#MotivationMonday #ThisIsSloane

She’s graceful. She’s  talented. She’s smart. She’s beautiful. Meet Sloane Lenz from Austin ,TX.

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At only 20 years old, designer/film student Sloane Lenz rocked the runway at the Plitz NYFW A/W16 show with an eclectic,  hand-made assemblage – dedicated to cousin Gretchen, an elderly family member with a treasure filled apartment on Tudor place in NYC. I immediately noticed a ready-to-wear  cream tunic with embellished shoulders and unique hand written illustrations, sketched by  Felix Lenz, Sloane’s brother. Simply STUNNING!!

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When I caught up with Sloane, I was touched by her story and decided to connect for a Q&A which lead to my #MotivationMonday moment.

“HB:
Your collection took a lot of courage. Were you afraid people wouldn’t see the vision?

SL:
I never really worry about what people will think of what I make. Obviously I hope people sort of grasp the story I try to tell, but I really just hope people maybe see something they’ve never seen before and sort of feel the energy that’s infused in each piece. I make things that I see bouncing around in my head, and try to create things that are uniquely ‘me’. People may all get a different narrative, but as long as it makes them think or wonder is all I care about. ”

For more of Sloane Lenz, go to  https://www.instagram.com/thisissloane/ OR
https://www.etsy.com/shop/ThisIsSloane

FULL INTERVIEW BELOW:

HB:
Where are you from? How old are you?

SL:
I’m Sloane Lenz. I’m 20 years old. I grew up mostly in Athens, a small town in East Texas, but all of my life we’ve sort of been between Athens and Austin. My parents were involved in booking music, so we were always coming back and forth. My brother and I were homeschooled most of our lives, and our parents always let us fully express ourselves in how we dressed. They never told us we couldn’t wear something, and I think that really helped us to build a strong sense of ourselves in how we expressed how we felt through clothing. Growing up mostly in Athens, resources as far as fabrics were slim, so my favorite places to stock up were the local hardware store and Walmart’s fabric department. That little Walmart I swear had some sort of magic in their craft department. They seemed to always have just what I needed, and always the weird cast off fabrics that I love.

HB:
When did you start designing?

SL:
I’ve been making clothes in one way or another since I was very young. When we were little, my brother and I would come up with movies we’d make with our friends, and I was always the one glue gunning together the costumes. We were involved with our local theatre for a lot of my growing up, and the costume room always seemed like this magical land. I had a fabulous sewing teacher when I was 10 or 11 who taught me the basics of sewing. Her name is Bonnie Kirk. As I got a bit older, I started making myself pieces to wear to concerts, always inspired by a song or album. My brother won a dance contest to meet Katy Perry when he was like 12, and we didn’t know until like 2 days before the show, so her tour was candy themed and we put together these outfits made out of pop rock packages. It was super fun, and when I walked in Katy was like “take that off I want it now!”. I totally would have if I had had anything else to wear, haha. So it kind of became a challenge for us to dress up for gigs. I made a dress out of like 600 Walmart bags for when we went to see Lady Gaga when I was 15. They loved it and my brother and I wound up on the Virgin Mobil website, who was sponsoring the show. Eventually friends started asking me to make things for them, and it sort of escalated from there. I’ve been embroidering since I was 13, and my brother is an illustrator, so when I first started embroidering he would draw me patterns of like celebrities or our pets and I’d embroider them. Our parents friends eventually started commissioning custom pillows when they saw one in my dad’s space, so that has really grown in the last few years. Fashion X really gave me an amazing platform last April when I showed my 1st collection. This Is Sloane is just sort of an umbrella that encapsulates whatever’s floating around in my head at the time. I’m really inspired by music. When you listen to a great song, it takes you to this sort of different universe, and I always see it in the form of clothes. It just gives you a feeling, and the story behind a song really inspires a story to be told visually. So for my first collection I complied half of it from pieces I made throughout the years and wore myself to concerts, and then made the other half within a few weeks to sort of finish putting together the story I wanted to tell. I made wristbands for the models to wear so they looked like they were at a gig, and I decorated them as the accessory. I always love wearing gig bracelets until they fall off. I love getting X’s on my hands too. I wanted to X them but they wouldn’t have time to wash them off before the next show, haha. I wanted them to basically be these otherworldly muses or spirits of these songs. Weather the audience knew the song or artist didn’t really matter, just that the general vibe was expressed. My brother and I run a music blog as well, so I wanted to incorporate some of my favorite bands in the soundtrack. I used an intro from the legendary BP Fallon, and then used a song from The Strypes, Pretty Vicious, and Peace. Then I presented my second collection at Fashion X Dallas this past September. All the pieces were mostly made of polypropylene fabric (what reusable shopping bags are made of) and I incorporated a lot of lyrics as appliqué to tell the story that time. I wanted this sort of future meets mod 60’s Japan sort of vibe. My brother did the illustrations on the men’s pieces as well. I was asked to show a few weeks ago in New York during NYFW. It was refreshing to have a couple months to work on it all versus three weeks to a month like I’ve had in the past.

HB:
Describe your style in 3 words.

SL:
No rules ever 🙂

HB:
Tell us about your collection.

SL:
Growing up my grandma would occasionally mention getting a letter in the mail from cousin Gretchen. She would always talk about how she lived alone in New York with her cat, and I always had this this image of her in my mind.
She’s in her 80’s now, and she moved to New York in the 50’s to be an opera singer. A few years ago she fell and had to be transitioned to a nursing home. She had been on rent control in this one room apartment NY for the past 60 or so years, and when she was transferred her apartment was released and was remodeled with the rest of the building into luxury condos. Her whole life in boxes was transferred into a storage unit, and my grandma sent us to New York to sort through it all and send back family items. Going through these boxes we discovered all these amazing aspects of her life we never knew. Her father was head of the Boy Scouts for a long time, and she had kept all of these pins and medals he had received from all the heads of the international branches of boy scouting, and that had a huge influence on her life. She had this cat named Tiger. I think she had multiple cats named Tiger throughout the years. She was very metaphysical, and we found boxes or records from operas in Italian to 60’s psych and the Beatles. She had kept thousands of letters sent between her and her parents, as well as coworkers and friends overseas. She had a boyfriend from Japan who was a musician, and she traveled and modeled and worked at the museum of modern art. She made her own clothes sewn with her own labels, and some of the fabric in the show was bits of scraps she had kept. It was all very inspiring to me, all these little magic eccentricities. So I started thinking on how I could meld them all together into this congruent idea. When we’ve visited her lately she’s very frail and sort of half in this world. She’s still so glamorous, and very intuitive. She asked about family things that had been going on that we hadn’t told her about yet, and she seemed to know already. She told us about how she talks to her stuffed cat Tiger, and how the nurses say she’s crazy. She said her husband had just been there and he would entertain us, though they’ve been divorced for years and he’s passed on. I used lyric appliqué to give little nods to bits of her life and tried to tell her story in a dreamy world. The last piece is almost a hospital gown, but with pink glitter ribbon ties and an ethereal over dress to sort of signify her current angelic state.

HB: Your brother, Felix, has a background in illustration. You’re both film students.
How did you balance all the creative energy behind the scenes?

SL:
Well, currently my “team” is very small. In New York it was just my mom, brother, and I. We all work very well together, and it was pretty smooth between the three of us. Balancing getting the models dressed and out of hair and makeup in time was another story, but we did our best to make sure it ran as smoothly as possible. It’s always a bit hectic pre-show. Everyone was so nice and the show come off wonderfully in the end.

HB:
How did you become involved with Plitzs at NYFW?

SL:
Plitzs reached out to me in November about being involved in their February season. It seemed like the perfect way to debut these designs, and it sort of worked out perfectly since I had been percolating on these ideas for my new collection and New York is where she’s spent the majority of her life. I love New York, and it was a total dream come true to be able to show during NYFW.

HB:
Your collection took a lot of courage. Were you afraid people wouldn’t see the vision?

SL:
I never really worry about what people will think of what I make. Obviously I hope people sort of grasp the story I try to tell, but I really just hope people maybe see something they’ve never seen before and sort of feel the energy that’s infused in each piece. I make things that I see bouncing around in my head, and try to create things that are uniquely ‘me’. People may all get a different narrative, but as long as it makes them think or wonder is all I care about.

HB:
What can we expect to see from Sloane Lenz at future shows?

SL:
I’m not sure yet, haha. We’ll see where the inspiration comes from next. I have plans for ‘Collection 4’ in my mind, and I’m excited to get to work on that in the coming months. I can promise it’ll be fun, and uniquely it’s own, I just don’t know yet exactly how. My current collection will be making it’s Texas debut next month during Austin Fashion Week, and I’m currently working on a few more pieces to complete it. Some super fun accessories in the works as well 🙂 A few things in the works I can’t mention yet… No shortage of unconventional, haha.

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Habiller Blog - Beauty Fashion Art Brenda Momperousse, Creative Director & MUA
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