Fashion Designer Lea Freni

Lea Freni is a women’s fashion designer with a BS in Fiber Science and Apparel Design from Cornell University. As the creative director of her line, VOGEL, her design philosophy is centered on the tension between order an enigma, presenting the contemporary women’s wear market with an aesthetic viewpoint rich in mathematical intricacy coded imagery. Lea’s brand is based in New York, and we made her an interview, to get to know more abot her and more about her Vogel Line.

When did you know you wanted to be a fashion designer?

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be a fashion designer. Both of my parents sew and helped foster my interest in fashion design when I began sketching and making my own clothing at a young age.

I was also very fortunate to grow up surrounded by the apparel industry; my grandmother was a highly skilled seamstress, my father works in apparel and footwear manufacturing and my aunt works in fashion and accessory design. VOGEL, which means bird in German, is also partially named in the memorandum of my great grandfather’s former textile shop in southern Germany.

What’s it like being in the Fashion industry?

While I have five years of apparel internship experience under my belt, I only recently received a BS in Fiber Science and Apparel Design from Cornell University in January 2015. Thus far, I have enjoyed meeting and working with a variety of creative and driven individuals and am thrilled to share VOGEL’s Spring / Summer 2016 collection at Vancouver Fashion Week on October 1st!

What was your first job in the fashion industry?

I grew up in Portland, Oregon where I had my first internship with Pendleton Woolen Mills. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work directly with the designers for the Portland Collection who served as honest and supportive mentors early on in my career. Since then, I have had the opportunity to work with a variety of contemporary and luxury women’s wear brands including Vena Cava, Theory, Peter Som and Prabal Gurung.

Describe what do you do in your work?

VOGEL’s approach to contemporary women’s wear melds craft and technology, harnessing current research in origami mechanics to create polymorphic apparel and accessories. We employ a variety of technologies such as laser cutting to create custom surface elements and crease-pattern molds which are used to heat-set synthetic fibers and create flexible, resilient folds in our textiles.

As creative director, I develop each season’s concept & color story, sketch designs, select fabrics, and trims and oversee production. This season I have also had the pleasure of collaborating with talented origami artist Uyen Nguyen to develop new crease patterns and textiles.

It is the first time you are going to present your collection in Vancouver Fashion Week?

Yes, VOGEL is delighted to be participating in Vancouver Fashion Week for the first time this season!

What was the inspiration for your last collection?

My last collection was inspired by the metamorphic qualities and delicate intricacy of traditional origami folding and explored the pure, enigmatic beauty concealed within geometric relationships.

Which material did you use for your last collection?

Striking a balance between the ethereal and architectural, I utilized a variety of silk organzas, cotton sateens featuring original digital prints.

What inspires you?

I often draw inspiration from mathematics and the sciences, often focusing on data visualization and coded imagery. For Spring Summer 2016 I was drawn to visual representations of audio, a concept I explored through more code inspired beading and folding motifs.

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