What I Wore When I Met You: Emily Current and Meritt Elliott
Meritt and I met in an Anthropology class at UCLA. I don’t even want to say what year it was. Let’s just say it was the ‘90s. We were both wearing vintage jeans — I know I was wearing bellbottoms, super ‘70s style. Everyone else was wearing black pants. We immediately bonded over our fashion sense.
I thought Meritt was super cool. I was a ballet dancer so everyone I was around was little and she was this tall, beautiful person that had great style. I just felt that she was inspiring to hang out with and trade secrets with — we definitely had a fashion camaraderie.
“I thought Meritt was super cool. She was this tall, beautiful person who had great style.”
After graduation, I was working as a stylist for different companies in LA and Meritt was working for Vogue. We had a friend who had a model agency and she would ask us to style shoots for the new talent that would come through. We just sort of started to build a book together. We styled for probably seven or eight years before we launched Current/Elliott.
It was a time when all jeans we’re bedazzled and we just weren’t into it. So we just ended up making jeans from vintage cuts and thought, “this is definitely something we can do”.
The ‘boyfriend jean’ idea came from our dads, we stole their jeans. We had this obsession — every time I’d go home from school I’d steal more. We just thought, “you know what, let’s just wear these baggy”. It was this look we were into — just wearing our dad’s jeans really big and rolled. And we could have called them the dad jean but boyfriend jean was cuter!
“The boyfriend jean idea came from our dads, we stole their jeans”.
We really do put our heart and soul into a project and I think you can tell when people do that — when you touch and feel product. With certain designers you can really feel the love that went into it. Current/Elliott was just one of those moments. We launched with 22 pieces and every single one was something we poured our hearts into.
Ever since I met Meritt she’s had this confidence and maturity that no one else had. I think everyday she just brings out a little more of the fearlessness in us — she’s willing to jump off a cliff or make a call and it’s so admirable. Having a witness on your journey allows you to be more creative. Two heads are better than one.
The Great is our love right now. The brand is fearless — the girl that we are. She mixes lace with denim, and really fancy things with beat up things. Right now it’s the main focus.
Emily and I are both are from Northern California so we both had the same sort of coming to age references when it came to our style. We both spent a ton of time vintage shopping up north — we’d go into Berkeley (separately, before we knew each other). And of course, when you’re in college you’re sort of new and looking to find connections with people. It felt like home hanging out.
In college, everyone wore a uniform, and Emily didn’t have the same uniform as everyone else. She put together interesting combinations — I think she had some of her grandma’s old necklaces layered on and I just remember I felt so inspired by that.
Freshman year we didn’t have cars so we would take the bus to local flea markets and got to know each other on those long journeys. And then we started discovering little gems of thrift stores — and I say thrift, not necessarily vintage — that would have all this Chanel jewelry. You have a limited budget [in college] but you still want to find out who you are. We did that together.
“We would take the bus to local flea markets and got to know each other on those long journeys.”
Current/Elliott really came about because the perfect denim was the one thing we couldn’t find in the marketplace. We would actually get old pairs and tailor them ourselves. So we started styling together, we just continued to do that for our clients, ourselves and our friends and it just became the product we were most passionate about.
Now we’ve just launched The Great because we know what we want from head-to-toe. We’re grown up and have experience under our belt and are really able to articulate that. The line is very personal to us — some of the pieces we’ve created are inspired by stuff we found together when we were 18 years old. When it comes to working with Emily, she certainly pushes me to do things with more abandon. Combining creative elements that are outside my comfort zone.
We have the sort of relationship where she can suggest something totally crazy and I can either love it or we laugh about it and we move on. It’s that endless creative banter. It’s like a marriage when you’ve worked together for 17 years — oh my god that sounds so long!
As told to Kelly Agnew