Elena Velez Hand-Stitches Scraps and Makes the Woman of Today

The main of Elena Velez’s brand name is in the family-operate workshops and great waters of Wisconsin. Her intimate dresses, in matte creams and sheer blacks, distinction with the sharp grittiness of the metallic bars she molds into corsets and bra tops. It can be uncooked, industrial structure at its most sensual, and a refreshing Midwestern expression in America’s New York- and Los Angeles-centric style scene. And but, the designer—who debuted at New York Vogue 7 days just past fall—has ironically, nevertheless understandably, turn into a Hollywood darling.

Very last thirty day period, reggaetón singer Rosalía wore a sheer white glance of woven PVC filament from Velez’s “Vessel” collection though filming a video for her album Motomami, and she was in head-to-toe Elena Velez for her “Hentai” music movie, which debuted March 16. A person glance integrated a tan leather corset manufactured in Milwaukee—Velez’s dwelling city—out of deconstructed bits from a welding apron.

model styled by joe van o in elena velez

Tre Crews

“In all honesty, the stardust chase can guide to a rather cynical location, so I attempt to continue to keep out of it,” Velez tells BAZAAR.com. Possessing claimed that, the designer admits, “Rosalía has been a manifestation yrs in the generating.”

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Rosalía’s stylist, Caitlyn Martinez, was in the depths of her Instagram Discover rabbit gap when she arrived throughout Velez. “It is an instinct,” Martinez claims of locating the subsequent designer to obsess in excess of. “It is like paying for a painting for a unique home in your crib. You just know when it suits and contributes to the overall eyesight. Her types in good shape the course of the video clip so very well.”

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Velez has also manufactured looks for Kali Uchis, Grimes, Charli XCX, Arca, Kim Petras, Tinashe, Rico Awful, and Caroline Polachek. Solange Knowles wore Velez’s metal rebar bodice for a shoot with Numéro Berlin, Jane the Virgin actress Diane Guerrero wore a PVC topless harness from her Homecoming capsule selection “for no damn cause,” the designer says.

model styled by joe van o in elena velez

Tre Crews

Earning higher-trend from scraps is Velez’s specialty. The designer usually takes inspiration from her childhood, which she expended aboard industrial ships, touring across the Great Lakes with her captain mother. It is why she frequently takes advantage of products this kind of as ship sails, rope from boats, and discarded metallic in her pieces. It is why she stains her ivory attire with filth and brown tea water, and why her styles, though constantly sensitive and female, reference the design sites and producing plants that 1st formed her plan of womanhood.

It is really a deconstructed, anti-splendor technique to magnificent style, equivalent to what we noticed in Rick Owens’s smoke-crammed tumble 2022 exhibit, or in Yohji Yamamoto’s properly chaotic fall prepared-to-dress in selection.

model styled by joe van o in elena velez

Tre Crews

At her next present, which took place at the Freehand Resort for the duration of New York’s tumble 2022 year in February, Velez debuted one of her most technological tasks to date: the Morph Epoch Boot, made in collaboration with Aion Prosthetics, a Midwest-based mostly company that specializes in equipment and robotics. The workforce, who satisfied Velez in a collaborator studio she’s been hosting seasonally for the past yr, tells BAZAAR that the shoe, which seems a bit like an astronaut boot, was a “notion piece built to totally enclose the wearer” and to introduce “large industrial production into the fashion marketplace.” Crafted out of PETG, a plastic-like material, each and every had to be bolted all over the foot working with bespoke bolts and Milwaukee Instrument drills.

model in elena velez

Elena Velez

“The premise driving [the boot] is to provide a pipeline to the industry for nontraditional makers outside of the inventive coasts,” Velez says. “Disassembling the geographical condescension that has inhibited my options as an artist in the midwest is a mission shut to my heart.”

In simple fact, for each and every a single of her collections and drops, she has included quite unfamiliar artists, typically from her town, and highlighted the partnerships as the welding of two equal visions, fairly than a star and her equipment. One of her longest collaborations has been with Nelson Kies, a Milwaukee metallic worker who, following performing with Velez, introduced his very own jewelry model: Nels Studio. And far more a short while ago, she worked with genderless footwear designer Kira Goodey, whose sculptural, metallic get on a system heel made it into Velez’s drop 2022 runway clearly show. The shoe was a real echo of Velez’s have edition of feminism, pushed by equally heritage and fantasy, earth and the divine.

model styled by joe van o in elena velez

Tre Crews

Velez is extra comfy speaking about these collaborations that her recent good results. “Community response, as much as I’m conscious, has been overwhelmingly optimistic, which is no pleasurable,” she tells BAZAAR. “I’m always appreciative of some of these highly-discerning editors who ignore some of the (individually) evident snafus that appear with a fledgling brand name. I believe it indicates they see a long term in assisting me establish the type of procedure that will a person working day manage me the potential to make at the good quality we all demand from customers.”

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Tre Crews

While her company has definitely expanded given that I satisfied her nearly five many years ago, when she was a one-man clearly show, creating, sourcing materials, liaising with reps, and producing each and every solitary search herself, she has now established her sights on a new way of producing. At the moment, she generates the whole idea appears to be like of each individual collection herself, which are then set collectively in the various small New York Metropolis ateliers she is effective with. “The progress is thrilling, but usually will come at a rate when you might be relying on many others to materialize a extremely sensitive personalized eyesight,” she claims.

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Tre Crews

She dreams of launching a sample growth factory in Milwaukee, the place she can “genuinely celebrate the experience of authentic craftsmanship in a way that I have never ever been in a position to locate somewhere else.”

American trend is screaming for interest, here is hoping the Midwest last but not least gets a say.


Elena Velez Year 1: photographs by Tre Crews styling by Joe Van O makeup by Maite Moreira add-ons by Carolin Dieler.

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