on orders over $100
Lee Coren is a Tel Aviv based textile designer and maker, inspired by the melding of urban surroundings and dreamy escapism. Her collection of handmade accessories features screen printed fabrics and original prints from scenery captured on camera and transformed into beautiful textiles. We caught up with Lee to talk about her background, founding her business and her design process.
What drew you to working with textiles? Do you have a background in textile
I graduated in Visual Communications from Shenkar College of Engineering and Design three years ago with a tingle in my fingers for textile design. Until then, it was a field I had very little experience in. After graduating, I started taking different courses to expand my knowledge and fell in love with traditional and modern printing techniques, and the combination of the two. It wasn't long after that I realized this is where my heart is. Today, my designs are the result of a process of graphic design – collecting visuals (photographs I take), deconstructing them (drawing out the elements I am fascinated with) and reassembling the parts into a new visual element and finally, transforming it into a pattern and modern fashion accessory.
Do you have any mentors or designers who have inspired you?
My real life mentor and good friend is designer Tamar Mani (aka Textured Paper), her ambition and precise eye for aesthetics are always a source of inspiration.
Why did you decide to start your own brand? How did you define the guiding principles of the brand?
Building my own brand was actually a spur of the moment decision that I went all the way with. As far as guiding principles, I knew I wanted my brand to be animal friendly (I don't use real leather or suede in any of my designs). I wanted my designs to communicate my love for modern exploration. Beyond these outlines, my ambition is to always infuse my items with a fresh perspective on textiles and print.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to start their own label?
Just go for it! And then be patient.
What has been the most difficult part about growing the Lee Coren brand?
Being the designer is the easy part, the tough part comes from having to simultaneously be the maker, the manager, the accountant and such; at times it's still overwhelming. I've only now brought on a part-time assistant and am beginning to outsource parts of the production process to different artisans' hands. As a self-proclaimed control freak, I admit there is a learning to curve to "letting go" to allow my business to grow.
What is your favorite thing about working for yourself?
Having the freedom to explore new ideas/thoughts/places on a daily basis
What is the process for designing a new product?
It usually starts with an abstract idea of textures and colors, and only later evolves into materials and patterns. The shape of the product is usually one of the final stages.
What plans do you have for the Lee Coren brand for the future?
I really wish to scale my production process and continue acquiring more knowledge to tun all of the ideas running through my head into a reality.
How do you stay creative working for yourself?
I try to surround myself with creativity. I share a studio space with jewelry designer, Gittit Szwarc (aka Knobbly Studio), we are located in a growing neighborhood of artists and design studios, meters away from the flea market, the beach, and beautiful Old Jaffa. When I'm not in the studio, I love exploring the country and the many museums. Other than that, I dedicate a good amount of time to researching, surfing the web and going to libraries, not only for design inspiration but also for history and science materials. I love working via knowledge - learning, processing, and only then assembling a visual.
What about your daily life inspires your designs?
I love the city, and I hate it. It's a constant battle between the two. As a result, my designs are inspired by a mixture of two strong elements in my life - my local urban surrounding and the need for escapism and a breath of fresh air. The collection features handmade screen printed fabrics as well as original digital prints I photographed. I love being able to bring moments of pastoral and escapism into my busy everyday urban life.
What do you love about living in Tel Aviv? Your particular neighborhood?
I live in Jaffa, on the southern end of Tel Aviv. It is a historical Mediterranean port city with a small town feel. Other than the beautiful Old City we have here the colorful Flea Market and of course, a beautiful beach.
Favorite shops or markets?
"Shoshan's" - a sweet city-gardening shop
Best local restaurant?
Photography: Amit Geron
Best place to hang out on the weekend?
The dog beach; its the perfect combination of sand, sun, happy dogs running all over the place, and usually a cold beer - what more could you ask for?
What is your ideal weekend like?
Discovering new nooks and crannies of the country, exploring places I've never been to with my Fiance and our dog. And sleep, lot's of sleep - although this rarely happens.