The main of Elena Velez’s manufacturer is in the spouse and children-run workshops and awesome waters of Wisconsin. Her passionate dresses, in matte creams and sheer blacks, contrast with the sharp grittiness of the metallic bars she molds into corsets and bra tops. It truly is uncooked, industrial structure at its most sensual, and a fresh new Midwestern expression in America’s New York- and Los Angeles-centric trend scene. And still, the designer—who debuted at New York Trend Week just previous fall—has ironically, although understandably, come to be a Hollywood darling.

Last thirty day period, reggaetón singer Rosalía wore a sheer white glimpse of woven PVC filament from Velez’s “Vessel” assortment although filming a online video for her album Motomami, and she was in head-to-toe Elena Velez for her “Hentai” songs online video, which debuted March 16. One look included a tan leather-based corset made in Milwaukee—Velez’s household city—out of deconstructed bits from a welding apron.

Tre Crews

“In all honesty, the stardust chase can lead to a very cynical position, so I check out to hold out of it,” Velez tells BAZAAR.com. Having explained that, the designer admits, “Rosalía has been a manifestation decades in the generating.”

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Rosalía’s stylist, Caitlyn Martinez, was in the depths of her Instagram Take a look at rabbit gap when she arrived throughout Velez. “It’s an instinct,” Martinez claims of discovering the upcoming designer to obsess in excess of. “It is like obtaining a painting for a precise home in your crib. You just know when it fits and contributes to the overall vision. Her types in good shape the route of the online video so properly.”

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Velez has also designed seems to be for Kali Uchis, Grimes, Charli XCX, Arca, Kim Petras, Tinashe, Rico Awful, and Caroline Polachek. Solange Knowles wore Velez’s steel 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 rationale,” the designer suggests.

model styled by joe van o in elena velez

Tre Crews

Generating high-manner from scraps is Velez’s specialty. The designer normally takes inspiration from her childhood, which she spent aboard industrial ships, traveling across the Great Lakes with her captain mother. It is why she generally uses products these types of as ship sails, rope from boats, and discarded metallic in her parts. It is really why she stains her ivory dresses with filth and brown tea drinking water, and why her patterns, though normally delicate and female, reference the building internet sites and producing vegetation that initially shaped her notion of womanhood.

It is a deconstructed, anti-magnificence technique to attractive trend, identical to what we saw in Rick Owens’s smoke-stuffed fall 2022 present, or in Yohji Yamamoto’s perfectly chaotic drop all set-to-put on collection.

model styled by joe van o in elena velez

Tre Crews

At her next show, which took spot at the Freehand Hotel all through New York’s drop 2022 year in February, Velez debuted a single of her most specialized projects to day: the Morph Epoch Boot, produced in collaboration with Aion Prosthetics, a Midwest-primarily based company that specializes in machinery and robotics. The crew, who met Velez in a collaborator studio she’s been hosting seasonally for the past 12 months, tells BAZAAR that the shoe, which appears a bit like an astronaut boot, was a “notion piece made to completely enclose the wearer” and to introduce “weighty industrial manufacturing into the style industry.” Crafted out of PETG, a plastic-like substance, every had to be bolted all around the foot utilizing bespoke bolts and Milwaukee Software drills.

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

In point, for every single one particular of her collections and drops, she has involved pretty unfamiliar artists, generally from her town, and highlighted the partnerships as the welding of two equal visions, rather than a star and her accessories. A single of her longest collaborations has been with Nelson Kies, a Milwaukee metallic employee who, just after doing the job with Velez, introduced his possess jewelry brand: Nels Studio. And a lot more a short while ago, she worked with genderless footwear designer Kira Goodey, whose sculptural, metallic consider on a system heel produced it into Velez’s slide 2022 runway demonstrate. The shoe was a real echo of Velez’s personal model of feminism, driven by equally background and fantasy, earth and the divine.

model styled by joe van o in elena velez

Tre Crews

Velez is extra at ease talking about these collaborations that her the latest achievements. “General public response, as significantly as I’m conscious, has been overwhelmingly constructive, which is no enjoyable,” she tells BAZAAR. “I’m always appreciative of some of these remarkably-discerning editors who forget some of the (individually) evident snafus that come with a fledgling model. I assume it means they see a long run in aiding me develop the variety of operation that will just one day afford me the capacity to produce at the high quality we all desire.”

Whilst her small business has undoubtedly expanded given that I fulfilled her just about 5 decades back, when she was a one-male exhibit, developing, sourcing elements, liaising with reps, and building each single glance herself, she has now set her sights on a new way of producing. Presently, she produces the full thought appears of each assortment herself, which are then place jointly in the numerous small New York Metropolis ateliers she is effective with. “The growth is exciting, but always arrives at a cost when you’re relying on other people to materialize a extremely sensitive particular vision,” she states.

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Tre Crews

She desires of launching a sample progress manufacturing unit in Milwaukee, wherever she can “definitely celebrate the encounter of genuine craftsmanship in a way that I have by no means been equipped to obtain elsewhere.”

American vogue is screaming for attention, this is hoping the Midwest finally gets a say.


Elena Velez Calendar year 1: pictures by Tre Crews styling by Joe Van O makeup by Maite Moreira accessories by Carolin Dieler.

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