In case you don’t already know, I’m a massive Harry Potter fan. Not in a my-bedroom-is-a-shrine kind of way, or even a got-a-Deathly-Hallows-tattoo kind of way. Buuuut definitely in an I-went-to-Leakycon-London-2013 kind of way, an I’ve-read-Deathly-Hallows-probably-20-times kind of way. And thanks to some awesome small businesses who know a thing or two about fandom, I’m now a Potter fan in a Oh-you-didn’t-realise-my-totally-adorable-accessory-is-actually-a-Potter-shout-out?-Well-it-IS kind of way.
I feel a little bit gushy about both of these companies’ products because they’re so clever and beautiful without being overtly in-your-face with their canon associations. As someone who rarely enjoys wearing novelty items, that subtlety in their designs is extremely attractive.
The awesome Deathly Hallows pins featured in this photoset are from Fandom Flair Pins. They offer enamel pins in designs that cover many of the most well-loved fandoms, from Harry Potter to Star Wars, Parks and Recreation and Gilmore Girls, Supernatural, Doctor Who–the list goes on. The designs range from subtle in their geekiness to downright proud of it, with this gold toned intricate floral Deathly Hallows symbol on one side of the spectrum to a Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans jelly bean bearing a banner inscribed with ‘Alas! Ear wax!’ on the other end.
It was the range of Deathly Hallows pins that most caught my eye when I first discovered this maker. While I’m fond of brooches that feature a fair bit of crystal-covered sparkles, I like solid metal pieces as well, so I ended up ordering the plain gold toned Hallows pin and the black enamel filled pin. At the time there was also a plain silver toned version and a red enamel filled version on offer, all four of which are now sold out, but the DH symbol is still available presently in glitter enamel limited edition pieces.
The pins are sturdy and professionally made, arriving quickly from America in perfect condition. I love that non-Potter fans won’t necessarily notice that these simple but pretty pins are a nod to The Boy Who Lived, while fellow Potterheads get super excited when they spot the symbol worn proudly with my favourite pinup outfits. That’s a Thestral-level shout out I can definitely get on board with.
Now, let’s talk cardigans. I can’t even remember how or when I found Elhoffer Design but I know it was on Instagram, where I immediately followed their account and began to drool over their range of cropped cardigans. I first lusted and dithered over their Harry Potter inspired Argyle house cardigans. My colour preferences drew me most to the two cardigans I could least claim for my own–Gryffindor and Slytherin. As a forever Ravenclaw who only recently got sorted into Hufflepuff for the first time by Pottermore’s recent site redesign, it just didn’t seem right to don the Gryffie or Slythie colours when I’m a mix of Eagle and Badger at heart, so I held off making a purchase. Then, though, I saw the Serpent Slayer cardigan go up for pre-order and I knew that would be the piece I eventually broke for.
All of Elhoffer Designs’ pieces are made in the USA in small quantities, so those factors mixed with their high quality means they aren’t cheap pieces. The cropped cardigans cost around $80 generally, a price that I’ll admit felt too steep to justify at first compared to the usual $25 I spend per solid coloured MAK cropped cardigan. I understood why the cost was $80, but I just wasn’t sure I could personally justify it within my own budget given a patterned cardigan automatically has less versatility than a plain coloured one.
…But, you know, then I drooled over it for ages and sold a bunch of clothes I wasn’t wearing anymore and I said, screw it. Treat Yo’self! I ordered mine back in the summer during its pre-order phase, when most of their designs are offered at a cheaper price with said price increasing to it’s full retail price in increments the closer it gets to the release date. This pre-order phase allows Elhoffer to get a better idea of what quantities to order in the production process, so the price drop during that phase serves to entice potential customers to commit to the product earlier to ensure Elhoffer can complete their expected production run. I ordered mine to be delivered to a mail forwarding suite I have set up in the States so that it could be shipped along with some other items I would be shipping to myself in the UK around the same time, to save on shipping overall. Elhoffer Design does offer international shipping though, at the same standard rates I’ve seen offered by US companies that are infinitely larger in size.
The cardigan itself is a wonder. Inspired by the cardigan Neville Longbottom wears in the Deathly Hallows Part 2 movie during the scene that he (spoiler alert!) kills Nagini, it’s the kind of cool fandom call-back that most people would never get unless you told them. That’s perfect for someone like me who doesn’t want to clutter up my vintage aesthetic with blatant Potter references that look out of place set against my vintage brush out and winged liner. The cropped length sits at my natural waist, making it a perfect length to pair with all my vintage style dresses and skirts for the most flattering silhouette. It’s made from a thick knit that doesn’t look bulky but feels very warm, something I know I’ll appreciate come winter.
The final excellent feature of this cardigan that I love is that it comes with a detachable hood. I don’t think I’ve ever found a hooded cardigan anywhere else in my life, let alone such a cute, well made one that’s cropped. The fact that it’s also detachable means you can easily pop off the 3 buttons that keep it attached on the days the weather isn’t threatening, or when you simply want a more streamlined, standard cardigan look. Even when the hood is attached it lays nicely across my shoulders and back, and it’s big enough to cover my vintage hairstyles without squashing them down.
I ordered this cardigan in the XL, and as it’s one of Elhoffer’s stretchiest pieces it’s listed as having 5-8 inches stretch with the XL flat measuring 40 inches in the bust on the size chart. Measuring my XL I found the waist flat measures 34 inches with easy stretch to 40 inches without any button gaping issues and the bust flat 42 inches with stretch to 50 inches. The Serpent Slayer cardigan comes in sizes XS-3XL for $80
I badly want one of the house argyle cardigans next, but it’s not just Harry Potter designs that Elhoffer offers, featuring all kinds of clothing items inspired by Hamilton, Star Wars, Game of Thrones, and Zelda, as well of a small line that represents LGBTQ pride with profits that go to LGBTQ support and education groups. This company is one I’m thrilled to have found and one I look forward to supporting repeatedly in future.
Are there any makers or small businesses that produce fandom pieces you love? Drop me a list in the comments!