For this week’s Neighbourhood Watch, we caught up with London-based graduate designer Chloe Elliott.

Tell us a little bit about yourself, what do you do and why do you do it?
I’m a London-based freelance fashion designer. I graduated from Westminster’s Fashion Design BA this year, specialising in womenswear and print design. Since graduation, I’ve been working freelance on a variety of projects. I work mostly for a new brand called Justine Tabak which launched last year, an independent label based on sustainable fashion principles, sourcing fabrics and manufacturing within the UK. I love what I do; I feel so grateful to do something day in and day out that I genuinely enjoy.

“I like to believe in things, but I especially like to believe in people.”

What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I wanted to be a fashion designer since I was a kid, well, after I gave up my dream of being a Pop Star. I remember designing a jellybean print dress, which now I think about it, was pretty hideous, but at the time I desperately wanted to own. I lost my way in my teens planning to be a Lawyer. I soon realised that it would never suit me, I have to do something creative or I can’t function properly. Somehow the 6-year-old me knew me far better than the 16-year-old me did; I’ve been listening to my inner child ever since!

How would your friends describe you?
Apparently, I’m a typical Hufflepuff! I tried to deny it for a long time, but you can’t deny who you are and apparently who I am is a Hufflepuff.

What do you believe in?
People. The power of positivity. Feminism. Sustainability. Equality. I like to believe in things, but I especially like to believe in people.

If you could change one thing about the fashion industry, what would it be?
Exploitation is a huge problem in the Fashion industry. From the number of London-based companies that run on the free labour of interns to the high street giants who manufacture their garments through factories abroad with no real idea if employees are receiving a living wage and operating under safe working conditions, so many people are exploited within the industry. It’s crazy, Fashion is something like the third biggest industry, and what we still can’t afford to pay minimum wage? It’s such a deep-rooted problem with no quick fix, but I think at least as a first step we need to have more transparency. People need to understand how their clothes are made and where they come from, and as a movement, we need to say no to the exploitation of labour both within this country and abroad. We can start by asking questions and talking.

Who run the world?
Unfortunately, white middle-aged men. The better question is who should run the world…?

What are you obsessed with right now?
Floaty dresses, Stranger Things 2 and houseplants. I love my plants, but I’m not very good at keeping them alive.

What are your hopes for the future?
Really just to be happy. I’d love to be able to continue to create; I’d love to travel and learn and grow. I do hope for a fairer, more equal society in the future for all; I really hope our generation pushes to make this a reality.

What’s the best piece of advice you were ever given?
It’s not hugely profound, just to take things one step at a time. When I was mentally ill, I found everything so overwhelming and I couldn’t comprehend how even to start to get better and function on a basic level. Someone gave me the advice to just take things one small step at a time. Like when you climb a mountain, if you can manage one step you can handle another, eventually each step gets you closer to the top. As simple as it is, this advice has really helped. There’s nothing you can’t achieve if you take things one small step at a time.

Here at Neighbourhood, we believe an editorial platform should be a community, what does the word community mean to you?
To me, it means genuinely caring about other people and trying to help each other in whatever way we can. We all need help every now and again, and even just a smile and a kind word can make someone else’s day. It also means valuing each other as equals, and treating each other with respect we would like to receive.

Keep up to date with Chloe and her work via Instagram. If you know someone who should be featured for Neighbourhood Watch contact Tori@neighbourhood.tv