Elle + Riley x Verve Magazine

"Elle + Riley Cashmere has been making luxurious cashmere lifestyle garments more accessible in New Zealand since 2016. Founded by mother and daughter team Yolande Ellis and Elle Pugh, Elle + Riley was created for the love of cashmere. Together, they select the finest cashmere to produce timeless designs for the modern individual, incorporating effortless elegance into everyday moments."


The brand has grown considerably since they opened their first pop-up site in Ponsonby, with 2020 bringing the announcement of two new retail locations to their existing bricks and mortar portfolio. Commercial Bay, Auckland CBD’s newest and most luxurious shopping and entertainment district, is due to open in March followed closely with a location in the revamped Newmarket Precinct.

Elle explains their journey started when Yolande travelled to Nepal and purchased cashmere pieces as gifts for friends and family. “She realised then, that there was nowhere to purchase those special pieces throughout all seasons.”

Yolande says: “People love it because it’s soft and it breathes. It’s also up to eight times warmer than wool. Our customers love to travel with it because it’s light.”

“Then there’s the luxury element,” adds Elle. “You know when you put it on, cashmere is something special.”

Establishing that there was a gap in the local market, Elle and Yolande combined their backgrounds in fashion and retail to provide not only an accessible cashmere product but also an elevated retail experience for the product itself.

“It’s a product that inspires and needs a lot of conversation,” Elle says. “People are keen to know the story of how it is made and how to look after it. To this day, we like to spend time on the shop floor, talking to our customers and engaging them with the product.

“Because it is so tactile people want to touch and feel it. We set up the shops in both Auckland and Queenstown with a strong focus on experience. We place emphasis on creating bespoke shop fit-outs that align with the product”.

Now that it’s available, cashmere lovers just can’t get enough. Both women and men have tuned in to the timeless sophistication of cashmere.  Elle + Riley’s collections are a mix of classic and contemporary pieces designed for a wide spectrum of ages.

“Because we are a mother and daughter team,” says Yolande, “we design to suit all age groups. The younger market is often influenced by the mother’s love of cashmere with sustainability ingrained in the process throughout. Current generations are becoming more conscious of buying a more sustainable product, something to keep forever rather than throw away.

“While most of our customers are women, we also design for men with a range of sweaters, beanies and scarves ― and that’s starting to grow in demand. There are a lot of men who travel extensively. They know about the heritage of cashmere, and they want to experience it for themselves.”

Elle and Yolande design the pieces themselves whilst most of the garments are made offshore as more than 90 per cent of raw cashmere comes from Mongolia where it is extremely hot in summer and cold in winter. The goat’s hair is combed from the fine soft underbelly of the animal, a time-consuming process. Two goats are needed to get enough fibre for a sweater, hence it is more valuable than merino.

They have also introduced a special New Zealand-made product that is a gorgeous combination of cashmere, possum and silk.

Colours are deliberately neutral. “Although we have done a lot of colour in the past and still provide feature colours each season, most of our customers still opt for the soft neutral tones – the camels, greys and pastels. Because you want to keep pieces forever, you don’t want to tire looking at them,” explains Elle.

The next few months will see the pair roll out their new Autumn-Winter collection. Whether you visit an Elle + Riley Cashmere store or check online you will discover luxurious ribbed and cabled pieces, animal prints, plus the latest brushed cashmere which is incredibly soft.

Once you experience it, you will keep coming back for more.


Words: Vicki Holder

Our guide to caring for your cashmere.

Hi everyone! Caring for your cashmere is the perfect activity to do during the lockdown. As well as organising your wardrobe your cashmere will be fresh and ready to wear for the coming cooler months. 

Let's talk about pilling...

After wearing your new cashmere garment for the first few times, you may find small balls of fibre forming on the surface. These small balls or 'pills' are caused by some of the loose fibre tangling together as areas of your garment are rubbed during wear.

The appearance of pilling should not be interpreted as an indication of low quality, it is often caused by friction and can be removed with proper maintenance. This is why we developed our own cashmere care range, our liquids are formulated using 100% natural ingredients in our favourite scents of orange and geranium with subtle notes of cedar to keep the moths at bay.

Cashmere really does improve with age and if cared for properly its wonderful features are enhanced. I think it is preferable to have a garment that expresses all the naturalness of the fine thread of which it is composed.

Pills can be easily removed by using our Elle + Riley Comb.

"I recommend to avoid wearing a cashmere garment two days in a row. Let it rest for a day, airing your garment for a few hours on a flat surface, preferably outdoors, before wearing it again" 

To begin your cashmere care routine:

  1. Gently remove the peeling particles with your Elle + Riley Cashmere Comb.
  2. Fill up a basin or wash bucket with cold water and pour in two capfuls of Elle + Riley Cashmere Wash.
  3. Gently squeeze the suds through the fabric, taking care not to rub, wring or stretch your garment. Rinse well, squeeze out as much excess water as possible, and leave to dry flat on a towel in the shade.
  4. Steam if necessary to eliminate wrinkles

"An E+R tip is to roll your cashmere in a clean towel to squeeze the excess water out prior to laying flat"

Remember to always dry naturally away from direct heat such as radiators or sunlight. We do not tumble dry or hang up our cashmere as it will irreversibly deform your garment.

After the first few washes following these steps, the formation of pilling will stop in a natural way and the original softness of the thread will be maintained over time.

How to store your cashmere...

Preserve your cashmere between washes using Elle + Riley Cashmere Spray to remove any unwanted odours. To use spray 15cm away from your cashmere garment to lightly fragrance and freshen.

"Our Cashmere Spray is also made from 100% natural ingredients with notes of orange, geranium and cedar, I use as a room spray too!" 

Keep your cashmere folded in our breathable cotton Care Bags. These are an essential accessory to care for any cashmere garments in storage or during travel. Our Care Bags come in one size and each bag can fit up to two garments.

To use, store your cashmere garments in our bags with one of our Elle + Riley Cedar Blocks to protect from perspiration and repel moths. They act as a natural repellent! 

If you do not already own products from our care range, why not gift yourself an Elle + Riley Cashmere Care Pack which includes one of each: Cashmere WashCashmere Spray, Cashmere Comb and Cedar Blocks which come in a cute pack of three perfect for putting in your Care Bags or between folded piles in your drawers. 

Orders will be dispatched once the New Zealand lockdown is lifted. 

Stay safe,

Elle x