It’s an equilibrium Velez recognizes as “a reconciliation between my working class upbringing and adolescent fantasies of dystopian princesses.” Each look comes across as just that—worthy of any of the Mad Max princess wives, which Velez says she would, in a world of fantasy, love to dress.
We sat down with the rising designer to hear more about Homecoming, her ethic of sustainability, and what it was like to style Solange.
What does home mean to you and what role does it play in the latest lookbook? What does your mom think about the collection?
The idea of home to me is so essential in my work. It’s the origin of my design identity and the contextual framing device that I use to tell all of my stories from. Being from the corn country Midwest and believing in my youth that success in an industry like fashion would require concealing that fact led me to tell inauthentic narratives that just didn’t connect.
I think socially, politically, and creatively it’s a critical time to connect with artists outside of the traditionally established conventions and democratize the American fashion narrative. An important mission of my brand centers on making my passion for design more accessible in my community, specifically for young people who aspire to a similar path in fashion and I see projects like this as an opportunity to practice what I preach.
The SS20 Homecoming lookbook was produced, cast, and shot entirely with local talent in Milwaukee, Wisconsin as a chance to celebrate the many collaborators, local businesses and supporters who have lent a hand to make the work a success.
My mom, the ship captain, doesn’t always get the more conceptual pieces but loves to be a part of the action and do what she does best—delegate the crew.
You play a lot with shape and texture to question femininity, fragility, and utility. What are your intentions with Homecoming?
I like to call my aesthetic “aggressively delicate,” and I think it’s a good synthesis for the way I respond to my work and my philosophies of womanhood as I understand it to be currently. I love the idea of functional rawness and of violent sensitivity—a maker or a wearer with a romantic heart but a job to do. Chiffon and steel. I think it’s a reconciliation between my working class upbringing and adolescent fantasies of dystopian princesses. SS20 is also composed of lots of textile artifacts that build up my tactile reality: Milwaukee steel, sails from my mother’s shipyard, and repurposed leather from the metalshop.