Q4 2020

Q4 2020 | 5 The story of British heritage brand ELLE and CEO Anja Kahn loyal customer base appreciative of ELLE meeting their needs. What is also interesting is the innovation the company is becoming fast recognized for, with the design and manufacture of products targeted at a range of sectors, products which look good, and do good. In 1845 ELLE’s founder William Wileman’s grandfather Richard Wileman, claimed to be ‘the oldest hosiery manufacturer in the kingdom’ and that tradition of being the first has been carried strongly by those who have overseen the brand over the last 100 years, and current CEO Anja Kahn has added science and technology to the brand’s vision. Anja has become globally recognized in the industry for innovation with fibres, specialist knitting techniques and the treatment of articles with a concoction of organic solutions to realize products which have benefits for the wearer beyond the esthetics, and her ‘firsts’ are quite impressive. She was the first to bring to the market a revolution in graduated compression socks, at medical grade levels and made from milk, yes that’s right, fibres extruded from excess drinking milk, resulting in a patent pending compression sock with a massage sole mapped to the pressure points of the foot. The socks are soft, easy to put on and take off, and the 22 mmHg of graduated compression can boost circulation by approximately 40%. ‘The milk fibre has many inherent properties which are great for the wearer’ says Anja, ‘it’s naturally antimicrobial, it’s moisturising, cooling and moisture wicking, the PH is similar to our skin’s PH so there is very little scope for irritation, and its biodegradable.’ It took the team two years of research and testing to develop the socks. Deep Vein Thrombosis education specialist Mr. Paul Moore, who 20 years ago was part of the team at Saphena in the development of graduated compression socks to be used by the NHS, said of Anja Kahn’s development, ‘On analyzing Anja Kahn’s product range, even with my decades long experience of this specialist field, I was totally blown away by the concept, the product, the presentation and most importantly how you could make a compression garment from milk fibre. This was one of the most innovative products I had seen so far in my quest to find the perfect compression garment. The product Anja developed made all the problem areas of compression garments seem to go away in one product. They were Anti-Fungal, Anti- Microbial, soft to touch, a natural product and all made from WASTE MILK! How green and environmentally friendly!’ This strive for form and function using technology has been something Anja has made a signature for new product development. The company’s compression wear brand, ATOM, with the innovative and vibrant Retrain & Rejuvenate shape wear, has gold nano particles with moisturising infusions designed to help retrain body shape and smooth skin texture, looking and feeling good for everyday living while helping the body heal during rehabilitation. Anja attributes ELLE UK’s continued success by not remaining complacent and investing in research and innovation, ‘When many a British hosiery manufacturer has gone by the wayside over the 30 years I have been in this industry, we have managed to survive and expand due to our dedication to quality manufacture, with an ethos of sustainability and environmentally conscious manufacturing, where possible organic raw material sourcing, and the commitment to not just be focused on aesthetics but to seek new innovations to create ‘smart apparel’; our Covid-19 response is testimony of the unique specialist nature of our manufacturing capability. However, our “It’s been the most touching experience of my career, and I personally felt the warmth of the British people coming together to support their communities at the local level as they shared their Covid story with us.’” ...our innovation doesn’t stop at manufacture, it’s embedded into the culture of the company and you’ll see it in every aspect of our work...

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