Meet The Team: Ell

Interview & Images by Kyra, Assisted by Tajah, Self-Styled by Ell.

Break Babe Ell is an angel on the retail floor. Known for her Debbie Harry blonde hair and rockstar wardrobe, Ell is the essence of modern vintage. It’s easy to spot her: look for a sweetheart in an oversized blazer with an oat milk cortado in hand. Read on to find out more about this emerging stylist, model, and absolute gem of a woman.

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Name: Ell Brakebill

From: Chattanooga, TN

Currently: Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn

Sign: Sagittarius

Follow: @dovemother

Take 20% off Ell’s favorite brands We Who Prey & Knobbly with code “ELL20” at checkout. Offer expires December 16th 11:59pm.

Your style is clearly derived from rock ‘n roll legends...who inspires you the most and why?

If it wasn’t obvious, David Bowie, Debbie Harry, Lou Reed, Richard Hell, Patti Smith. The quintessential 5-10 punks that everyone who romanticizes that era references. Obviously, Bowie was glam, but I’m gonna talk about that queen as if he were a punk. I love Bowie’s mid-70s spin on the classics—colorful suits, fitted blazers, funky sharp collar shirts haphazardly unbuttoned a little too far. It’s fucking sexy, but it’s reserved. I love that.

The early punks took classic and ripped it to shreds to piss people off. Take Richard Hell or Patti Smith for example, they’re not trying. Or at least, they give the illusion of not trying.  It’s who they are that makes what they have on cool. White ripped shirt, stained black jeans, messy dirty hair, and it’s cool. It’s sexy, too. It’s confident. My hair is a Debbie reference, though I get ‘Til Tuesday Aimee Mann a lot, or Pris from Blade Runner. Both very great things to be associated with. Old men love to try to explain to me what my references are. “Have you ever heard of Blondie?”

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You’ve lived in New York City for over a year now—what do you love about being a Brooklyn babe?

I love the pace. I love that even when I feel like I’m not doing anything, I’m still doing something. Everything is happening around you here—it’s electric. It’s an endlessly inspiring place. It also takes so much energy to do the smallest task here that it breeds very driven people. You have to really want to do something to do it. If you aren’t driven, you will not thrive. It’s also terrifying and isolating. It’s easy to feel as though you are drowning and can’t keep up. But I know how universal that feeling is, and it builds a sense of community among the people that live here. Especially between creatives. The best of the best are here creating beside you, and it can make you feel like shit. Why even try? But it makes you so much better when you have no choice but to compare yourself to great people. You’ll always be working to better your craft, better your perspective, better your voice.

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What’s the story behind “dovemother,” your instagram handle?

Well, it started on tumblr in 2015. I had a blog, and my interests started changing. I wanted something that I thought represented me accurately (because that was a big deal back in those days). People would call me mother all the time because that’s the energy I gave off—I was always giving advice and trying to help people through things. It was a really dark time on the internet, in my opinion. Anyway, I also loved birds. I still do. Doves obviously represent peace, love, beauty, and hope. Aphrodite was associated with the dove, and who doesn’t like her?

I also thought the dichotomy was interesting between the symbolism of doves and how we use them. They’re in complete contrast to one another. We keep them in captivity, breed them as we want, and “set them free” just for them to ultimately die, unable to fend for themselves in the wild.

I know it may come off as though I’m making it deeper than it really is, but I always do that. So I became Dove Mother, and some people still refer to me as “Dove.”


You are a queen of accessorizing. What are your favorite wholesale pieces in the Break?

I adore the We Who Prey pins. I love using them to decorate a blazer lapel or the brim of a hat. I also really love the Knobbly nude solo earrings, though I never wear anything other than oversized gold hoops. I have a great appreciation for them.

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Tell us about some of the creative projects you’ve been a part of this year.

I’ve been doing a lot of small things. I’ve worked with a lot of lovely photographers: Bobby Lee Palmer, Daniel Schaefer, Roeg Cohen to name a few of my favorites. I’ve begun styling for photographers, which I’m really enjoying. I’ve been hair modeling for TIGI. But most importantly, I’ve been entirely slacking on my own personal creative projects.

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What’s a secret you can share with us?

I have no idea what I’m doing.

Take 20% off Ell’s favorite brands We Who Prey & Knobbly with code “ELL20” at checkout. Offer expires December 16th 11:59pm.