20 YEARS OF EVC-ELLENCE
Creativity comes as second nature to Sierra Leonean born Emile Vidal Carr. His attention to detail in celebrating the female form through his designs has allowed him to explore and strengthen his capabilities. Like every artist, Emile has a unique approach to design, drawing influence from hip hop music. Emile learned that Jay Z doesn’t write his rhymes and instead lays down his verses in one take. He decided to follow this style; he has now honed this skill and no longer draws, but spends weeks creating designs in his head and executing them for the first time on the sewing machine.
“I would spend weeks going over a design in my head and working out every little detail without drawing it. Then finally, when I was ready, I would cut out the style freehand and sew up the design on the sewing machine. On meeting my wife 12 years ago, I changed the kind of woman that I was designing dresses for. I went from designing dresses that were more suitable for going raving to sharp dresses suitable for professional women. Having her as the muse for the brand, I have been able to understand the psychology of the target consumer, more especially as a straight black male in the fashion business”.
Emile has always been encouraged by his friends and wife to explore what he is truly passionate about. Originally from Sierra Leone, Emile came to England when he was three and has always shown a keen interest in fashion and the arts. This network includes his sister and parents, who at first were sceptical about a young man from Africa starting a fashion label. However,
Seeing the label progress over the years ensured that Emile had their support. His two daughters are now at that age where they realise what their father does for work, and when possible, join him in the studio so they too can work on their love of creativity.
Emile learned his skill at the London College of Fashion under the watchful eyes of Claudette, Hillary, and Angela Drisdale Gordon, who took time to support Emile. Juggling a degree and full-time work had its challenges; however, the tutors saw huge potential in Emile and enabled him to unlock his creative vision. After graduating from the London College of Fashion, Emile designed a range stocked by market leaders Topshop, ASOS, and Allders, and in 2008, had the opportunity to showcase a collection as part of New York Fashion Week. Fast forward to decades, and he has become one of London’s most sought-after designers.
Inspiration from each of his collections is drawn mainly from art and music. Emile feels that these two disciplines are steeped in cultures of different varieties, which excites him. A trip to Sierra Leone a few years ago allowed him to see how they use colour blocking. He has taken a little of this idea since that visit with his approach to colour and teamed it with his tailoring to create tailored dresses and elegant ball gowns.
Having worked in fashion for 20+ years, Emile has witnessed the evolution of the industry through a multitude of global changes, and has always taken the approach to adapt accordingly and support across the board. The year 2020 was a year of change and a new chapter of education through real-life events. We continue to watch the rise of this independently owned and run fashion house, expecting the unexpected.
EVC is one of the few brands in the UK that owns its factory. Additionally, Emile has recently been a judge for the third year running for the Black British Business Awards as well as winning the Outstanding Achievement Award at the African Fashion Awards.
You can buy my newly released book here:
Watch my most recent interview here