials Technology Cup at college and achieving the top Materials Technology NCEA Scholarship result in New Zealand, all while juggling a valuable internship at LEO+BE.
Prior to her internship at LEO+BE, Cook had created a look for Walk the Line at New Zealand Fashion Week in 2019, worked with MissFQ Collective and MissFQ Magazine to create fashion spreads for the publication, and assisting photoshoots. At the young age of 18, Cook has a sizeable amount of experience under her belt, which she thinks has ultimately helped her land her internship at LEO+BE.
During her internship, Cook designed an outfit for LEO+BE's Winter 2021 collection. The design process stretched right from the initial research stages, gauging the target market through surveys, fashion trend analysis to the creation of samples and the completion of the garments.
"It involved brainstorming possible inspirations for the collection and drawing up concepts, meetings to discuss these ideas, and constant client feedback. As well as technical sketches and measurements to send to their manufacturers. It was a collaborative effort to get to where we are now with an outfit that is considered and on-trend," explained Cook.
Through this experience, Cook learnt the realities of what it was like to work with a brand through the entire process from ideation, drawings, mood boards, all the way to the completed samples.
I now understand what truly goes into creating a collection and each step it takes to get to the end goal. Another skill I've learnt was how to do the technical sketches and take the required measurements, so manufacturers can recreate the samples according to those specifications.
Along with creating this look, Cook also assisted with photoshoots for the Winter lookbook.
LEO+BE's Winter 2021 collection is now stocked nationwide across 65+ stores!
Cook is now studying fashion design at AUT, five years from now she hopes to be working in the fashion industry as a buyer or within a brand on a design team.
For those who are wanting to land an internship, Cook advises to reach out and ask around. Tell brands about yourself and what you hope to achieve.
Don't be discouraged by the no's, sometimes it's difficult for small businesses to facilitate something like this, so it's not necessarily a reflection on you!
Working with Jenny and the team at LEO+BE has been an absolute dream for Cook.
"They are a lovely bunch of women to work with and I can't thank them enough for going the extra mile with my project and internship. The lessons around how things work when designing in the industry have been invaluable and can't be taught at the school level."
Follow Ella here.