5 Things To Know About Ella Emhoff, DC’s Newest Fashion Icon

5 Things To Know About Ella Emhoff, DC’s Newest Fashion Icon


Cole Emhoff and Ella Emhoff on Inauguration Day. Photograph by Win McNamee/Pool Photo via AP.

It’s tough to steal the spotlight during a historic celebration like Inauguration Day. But that’s exactly what Kamala Harris’ step-daughter Ella Emhoff did when she stepped onto the platform wearing a bejeweled Miu Miu coat with a starched white collar. The 21-year-old’s bold choice instantly launched her as a style icon in the making, bringing fashion-school cool to a city once galled by a tan suit. Here’s what to know about the administration’s reigning trendsetter:

She’s a student at Parsons School of Design

After earning a high school degree from progressive Wildwood in West Los Angeles, Emhoff embarked east to study textiles and apparel at Parsons School of Design. Now in her senior year at the private arts college, Emhoff is living in Brooklyn while wrapping up her BFA.

She designs striped knitwear

Before the pandemic made elastic waistbands de rigueur, Emhoff was crafting comfy knit pants in her signature stripe pattern. Fielding commissions through her online shop and Instagram, the budding designer has expanded her collection to Tweety Bird bags and knit dresses. Recently, Emhoff raffled off a pair of pantaloons to benefit For The Gworls, a fund that raises money for Black trans folx.

But textiles aren’t her only artistic pursuit

Beyond knitwear, Emhoff also paints pop art and crafts funky ceramics—think Hello Kitty pipes. Perhaps artistic talent comes with the name: Emhoff is named after jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald.

She can give you a tattoo

In true Brooklyn cool-kid fashion, Emhoff has taken up stick-and-poke tattoos. The Second Daughter already has some ink—like a cow and a birthday cake—but began brandishing the needle during quarantine.

“I did my dog’s name, and I did a little flower. [Then] I recently did my first big boy: [a] salmon fish with a flower hanging out of its mouth. It’s super fun,” Emhoff told Garage.

She’s close with her “Momala”

Emhoff was entering high school when dad Doug first introduced her and brother Cole to Kamala Harris, whom the kids refer to as “Momala.” Harris attended Ella’s swim meets and basketball games with mom Kerstin Emhoff, but had to miss her graduation to attend James Comey’s testimony. Sunday nights are traditionally reserved for Harris-Emhoff family dinners (Harris is head chef and Ella makes dessert), but since Covid hit, they all get together on Sundays over Zoom.

“Sometimes I feel like I’m just getting to know her as a politician because I’ve spent so much time getting to know her as just my stepmom,” Emhoff told Glamour.

Assistant Editor

Daniella Byck joined Washingtonian in August 2018. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she studied journalism and digital culture. Originally from Rockville, she lives in Logan Circle.

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