Kiwi Fashion Brand Leo+Be Makes Room for Rising Star

We all once dreamed of becoming a fashion designer at one point in our lives… I know I did. But the industry is so fast paced and always moving that it is sometimes difficult to get your foot in the door.

You need to have a bunch of passion and creativity running through your veins and that’s what founder of Kiwi fashion brands Ketz-ke and LEO+BE Jenny Drury saw in budding design star 18-year-old Ella Cook.

When Ella approached Jenny in early 2020 for an internship with LEO+BE, Jenny immediately spied something special in the Carmel College student, agreeing to have her join the team. Briefed to flex her creativity and design a head-to-toe look that captured the LEO+BE brand identity and the needs of its customers, Ella launched herself into research, market analysis and design development with vigour.

“Straight off the bat, Ella identified that a key selling point for our brand was the ability for garments to be mixed and matched, something that is important to our diverse customer base across New Zealand,” says Jenny. Ella designed three items – the Bay Jacket, Glimpse Top and Franz Pant – made to work together as an outfit or to be worn separately, with her inspiration coming from the beauty of nature in New Zealand.

Jenny was so impressed by Ella’s designs that she decided to include them in the LEO+BE Winter 2021 collection and present the look to stockists, with the final garments set to land on shop floors up and down New Zealand this month.

In addition to having her designs produced and available for purchase at just 18 years old, Ella also received an incredible 23/24 for her course in NCEA, placing her first for Materials Technology in the whole of New Zealand.

“It was awesome to finish the year with such an incredible result, knowing all that hard work had paid off.”

“The collaborative partnership I had with Jenny played a huge role in that success and taught me so much about all the moving parts involved with running a small business – it’s much more than just pretty clothes and takes a lot of dedication, creativity and passion,” says Ella.

The LEO+BE ‘Look Around’ Winter 2021 collection featuring Ella’s designs will be available at stockists across NZ from April 2021.

For stockist details please visit

Content provided by Undertow Media

SophiaWritten by Sophia Ivory

Curly hair and she don’t care, this stylish babe plays by her own rules. With a love for dance and all things body positive, you’ll usually find her searching out the latest fashion trends and digging through local thrift stores. Word of warning, don’t bring your dachshund around her, she’ll want to keep it.

Check out her Instagram for all things goals! @sophiaivory 


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