Kamala Harris‘s stepdaughter Ella Emhoff is continuing to take advantage of her newfound fame with the launch of her upcoming knitwear collaboration with designer Batsheva Hay.
The 21-year-old, who is the daughter of Harris’ husband, Doug Emhoff, and his first wife, Kerstin, has gone from a fine art student to fashion a darling less than two months after she donned a stylish Batsheva dress and Miu Miu coat to President Joe Biden‘s inauguration.
Emhoff announced her knitwear collaboration during a conversation with Hay on the latest episode of Good Morning Vogue, just weeks after being signed by IMG Models and making her runway debut during New York Fashion Week.
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Big deal: Kamala Harris’s stepdaughter Ella Emhoff, 21, announced her upcoming knitwear collaboration with designer Batsheva Hay in the latest episode of Good Morning Vogue
Moment: The fine arts student met Hay for the first time on camera. She previously worked with the designer to create the dress she wore to President Joe Biden’s inauguration
The episode began with her having a conversation with her friends Fifi Hodgkinson and Irene Hayes about her meteoric rise to fame following the inauguration.
‘I remember a few days before the inauguration we were talking about what you were going to wear and we were very excited — I was joking that you were going to become a style icon,’ Hodgkinson recalled, and that’s exactly what happened.
When Emhoff attended the ceremony wearing a tartan coat with crystal-encrusted shoulders and a wide collar over a burgundy dress, social media took notice and the fashion world followed.
The senior at Parsons School of Design in New York City went from having about 50,000 followers on Instagram the day before the inauguration to nearly 400,000.
‘I have to be honest, I wasn’t expecting this,’ she admitted. ‘I think life really did a 180.’
The episode gave viewers a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the Brooklyn apartment that she shares with Hodgkinson and Hayes, which has three-knitting looms for her to work.
Artist’s work: The episode gave viewers a behind-the-scenes glimpse of Emhoff’s Brooklyn apartment that has three-knitting looms
Sneak peek: While there’s little known about their knitwear collaboration as of yet, they talked about shapes and textures that they were interested in creating during the meeting
While most budding designers have to wait for their big break, people have been clamoring to work with Emhoff since her stepmother’s vice-presidential campaign and subsequent win thrust her into the spotlight.
Emhoff’s friends insisted that she hasn’t changed who she s with them, but she noted that for her, personally, ‘s**t’s different’ than it was before.
Before meeting Hay in person for the first time at her garment-district studio, she reflected on how she got to work with the Batsheva designer on her inauguration day dress.
‘It’s so weird because I’ve followed her for a really long time, and then I was thinking about what to wear for the inauguration. I got to meet her on Zoom and I was like, okay,’ she recalled. ‘So many of her designs are so cohesive to my personal wants and needs.’
Hay was just as excited to meet Emhoff, and she made it clear that she is a fan of the rising fashion star during their sit-down.
Family event: Emhoff attended the inauguration with her father, Doug Emhoff, and her stepmother, Harris, and quickly became a fashion star
Attention! Emhoff stood out in a Miu Miu tartan coat with crystal-encrusted shoulders and a wide collar
Bringing looks: Under her statement-making coat was a burgundy dress by Batsheva
‘Obviously we got connected through me dressing you, but then, that also opened my eyes to just kind of fangirl-ing on your stuff and seeing what you’re doing,’ Hay said.
‘You know, even though my stuff is more traditional femininity, I think that you’re also doing something playful and playing with femininity too, in colors and shapes and all of that kind of stuff.’
Emhoff, who recently released a five-piece knitwear collection on the e-tailer Mall that sold out in one day, agreed with Hay.
‘That’s what’s so important about designing, especially to me, is being able to create things that you like without the outside influence of what you think the fashion industry wants. Which is why I’m so excited that we’re collaborating,’ she said.
While there’s little known about their knitwear collaboration as of yet, they talked about shapes and textures that they were interested in creating during the meeting.
The video ended with them taking winter night’s stroll through Washington Square Park with Hay offering Emhoff advice. The designer warned her not to compare her work to others, explaining that ‘competition will crush creativity,’ and the student agreed.
Big break: Emhoff recently released a five-piece knitwear collection on the e-tailer Mall that sold out in one day
Still learning: Emhoff’s focus at Parsons School of Design textiles, and she often shows off her knitwear on her Instagram, which has nearly 400,000 followers
‘My therapist always says, “Compare and despair,”‘ Emhoff said. ‘It’s one of those things, like just comparing yourself, even if it’s a good comparison, at a certain point, it might just cause you a lot of pain and just over-thinking that is just not necessary.’
The news of Hay and Emhoff’s design collaboration comes less than a week after Harrris’ stepdaughter stormed the runway for Proenza Schouler in three different stylish looks during New York Fashion Week.
According to Vogue, the fashion show was actually filmed two Sundays before on Long Island, but everyone involved — including designers Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez — kept Emhoff’s involvement a secret until the video and imagery from the event were posted online.
The appearance marked her first professional modeling gig since signing with IMG in late January, joining the ranks of Gigi Hadid, Kate Moss, and Alek Wek, who are also signed by the agency.
‘It’s not really about shape, size or gender any more,’ said Ivan Bart, the president of IMG Models. ‘Ella communicates this moment in time. There’s a cheekiness and a joy she exudes.’
Voila! Emhoff appeared in her first designer fashion show last month, just three weeks after it was announced that she had signed with IMG Models
Model moment: She stormed the runway for Proenza Schouler in three different stylish looks
Chatting: Emhoff also participated in a Q&A with the Proenza Schouler designers Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez on February 15
He said his response to seeing her at the inauguration was: ‘Wow, she’s communicating fashion.’
Ella said the approach from Bart took her back, even though she had been dabbling in modeling for a smaller agent.
‘I was pretty surprised when everything with IMG was happening because when I was younger, I never saw that as being part of my timeline,’ she told The New York Times.
‘As someone who, like a lot of young girls out there, had self-confidence issues, it is intimidating and scary to go into this world that is hyper-focused on you and the body.’
Exciting news: ‘Ella communicates this moment in time. There’s a cheekiness and a joy she exudes,’ said Ivan Bart, the president of IMG Models, after she was signed to the agency
Superstars: Karlie Kloss (left) and Gigi Hadid (right) are among the famous faces to be part of the IMG lineup
She said she was encouraged by the diversity of models working today, and the opportunity to be ‘part of that change.’
‘I’ve obviously got a bigger platform now, and I’m excited to share a lot of things I really care about, and do some good,’ she said, adding that she was ‘excited to do things like wear fun clothes’ and ‘to bring a bit of Bushwick into the high fashion realm.’
She also hoped to fundraise for knitwear artists, adding: ‘There are a lot of people out there that need a lot of help,’ If I can do anything to help with that, I want to, and I think this opportunity will be really beneficial toward that.’
Emhoff isn’t the only family member who is cashing in on the family’s newfound fame.
The vice president’s influencer niece Meena Harris put on an at-home fashion show for Prada, just days after White House told her to stop using her aunt’s name and likeness to build her own brand.
The 36-year-old posted an Instagram video in which she is seen modeling a Prada outfit and bag on her couch for the brand’s Milan Fashion Week show.
Loving the spotlight: Harris’ influencer niece Meena recently cashed in on her connection to the VP by modeling in an Instagram video for Prada
Connections: White House lawyers reportedly told Meena (pictured left with her aunt and her mother Maya) to stop using her aunt’s name to promote her brand after the November election
It is unclear whether she was financially compensated for the video; she did not use a sponsored or ad hashtag while sharing it on Instagram last Thursday.
Meena likely received the outfit and bag — which are worth a total of $6,340 — for free in order to model it at home.
Her fashion post came ten days after it was revealed White House lawyers had told her to stop using Kamala’s name and likeness to build up her own brand.
Her company, Phenomenal, previously released a range of designs that featured the ‘I’m speaking!’ quote that her aunt famously said to Mike Pence during a debate
The website for the brand also featured numerous references to and quotes from Kamala, although these have since been scrubbed.
Promotion: Meena has her own brand, called Phenomenal, and she has used quotes from her aunt on clothing designs
Taking advantage: Her Phenomenal line includes several pieces with feminist messages, and previously included descriptions that referenced her famous aunt
Speaking to the Los Angeles Times earlier this month, a White House official scolded the influencer, insisting that her ‘behavior needs to change.’
‘Some things can’t be undone. That being said: behavior needs to change,’ the unnamed insider said.
In a statement given to the publication by Meena’s PR firm, she insisted that she had ‘upheld all legal and ethical standards’ since the start of the Biden-Harris campaign.
‘Since the beginning of the campaign, I have insisted on upholding all legal and ethical standards and will continue to strictly adhere to the ethics rules of the Biden/Harris White House,’ she said.
‘With regards to Phenomenal, it was always our plan to remove the likeness of the Vice President from the website before the Inauguration, and refrain from using her likeness in any products or campaigns going forward.’