Currency
Ellen Brookes Sideline

A chat with Sideline founder, Ellen Brookes

We love stocking beautiful womenswear brand, Sideline at Scout & Co. It's a key player in our own wardrobes, too! We asked Sideline founder and Scout & Co friend, Ellen Brookes a few questions about her label, creative process and new studio…

Can you tell us how you started Sideline?

'I started Sideline almost 10 years ago alongside freelance and consultancy work – hence the name. I saw a little niche and wanted to do something I believed in from start to end. I was working with a manufacturer where I’d helped to set up some new and exciting sustainable processes and kind of wanted to showcase some of these. I started very small without any money or investment and I have let it grow at its own pace over time.'

What’s your starting point for designing a new collection and for SS24 in particular?

'I always have an idea of a concept which is usually quite abstract. This season I was thinking about the idea of Sideline being a small brand and why I'm happy to stay in that space. This lead to the concept of "Slow growth" and from here the connection between nature and the slowness of growing a garden.

When I start to actually design the collection, the process is always fabric first. I put together an initial fabric and colour story which then starts to inform the design.'

What are your favourite pieces from your SS24 collection? 

'I’m a long-time fan of all things patchwork so I love the Coco Jacket and Tally Dress, these feel very true to the Sideline heritage. I also really love the Nancy Dress for summer.'

 The Tally dress

 The Coco jacket

How would you style them?

'Without too much thought. That’s kind of the idea behind Sideline: easy to wear, all day, everyday.'

Which Sideline pieces will you be packing for your summer holiday?

'The Beau Dress because it’s so light and airy – I just want minimal clothing in the summer and nothing tight-fitting.  This dress packs really well, requires no ironing and can be thrown on every day – ideal for holidays.'

We both live in Lewes in East Sussex. What are your favourite things about living here? How does your surroundings influence your designs?

'The South Downs are my absolute favourite place on the planet, I know my way around the less trodden paths quite well and love exploring new places. I always feel so free and happy high up on the hills. I spend a lot of time running on the Downs: I find it very mediative and often switch off from life completely, but there are also times when I have a lot of ideas, which often end up being used in my designs.'

Tell us about your beautiful new studio space…

'Our new space is very different to our previous studios, which have all been in local historic buildings. This space is lovely and light. It’s a new build with high ceilings and lots of windows. It’s got a great energy and I feel very productive there. 

We have opened up on quite a few occasions for pop-up days and it’s been so nice to meet so many of our customers.  We have some exciting events coming up with more in planning…'

.  

The beautiful Sideline studio in Lewes. Photo by Lola Thomas

Ellen in her studio. Photograph by Lola Thomas

Can you share some local recommendations for Lewes visitors?

'Grab a coffee at Ground when you arrive and head for a walk up Mount Caburn, the views are amazing. When you return having built up a nice appetite, I’d recommend Dill, No 34, Pestle & Mortar or Cafe Vegu for lunch.

If staying into the evening, a pint at the Lewes Arms (featuring the brilliant Pat's Pizzas) where you could also try your hand at our local game, Toads.

If you are here at the weekend, we have two great local breweries with tap rooms,  Beak and Abyss. We also have a great outdoor pool called Pells where our friends The Nomadic Sauna are opening soon.'

We love your Sideline Muses series. Is there anyone you’d love to see wearing Sideline?

'Patti Smith and PJ Harvey.'

Any hints of what’s to come for autumn/winter? 

'Top secret but not long to wait now…'

 What are your top 3 studio snacks?

 'Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate – it’s all I need.'

 Top 3 music / podcasts you listen to in the studio?

'90% of the time its Radio 6. I can’t concentrate on a podcast and work at the same time but if I’m doing something which doesn’t require my concentration so much I listen to The Rest is Politics, Adam Buxton, Ear Hustle, Off Menu or true-crime of the light variety.'

What do you like to do outside of Sideline?

'Running, meeting friends for hot chocolate, live music – normal middle age stuff.'

Top 3 picks from Scout & Co?

'You carry some great brands – I love the Misha & Puff kids stuff and want most of it for myself. Baggu are great and I love Up Up chocolate because, well… chocolate!

 

Misha & Puff cardigan

 

Misha & Puff Soiree cardigan

 

Baggu backpack

Baggu sport backpack

 

 

Up Up chocolate

 

Who’s best – Paul Mescal or Andrew Scott?

'At this very moment, Paul Mescal.'

 

Thanks for chatting with me, Ellen! 

 

Shop our Sideline collection here.