Thinking about switching careers in the new year? Allow fashion designer Meredith Stoecklein to inspire you. Although not a total departure from where she started out, as an intern for Zac Posen and Narciso Rodriguez, today Stoecklein is the founder and designer of her very own clothing company, LEIN.
After graduating Parsons School of Design, Stoecklein landed said internships with two designers who regularly appear on the red carpet. This particular focus on formalwear is what ignited her transition to celebrity styling, affording her the ability to work alongside couturiers, including head seamstresses at Chanel. After seeing firsthand the construction, technique and artistry that goes into creating a garment Stoecklein made her final move towards becoming a designer—first completing a brief stint in menswear before going forward on her own.
Today, her collections cater to women. Whether they’re getting married or have a special occasion to attend, Stoecklein likes to think of her clothes as “sartorial memories you can step into again and again.” The designs themselves are chic and feminine enough for your big day and at the same time, not-too-fancy to wear out in real life. In 2018, LEIN made its first foray into ready-to-wear and looks from the Fall/Winter collection made their debut beyond Bridal Fashion Week.
The idea when LEIN originally launched in 2016 was to create garments that brides could actually wear again. That meant the designs couldn’t just be gowns but jumpsuits, jackets, pants and skirts as well. It’s a modern take on femininity, one that’s unfussy but still pays attention to things like detailing and fit. Qualities that are important to consider, beyond just your big day.
VUE recently had the chance to talk with Stoecklein about her illustrious start, latest Fall/Winter collection and breaking out from the bridal world.
How does your previous experience dressing celebrities influence you as a designer?
I was lucky to have the opportunity to see first-hand the detail and craftsmanship of couture, especially during awards season. The fit of a dress is just as important as the design, and is something I think about while I’m sketching and selecting fabrics.
What made you want to start your own brand?
I had been making dresses for friends getting married since my days at Parsons, either for their rehearsal dinner, to change into after the traditional ceremony dress, or just for a party! After a few years in menswear, I knew it was time to work on my own project. really wanted to create a brand that had purpose and meaning behind the pieces. The custom bridal side of the business gives me the opportunity to work one-on-one with clients and really create something that they will cherish on the day of their wedding and after. I’ll always be influenced by brides; I think it’s a really special moment in one’s life, and if my pieces can be a part of that, I’m honored.
Can you tell us the inspiration behind your FW18 line?
I knew from the beginning of the design process that I wanted to evolve this collection to showcase how our girl can wear LEIN in her everyday life, and not just on her wedding day or for a special event. It was important to stay true to our aesthetic and brand ethos that is firmly rooted in moment dressing—pieces you cherish and look forward to wearing again—while giving her more to work with by expanding our offerings into all categories. FW18 is all about who the LEIN girl is; she’s familiar and unassumingly elegant, feminine and strong.
How would you describe the aesthetic of the collection?
For FW18, I wanted to take a more literal focus to define our ready-to-wear options through fabric and color. The second you put on the same white dress but in red, it changes the conversation and tells a different story. I mixed elements that are a bit more masculine, such as a traditional outerwear weight wool twill, with feminine styles to create a look that’s consistent with the signature LEIN aesthetic. It’s finding that right balance of strong and soft that is portrayed throughout the collection, giving our girl the versatility and wearability that allows her to feel like herself and easily personalize her look to her own everyday lifestyle.
Oftentimes LEIN’s ready-to-wear looks are seen on brides, was that intentional? Where do you draw the line between RTW and special occasion?
My background is ready-to-wear so I’ve always designed from that place, but I’m constantly thinking about moments in life and how to bridge that gap between ready-to-wear and occasion wear. I’m always thinking of weddings and parties when I’m designing. The collection is definitely informed by bridal and always will be, but I want these to be pieces our customer can incorporate back into her closet and everyday wear after the wedding or event so she has a little memento of that special moment in time. I’m really trying to erase the line between bridal and ready-to-wear rather than trying to draw it.
For more information on LEIN, check out their website.