Behind the Brand: Iris London by Ellie Simpson-Gray
When choosing pieces for Azura Bay, products have to meet certain criteria to fit into our collection: stylish, great fit, ethically made and if possible, eco-friendly materials or production processes. Iris London's gorgeous designs are ethical and eco lingerie at its finest. Handcrafted in London, England under the direction of Founder & Creative Director, Ellie Simpson-Gray, these stunning pieces will glam up any wardrobe and are saving beautiful materials from the landfill by up-cycling the excess fabric over-ordered by massive global luxury brands.
We're enchanted by everything about this brand, from the thoughtful and sustainable up-cycling process, the amazing and talented Founder, Ellie, to the super chic co-working maker space she is headquartered in with other creative companies. It's the epitome of British class and style.
We interviewed Ellie Simpson-Gray to bring you the story behind this beautiful brand.
What inspired you to create lingerie and what inspires your designs?
I was inspired to make lingerie by the women around me. It still surprises me how many women struggle to find beautiful lingerie that is also comfortable and that they can wear often. As for design, I'm inspired by 1970s photography, old Hollywood, and literally all sorts of other things - for example, wooden houses in the Caribbean that were once painted so brightly and then fade to the most gorgeous pastel colours in the sun (my parents live in Antigua). The houses still gives me as much joy as they used to 15 years ago.
What's your favourite thing about being a lingerie designer?
I would say the variety of the role, you need to wear many different hats but it means no day is ever the same. It tends to feel a little more exciting for that reason.
Tell us about your production process. We love that you are saving that amazing fabric, it's so sad to imagine it in a landfill!
All our fabrics are sourced in the UK from a supplier in Lincolnshire, which is a place traditionally known for its lingerie, so there is heritage there already. This supplier buys these end roll fabrics that would otherwise end up in a landfill. It's wonderful to be able to give beautiful materials a beautiful purpose! We produce Iris London here in England as well, and hopefully can contribute to passing traditional skills on to the younger generation.
Summer is finally on its way and we can't wait to rock the Harlow bralette under our tanks and sheer tops. What's your favourite part about summer in London?
So many things! The sunshine when we get it makes a huge difference - it's so rare that Londoners tend to really make the most of it with picnics, day parties, festivals, people out and about after work by the canal or the Thames, Pimms, summer dresses, handing out at the Lido... there's just a buzz around summer in London and it feels like the best place on earth you could be.
We just have to give your insta-famous pet bunny a shout-out here because she is SO cute! What's the inspo behind her name?
Thank you, I'll tell her you said so! Well, Lady Bombastic (Bombie for short) has been at the forefront of my lingerie start-up journey. Bless her, my flat mate thought of the name - things were quite eccentric back then. I got her at University of Edinburgh seven years ago! She used to live in my room so she's completely house trained and roams around freely constantly (check her out below, watching TV and trying to get in on a shoot). Now she lives in my apartment in West Kensington, London, so she probably feels she's moved up in the world!