Lez Chic: The Creators of VEEA on androgynous fashion

Androgynous fashion has become so ubiquitous on the runway to the point of cliché.

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You know that when the New York Times, bastion of irrelevance, writes about androgynous fashion that the trend has attained a kind of ubiquitous status in “Culture.” Once relegated to and valued primarily within lesbian subculture, androgyny has reached its stylistic apex in the fashion industry, as evinced by the recent “lesbian chic” trend as well as the emergence of a crop of respected labels like Marimacho and Original Tomboy.

androgynous-tomboy-blazer-silver-mainA personal favorite: VEEA’s silver blazer with purple lining

One of my favorite labels is VEEA: Androgynous Fashion, established by sisters (like, literal, biological sisters), Vee and A., in 2012. The quality of fabric, as well as the meticulous tailoring and construction, distinguish VEEA as an impressive label on the rise. Vee and A., whose names combine to give the label its name, also espouse a very thoughtful set of ethics, articulated in seven chapters on their website, pertaining to style, garment design, and the ideation of designer as artist:

The most important elements when designing clothing (known as “garments” in the trade) are fabric, draping and construction techniques…. [Secondary] considerations are color, value, line, shape, and fabric texture. All these elements are incorporated into a theme that designers work in for the duration of each collection.

A fashion designer is an artist. Fabric is to a fashion designer as watercolor is to an artist whose medium is watercolor. Draping and construction techniques, behavior of the chosen fabric and placement of fabric grain and seam lines are the artist’s language – the style that allows the artist to communicate how he views the world.

Although style changes over time, the basic pattern and form of clothing remains the same because the human body hasn’t changed much in thousands of years. A designer’s style and uniqueness comes from his understanding of the basics of fashion construction and finishing touches….

androgynous-fashion-debut-blue-jacketFrom the Classic Collection

“Style is the same as ethics,” A. Lee told me in a recent interview. Below is a continuation of our discussion, about VEEA, the aesthetic of androgyny as it has been adopted by the fashion industry, and 2014 style trends.

12363_613933271987722_1229648039_nFrom the new January collection

AfterEllen: What was the impetus behind the creation of VEEA?

VEEA: We wanted to create what we couldn’t find, namely, beautifully designed clothing for people who couldn’t find what they’re looking for in the women’s department.

AE: “Androgynous fashion” has become all the rage in fashion the past couple of years. What does it mean to you? How do you think the fashion industry has incorporated androgyny into their designs and aesthetic?

VEEA: Androgynous clothing is what you put on and can say to yourself, “Hey, this looks very much like me.” I think what’s missing from the fashion industry’s incorporation of androgyny into their designs and aesthetics is designs, aesthetics and fitting that are actually what people seek.

AE: How do you see the burgeoning market of androgynous fashion directed toward the queer woman? Do you think queer women have a newfound appreciation for fashion? Does it point to the fact that “the style makes the man” — that is, how you dress has a clear influence on your gender presentation?

VEEA: The market is fairly new and is still creating what has been missing. It’s similar to an artist that’s trying to find her voice. Once that’s found, creativity and originality can really flourish. I think the clothes you feel comfortable in, specifically — clothes that make you feel like you, has a clear influence on your gender presentation.

AE: Without using the word “androgynous,” how would you describe the aesthetic of VEEA? What, in terms of tailoring or palette or sensibility or aesthetic influence, is iconoclastic to the brand?

VEEA: [We make] clothing that you can wear and feel like “you” without compromising design, style, and aesthetics.

AE: How has your label been regarded by the fashion industry? Do you feel there is a place for VEEA, as well as other labels that make clothing specifically for queer women?

VEEA: The word on the street is that we make great fitting and stylish clothes accompanied by excellent workmanship. You’ll have to try us out to find out. [And,] although some brands overlap slightly, I think each brand has a different idea of who they’re designing for.

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AE: What is the fashion climate for 2014? What is big in terms of trends, and how, if at all, do you plan to incorporate them into your designs?

VEEA: We listen to our customers, see what they like, and watch what they wear. We look at what’s out in the streets that no one else is paying attention to but keeps showing up. We throw in our ideas. Then, we go to work. Sometimes we see a theme from a movie, play or show that we really like. Then we set that theme as the mood and go to work. This is generally how we start each collection.

AE: Shirts, jackets, pants, ties—is there any other type of clothing that you plan to design?

VEEA: Suits and tuxedos.

Visit androgynousfashion.com to find out more about VEEA.

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