EKKI is owned and operated by Jelkica, a brilliant fashion designer originally from the Balkans. Jelkica’s passion for design inspired her to create an Italian brand called EKKI. It was only through creativity that she was able to start a fashion business. She has played a leading role in the fashion industry for almost 15 years, and she has also been an innovator.
It was her goal to design elegant yet casual looks for growing children so they could stop wearing complicated and uncomfortable clothing. Her line isn’t only aesthetically pleasing and well-fitting but also environmentally conscious. What is even more enticing about her brand is that it is incredibly versatile and able to become a staple in your wardrobe, offering a wide variety of styles. Her products are made from high-quality materials, and she aims to be known as a value-oriented brand.
Making a positive impact and leaving a lasting legacy in the world is always at the forefront of her thoughts!
How did Ekki get started?
Ekki is my childhood nickname since my real name Jelkica is long and difficult to pronounce. The name’s roots are from my grandma Jelka who was also into Fashion and Style. She was a mix of a Croatian mother and an Austrian father. I was born in the Balkans, but I graduated in Italy. So, my real passion was to become a designer with my own Italian brand one day.
I have been working in fashion style and design for 15 years. I got the courage to start with Ekki after my baby. Isn’t it wonderful how children bring out the best in us and make us go places we never thought we would be able to? As a single mum, I needed to, and this was the right time.
Was Grandma Jelka was she a part of your inspiration? What memory of her in Fashion stays with you?
I can say that we had the same taste in things. Grandma Jelka was living through me. We had a very close and friendly relationship. I would talk with her about anything, even about my life’s “bad” things. Unfortunately, she died this year / the same as the year I registered my brand in Milan. She didn’t work in Fashion, but Grandma Jelka will be remembered as a person who was always well dressed and remarkable.
My mum is the one who was making clothes for herself on her own. When there was a question about what I would work on in my life after finishing high school, I knew that it would be something creative, and I was in a fight with my dad. But because of my stubborn nature, I decided to go to Italy and study interior design. At that time, I wanted to escape from designing clothes. And I’ve made it. I finished interior design in Florence then I went to Milan for a master’s in product design.
My condolences. That must have been hard for you. While studying interior design, were you inspired by anyone?
Karim Rashid and Italian culture are two of my inspiration. But also Armani. my goal is to make Ekki something bigger (clothing, interior lifestyle, etc.) Both of these designers work in many fields of design.
The legend Karim Rashid is a great inspiration to many. I see the versatility in your brand and your vision. Before you started your brand, what were some of the obstacles you had to overcome?
Ten years ago, I had the first signs (panic attacks) that I was not on the right path, precisely, at the proper location. There were always some pressures from my father. They (my parents) were helping me a lot. Still, they could not understand and visualize the methods I was using to get the life and work I wanted. I’ve always wanted to leave something behind me, to give and make this world a better and more beautiful place. However, I was still dealing with unsuccessful projects and non-satisfactional financial situations. In the end, I trusted the process. I am never regretting anything in my life. But this time, I am sure I ‘am on the right track.
During that time, I started to work from home, but different projects interior design, designing sportswear, as a stylist, and makeup and hair for magazines, photoshoots, and videos. I’ve gained a lot of experience in many different creative fields. I even started DJ-ing.
Wow, bravo!! You are very versatile! One of my mantras is to trust the process. So I understand that very well. When did you decide on the clothing line, and what is its inspiration?
Yes, and I started to practice yoga, and I am in love with yoga. I love dancing and stretching, but I’m not too fond of fitness. Yoga, my child, and all those different projects I was working on made me decide what I wanted to create. I specified my taste, what I adore and don’t, what I appreciate in life, and the materials/production.
It is funny and fantastic for someone so active to say they are not too fond of fitness. What I love about the brand is the feeling I get from it. It brings a classic clean, innocent look. I am in love with it. I wish my daughter were young again. The look would be a significant part of her wardrobe. What do you hope the parents feel when they see your brand?
Now we came to the most significant part, I think. Why I mentioned Italy, I was fascinated by how I found myself there with the food and with the people. Armani was also the rich people I was seeing in aperativo time. They were dressed up, elegant, sporty minimalistic, with a great sense of details and suitable materials. monochromatic was IN, even in those times
I think there I found myself what I like. So my brand, yes, is forward-thinking because I don’t like plastic and all those unhealthy fabrics. Fast Fashion, my child even more made me aware is not that I want to be in Fashion and just to put the etiquette sustainable. I give my 1000% to the design of the pieces to be architectonically suited to the body. Each item in my line is oversized to be wearable longer. The materials are, of course, the best, no label I want to be remembered by the genuine appreciation of the products.
Ekki is not just about looking good and fitting the body but also made with care for the environment. I am a big fan of brands that think this way. With kids growing so fast, I love the oversize look for them to wear longer.
Yes, but now I can see people and brands are faking that eco thing.
That’s why I want to be clear and pay attention to every detail, and the right people can recognize that.
That was my biggest wish, and to pass it through generations or even friends. I like to minimize the stuff in the home, and I love to shop small and smart.
You can not understand how difficult it was for me to order materials and how many extra costs I had because of my location. But still, here I have help for my daughter from my parents, and I said ok, I would start from here, but still, I will make it worldwide because of her.
You are going the extra mile, and it shows. Ekki is beautiful. And what is very interesting is that the style is versatile and can be a core piece of the wardrobe, which will offer so many looks.
So true. That was my point.
So, where can readers find your brand?