Meet Your Maker: Amber Lee-Berntein & Renae Harris of Element Eden

  • Style
posted by Kate McCart

Meet Amber and Renae. Both heavily involved in the design process for Element Eden‘s collections, we caught up with the girls to talk through the inspiration behind their spring 16 collection, take a sneak peek behind the doors of HQ, and tune into what they’ve been blasting in their headphones (we’re talking bulk Kurt Vile). 

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How long have you worked at Element Eden?

Amber: I have been with element for the past 5 years. 
Renae: The past year and a half. 

What’s your role at Element Eden?
Amber: Design Manager
Renae: Designer

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Element Eden was born from a mission to inspire and motivate girls. Walk us through what is currently happening with the advocate program?

Amber: Last week we met with long standing Advocate, Asha Dahya. Asha is the Creator and Editor in Chief of the women’s news media site, GirlTalkHQ.com. Asha is passionate about the representation of women and women’s rights. With the rise in popularity of #girlboss and publications like Collective Magazine, I am really excited for us to collaborate with our first non-artist advocate to add another dimension and greater substance to our brand and to further educate and inspire young women.
We also have an amazing group of artists like Loretta Lizzio, who we will be releasing a capsule collection with soon, as well as Annita Masloz whose amazing tattoo style artwork has been printed onto our tees and laser etched wooden skateboards.
The girls we work with are all amazingly talented and we are constantly looking to create new products and ways to grow our brand, as well as the careers of the team. It’s all very exciting and inspirational.

What is the inspiration behind your spring 16 collection? How is it different to past collections?
Amber: Well, Renae and I went on an amazing research trip that formed the bases for the Spring collection. We travelled to London and stayed in the Shoreditch area where we shopped and took photos of the urban life. We then travelled to Berlin where we met up with the European team at the Bright Tradeshow. At night we were swing dancing and cheering on the soccer, while during the day we visited the fashion booths of up and coming brands. To top it all off, we spent the last few days in Barcelona, which was the perfect culmination of urban meets seaside charm and inspired the colour palette for the collection. This season sees monthly collections, each with a unique yardage. The prints tell of a traveller inspired by the swirls of blue from the Mediterranean, blended with whitewash colours of local buildings draped in floral blooms. Well worn denim and laundered jersey alongside a selection of beautiful dresses are worn layered together with effortless style.

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What will we see you wearing from the collection?

Amber: I am a bit excited for the Heritage Trench Coat to arrive. I love layering at this time of the year and the super soft tencel like fabric will be perfect!! The Batik fabric print will also be a favorite for the season.
Renae: I love the off the shoulder styling of the Phoenix Top, and I will certainly be layering things up with the Lighthouse Denim Jacket.

Describe your workspace?
Amber: We have been lucky enough to get to redesign our workspace recently with help from The Block fame, Michael & Carlene. We have a skate ramp, rope walls, stacked wooden details and peg boards. The revamp has also meant that we have big communal tables for the design teams and get to work in a much more interactive and sometime noisy environment.

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Walk us through a typical day at HQ…

Amber: First up coffee, followed by emails and then planning and drawing up designs. We have four design seasons a year, but create monthly collections that are unique but still manage to flow together. I also work across photoshoots, social media and advocate projects.
Renae: Definitely coffee first – we are pretty lucky and have a great coffee shop onsite at our office! Then it’s emails, planning and designing, approving certain stages of existing designs and fittings. Luckily no day is the same and there is plenty of variety in what needs to be done each day.

Tell us a couple of quirky things that go on behind the scenes at Element Eden??

Amber: I don’t mind some office dancing if the mood strikes! We eat way too many “health food treats”, but really buying chocolate from the health food shop doesn’t make it a healthy option. Umm what else… we all like a laugh – the boys have some pretty hilarious stories.
Renae: There is always something going on, like the boys on the skate ramp (which we refer to as a art installation for HR reasons). Kari our Merchandiser is always baking and bringing in tasty treats which are too hard to resist, or we’re planning the next pottery night!

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Describe the team in 3 words…

Amber & Renae: Girls Girls Girls.

What’s been blasting in the office lately?
Amber: Kurt Vile has been on the playlist. Ben Howard. The Black Keys. Spotify gets a workout!!
Renae: Kurt Vile, Alabama Shakes and Blake Mills are on repeat for me. I can’t get enough of these three guys.

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Describe your morning routine…
Amber: Yoga, or lay in bed thinking that I should be at yoga, followed by a mad rush to get to work and that morning coffee.
Renae: I’m an early riser, so most mornings i’ll be walking my dog on the beach, followed by a coffee before starting work.

What’s your ideal Sunday?
Amber: Brunch with friends and then some crafting. I love pottery and this new endeavor has been a lot of trial and error and experimentation. I am addicted. Watch out friends and family, your Christmas presents are in the making.
Renae: Catching up with friends over coffee or a wine and a bit of cooking and crafting. At the moment I’m into macrame and working on a wall hanging – an ambitious first attempt!

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Where’s paradise?
Amber: Home, sunrise at the beach, Byron bay, yoga – these places make me the most happy.
Renae: Anywhere with my partner, Benny and pooch. Rocky. My happy place is the beach or  home. In saying that I’m also partial to some big city vibes.

The last place you travelled?
Amber: I went to Cuba with a friend 2 weeks ago for a holiday – what an amazing place!! The culture, architecture and old cars had my imagination running overtime and my camera shutter clicking furiously. I honestly feel soo privileged to have had the opportunity to go before the trade embargo lifts and things start to change at a faster pace. It was magic.
Renae: My last holiday was close to home. We visited the Blue Mountains in a secluded cabin – it was blissful!

Next stop?
Amber: Possibly Japan – I love Tokyo.
Renae: Vietnam is next on the cards for me.

What’s the next big thing to come out of Element Eden?
Amber: Next on the cards is the start of spring design for next year. For me, it’s all about the textiles and the details – that’s where the spark is for me. The ongoing creativity and chance to learn and try new things is what keeps me loving the job!