The Limelight: Elena Velez
This edition of The Limelight, I wanted to introduce this emerging designer I missed at the Parsons Benefit Fashion show in May 2018. The first piece that was presented as her opener was so amazing to me, I wanted to get to know and share the thought of her becoming. Check out the Limelight: Elena Velez interview and collection.
[MIKARA] How did you come to terms with the brand name "Elena Velez" ?
[ELENA] At the moment I don't really consider myself a brand which is why I continue to operate eponymously. I'm always considering what my one-day label could be called but I haven't found the right combination of words that speaks to me on that level yet.
[MIKARA] What does fashion mean to you?
[ELENA] To me, fashion like any field of design is about the interpretation and articulation of the human experience through a tangible, visual, tactile, and sensory items - the only difference being that my canvas is the human body. It's the progressive culmination of craft and creativity where dreams are fabricated and a place where experimentation and authentic process are as valuable as the product. its a field where every creative decision i choose to make reflects and elucidates my personal identity as a creator, an observer, and a participant. Fashion allows me to feel fulfilled through my creation of entirely original products that without me or what makes me me, wouldn't exist.
[MIKARA] Who inspired you to get into the fashion retail business?
[ELENA] I don't find anything particularly appealing about fashion retail - in fact I think its an incredibly flawed and obtuse system. I also can't say that there was anyone along the way who inspired me to get into this field. My love for design and the creative process behind it is entirely self fueled. I've had lot's of mentors along the way who have led me to improve my craft or consider my practice from a new angle but I think that my own original desire to progress in this field is what ultimately propels me to the next stages in my career.
[MIKARA] How would describe THE perfect Elena Velez client in 3-5 words?
[ELENA] She appreciates history, authentic storytelling, is curious, introspective, and observant.
[MIKARA] In your look book, your collection exudes: distinctive fused with edge. What was the meaning behind that collection?
"and carry on" is a culmination of a lot of things including a bit of my love for history, fascination for apocalypses, desire for sustainable infusion in fashion, my passion for my hometown and local collaboration, and finally a recent curiosity for metalwork. Inspired by the duality of man’s ability to both destroy and repair, my debut collection "and carry on" revisits the 1941 wartime utility garment industry, investigating sustainable production techniques and celebrating creativity under constraint.Although visually inspired by the characteristics of wartorn architecture, the collection is structurally considerate of regulations observed in the WWII Controlled Commodity industry and is comprised of materiality respective of the regulations and authentic to the time including salvaged canvas, re-purposed parachutes, and scrap metal.Out of admiration for the historical relevance of my hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, known at the time as the “Machine Shop to the World”, "and carry on" features a metalwork collaboration with local artisans to revisit the cities most significant wartime contributions in the steel market.The conclusive line of the popular British propaganda Keep Calm And Carry On, the collection is named for the resilient spirit of recovery and the faith in rehabilitation epitomized by the time.
[MIKARA] What would you like to accomplish in 2 years?
[ELENA] I'd like to be employed in the fashion industry in some capacity - a lot harder than it sounds.
[MIKARA] Is there a celebrity or micro-celebrity you would love to wear your brand? Who?
[ELENA] My friend who photographs has a stunning mother who recently shot in my collection. I think she should be celebrated and I loved to see her in the collection.
[MIKARA] Outside of fashion designing & creative directing, what do you like to do for fun or relaxation?
[ELENA] Fashion design and creative direction are my things to do for fun! I don't know about relaxation... ;)
[MIKARA] Closing out this discussion: What's next for Elena Velez?
[ELENA] Elena Velez would also like to know what's next for Elena Velez!
Steel Collaborators -
Derek Everson @derek.wayne.everson
Gallas Metalworks @gallasmetalworks
Image- Akram Shah @akram.nyc
Model - Indre Aleksiuk @indre.aleksiuk @silentmodelsny
HMUA - Taylor Underwood & Chelsea Plutshack @tbabbbbbby, @minimal.light
Style Asst. - Katrina Vrakas @katrinavrakas