Elora Joshi has that effortless casual style of a minimalist 90's-girl-next-door nailed down. Just take one look at her Instagram and you'll get what we're obsessing about. But don't let her laid back, California cool demeanor fool you. She is one multi-talented girl boss! Among being a stylist, art director, content creator, and brand developer, she is also one-half of the designer duo behind clothing brand, Stil. We chatted with this L.A. beauty about personal style, how she started her clothing line, the challenges of keeping her brand ethically sourced and manufactured, and how she balances it all.
Hi Elora! How did you get interested and involved in this industry and what’s your advice to someone looking to go into these fields?
I got involved in content creation and art direction a few years ago when an old colleague reached out to me about doing from freelance content creation. It’s something I hadn’t really considered before but it totally made sense for me at the time. I’m a pretty visual person and I was already spending every weekend shooting for my own Instagram so it was a great match. I think so many people who are looking for projects to work on are lead by money and I completely understand we need to get paid to make a living but my advice to someone looking to get into creative fields is: Do what you are passionate about and then figure out a way to make a living with it.
What’s your daily routine? What’s your secret to balancing it all?
These days, I’m focusing the majority of my attention towards Stil, a clothing line I started with a friend a few years ago. This involves shooting content for our Instagram, fabric shopping, sourcing inspiration, and shipping orders. I’m most productive in the morning so that’s when I get my most important work out of the way.
We love how effortless yet cool your style is. How would you describe your personal style?It’s hard to describe your own style! I think I’m a little bit 90’s girl next door but it tends to change between seasons. During the colder months, I tend to gravitate towards more minimal pieces and a neutral color palette. I’m a little more inspired by streetwear. During the warmer months, I wear a lot of color and choose more feminine vintage pieces.
What does getting dressed in the morning look like to you?
I would say 3 or 4 days out of the week, I wear vintage jeans, a white tshirt and white tennis shoes. The other days, I swap out my jeans for high waisted trousers or my white tshirt for a linen button up. I have a pretty predictable uniform. I’ve read we have a limited capacity for making decisions so the more unnecessary decisions you can eliminate from your day, the more brain power you can put towards decisions that are actually important.
How does life in L.A. affect your style?
LA is an extremely casual city and there isn’t a ton of variation in the weather. It’s almost always between 60 and 75 degrees, day or night. You can wear the same thing to the farmer’s market as you would to dinner. Something else to consider is traffic. If you’re going across town in the afternoon, you might not make it back home to change before dinner. You pretty much have to be prepared to do anything in your outfit. I think that’s probably why my uniform is so occasion-neutral. I just grab a jacket or sweater and I’m set for the entire day. It also really helps that our days are so centered around being in the car because I have about 5 pairs of shoes in my car and can change at any time which helps if I end up in downtown and need to walk 7 blocks or something.
Who or what else influences you?
I get a lot of inspiration from 80’s and 90’s TV and movies. One of my biggest style icons (this might be cliche) is Baby from Dirty Dancing. Another is Monica from Friends (mostly season 2).
Tell us about Stil.! And how did you meet your business partner, Nicole Carbone?
I met my partner Nicole while working corporate for a fast fashion company a few years after college. As we were both getting a little older, I think we started to see that there was more to this industry than quick trends and cheap clothes so we decided to start our own something. We didn’t quite know what the something was yet. It took us months of research and asking around to get started but we finally took the plunge and had some samples made. That was 3 years ago.
What was your inspiration behind the brand?
We just like to make clothes we both want to wear and aren’t able to find. I’d love to say it’s deeper than that but it’s actually pretty straight forward. We are inspired by ourselves and all of the girls like us.
What was the hardest part of building Stil.?
It was definitely the production of the actual clothes when we first started. Neither of us have a background in design or manufacturing so it was all just trial and error. We asked around for help and so many friends in the industry told us to go to the garment district and just knock on doors until we found someone who could help us make what we wanted. It took months of asking around until we got a lead.
You source, design, and manufacture all your products in/near L.A. Why is it important to you to ethically manufacture your clothes?
The reasons we have always sourced our materials and manufactured locally is because it’s just the way we learned how to make clothes. We started Stil not knowing what we were doing at all and the LA garment district has a ton of shops full of deadstock fabric. Sifting through these rolls of fabric is part of the process for us. Rather than designing a piece and choosing the exact fabric you envision, our designs are dependent on the fabrics we find and the fabrics we choose are dependent on our designs - it’s an interesting balance. Also, manufacturing locally allows us to have greater control over quality.
Were there any challenges in keeping your company sourced, designed, and manufactured in/near L.A.?
The biggest challenge we face with deadstock fabrics is not being able to accommodate reorders and recuts when we just can’t find another roll of a fabric we need. We recently found this amazing velvet brocade for our Fall17 collection and we’ve been hunting for another roll for weeks. If we can’t find another roll of the same fabric by fall, we’ll need to cut the style in a very limited run. One one hand, it’s great not being bound by fabric production minimums but on the other hand, we’re putting all of this work into a style we can only make a few units of.
What does “living consciously” mean to you?
To me, “living consciously” means being aware. For me, it’s most relevant when it comes to eating but really, it can be applied to any facet of life. I’m really passionate about nutrition, although you probably wouldn’t know it unless you were one of my closest friends. I like to be extremely conscious of what I put into my body. I don’t believe in diets and I don’t believe there are bad foods and good foods; I believe there is real good and food-like substances (as Michael Pollan would say).
Some quick fire questions!
What’s your mantra?
What’s your spirit animal?
Probably a sloth. I'm not lazy - I’m just really laid back.
What’s your favorite food?
My mom’s Suva Bhaji with paneer. It’s pan fried fresh cheese and sauteed dill. I grew up eating homemade Indian food almost every day and it’s still my favorite.
Yum! That sounds SO amazing!
If someone had 24 hours to spend in L.A., where would you tell them to go?
Bestia for pasta and Malibu for a beach trip.
What’s playing through your speakers right now?
This is embarrassing but I listen to Taking Back Sunday and Third Eye Blind often when I am working.
Lastly, KALEIDOS is inspired by the kaleidoscope - the idea of curating beautiful pieces, bringing them into one space, and shining light on them. If you were a kaleidoscope, what are the pieces that make up who you are?
interior design and architecture.
80's new wave, 90's alt rock and 2000's emo.
Photography provided by Elora Joshi | Interview by Amanda Vega | Elora is wearing the Amaya Dress