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For Ellie Mae Waters, designing clothing is a form of self-expression. “My personal life experience is what inspires me the most. It’s the most authentic thing that can inspire me,” says the creative director of seven-year-old women’s wear line Ellie Mae, which is designed and produced in Toronto. Equally inspiring for Waters is song. “I don’t think I’m ever in a room without music,” she says.

In August, Waters and her partner, Jeremy Wood-Ross, the brand’s CEO and sales director, expanded Ellie Mae from its loft-like studio space in downtown Toronto to open its first flagship store. Designed by interior designer Ashley Montgomery, the boutique is as much a reflection of Waters’s work process as it is her final product. “So much of my creative process has to do with a physical touching of the fabrics,” Waters says. “We wanted to bring that out as much as possible in the physical space.” In addition to tactile elements, Waters uncovered some of the space’s original architectural details to reveal its unique character. They’ve also added in a mix of vintage furniture to complement the serene colour palette of pink and white, as well as the selection of vintage clothing. “There’s not a lot of feelings that beat nostalgia for me, it just takes you to a happy place,” Waters says.

The fall collection, which Waters calls Magic Hour and features cozy knit sweaters and floral-print dresses, is equally evocative of feelings of contentment. “I crave those quiet moments of sunrises and sunsets,” Waters says.

Ellie Mae Studios, 1096 Yonge St., Toronto, 437-224-0904,

steven elphick/Ellie Mae

Ellie Mae Lloyd jacket, $645.

steven elphick/Ellie Mae

Ellie Mae Lana dress, $545.

steven elphick/Ellie Mae

Ellie Mae Luciana sweater, $475.

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