ELISA C-ROSSOW - sawing - photo Gaëlle Leroyer copie

Elisa C-Rossow

Tucked away in a Pointe-Saint-Charles studio in Montréal, French-born designer Elisa C-Rossow has been quietly working away, amassing a cult following for her thoughtful, stylish, and expertly crafted womenswear designs for the past 15 years. Rossow, who went to fashion school in Paris, quickly discovered—ironically—that she disliked the fashion industry. It wasn’t that she didn’t have a passion for creating clothing, but she hated trends and the industry’s overconsumption and overproduction in general.

“I’m really passionate about clothing—I love making clothing—but if I am going to [do it], I’m not having all those things that I don’t like,” says Rossow. “The first word that came into my mind was ‘timeless.’ I need to create clothing that is going to be timeless. I don’t want to follow a trend, look at trends, hear about trends. I don’t care,” she laughs.

Design Louis George
Maison 4110

Since Rossow wanted to stick to designs that eschew time, she decided to work with a minimal colour palette: black, white, cream, and grey. She would source high-end materials and finishes and produce classic essentials that everyone would want to have in their closets, but with her signature sculptural, structured style—which would make them stand out from other brands. “I wanted to design the contemporary high-end essential that a woman needs,” she explains of her vision. After visiting Montréal and falling in love with the city, Rossow moved there six months later and organically started her namesake brand in 2008. She slowly started putting on fashion shows and doing pop-ups, and soon she began to gain recognition—and a solid dedicated fan base.

Sustainability and circularity have also always been at the heart of Rossow’s ethos (something other brands are just catching up to now) and that has put her far ahead of the fashion curve and distinguished the designer from the start. “I don’t overproduce,” says Rossow. “About 70 percent of the pieces in my collection are made to order and to measure. When I do [produce collections] I make them really small—about eight or ten items of the same piece of clothing. And if we sell out of one size, we just make two or three more of that size to ensure that there’s no waste [or] leftover inventory at the end of the season.”

Bui Opto
ELISA C-ROSSOW- portrait - photo Gaëlle Leroyer 2 copie (Mixte Mag)

And because the designer is always using the same colour palette, she manages to reuse any leftover fabrics in subsequent seasons so literally nothing goes unused. She even takes her small scrap materials to create paper for her clothing tags, which are also made locally. It’s a small, hands-on, detail-oriented, and very personalized operation, which is exactly what the designer intended, and how she wants it to stay.

Rossow’s greatest pleasure is to see her clients love these pieces of wearable art as much as she does, to see her clients wear them time and time again, year after year. Mission accomplished.


Photos Gaëlle Leroyer (portrait), Ariane Tara (collection)

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