“It takes bravery to be genuine.” That’s the tagline of dynamic Los Angeles-based duo Vee and A Lee’s up-and-coming androgynous clothing line, VEEA. And indeed, their (entirely Kickstarter-funded!) debut collection is a testament to not only the fiercely genuine, but also fierce ingenuity. We ran a brief feature during the early days of their Kickstarter campaign back in August (you can familiarize yourself with that here), but I recently caught up with VEEA to see what they’ve been up to as they prepare to launch the line.
dapperQ: How would you describe the essence of the VEEA aesthetic?
VEEA: Menswear for women. Strip away decorations commonly found on womenswear and bring in the simplicity of menswear.
dapperQ: How did VEEA start? What was your initial vision for it? How has it changed, since then?
VEEA: We started VEEA because the clothes we wanted couldn’t be found in stores. The vision remains the same, which is to be the place for all things androgynous.
dapperQ: Who/What/Where/When inspires your designs?
VEEA: We both love Wong Kar-Wai’s and Hayao Miyazaki’s films. One director speaks to the romantic side while the other to the dreamlike but magical aspects of life. Both do very beautiful work through complex but engaging stories.
dapperQ: Does the VEEA style strike you as decidedly contemporary? Does it harken back to the past? The future? A bit of all three?
VEEA: The first collection takes designs from the past and is infused with contemporary ideas.
dapperQ: Most mainstream “menswear-inspired womenswear” is tailored for women’s bodies, but not in a way that many of our readers are comfortable with. On the other hand, actual menswear simply doesn’t cut it, because it isn’t cut for us. How is VEEA solving this? What design techniques do you use in order to achieve “androgynous” tailoring?
VEEA: We take the simplicity and elegance of menswear and recreate that. There are biological differences in men and women’s bodies that can’t be ignored if you want to design great fitting clothes. For example, you have to take into account that women have larger hips, chests and are curvier whereas men are bigger on the top and tapered down. These differences have major consequences when you’re fitting designs. We design the patterns of our clothes in such a way that no part of a woman’s body is accentuated, or more precisely so that attention is not drawn to a particular area of the body.
dapperQ: Are there any other designers out there who are doing what you’d like to be doing? Have you spoken with them about their work? Have they informed your process?
VEEA: Not any designer in particular but objects in past civilizations. Natural forms and shapes and how we can use them as foundations to be expanded upon.
dapperQ: What is it like to be going about this as not only collaborators, but sisters?
VEEA: I think we can speak our minds freely without fear.
dapperQ: Can you each speak a bit about your individual sense of style?
A: I like complicity but in the simplest forms.
VEE: A simple mix of feminine and masculine style.
dapperQ: What do you see in store for the future of “queer” fashion?
VEEA: I think it really comes down to individuality. We may belong to a group because we share the same interests or experiences but we all have characteristics that make us unique.
dapperQ: Can you speak specifically about how VEEA’s aesthetic fits into the fashion plate of Los Angeles?
VEEA: Los Angeles has a more laidback fashion plate which consists of T-shirts, shorts, tanks and/or a light jacket. For our current collection, we designed it based on the lifestyle and liking of our clients, so the plate is a bit different from the Los Angeles area. You can say we design based on our customers needs and liking, and our ideas – not geographically.
dapperQ: Speaking of Los Angeles: do you have any advice for dapperQ’s who live in warm climates (such as LA) – how can one dress in a way that caters to both this particular sort of style and the heat?
VEEA: I think the way to beat the heat and still be in style is material selection. Look for natural fibers that are breathable, light color, lightweight and lightly woven. Synthetic fibers provide less ventilation in the heat.
dapperQ: Can you speak a bit about the Androgynous TV portion of VEEA’s website?
VEEA: We plan to have styling videos on this page. We might do some quick style makeovers as well.
dapperQ: When you’re not working on VEEA, what do you enjoy doing in your downtime?
VEEA: Hiking, jogging, biking, reading and a good meal. Outdoor activities are always a good break from the studio, it provides a breath of fresh air and a different perspective.
dapperQ: When and how can our readers purchase VEEA items?
The online store should be ready shortly after we complete the Kickstarter project, early 2013.
You can learn more about VEEA (and get a tantalizing preview of the collection) at www.androgynousfashion.com.