Elena Velez is a fashion force to be reckoned with—and she’s from Milwaukee. Her passions for sustainability and post-war destruction come together in a collection that was on display at this year’s New York Fashion Week. Next, her collection is making its way to the runways of London Fashion Week.
Learn more about Elena’s journey to New York Fashion Week and her collaboration with other Milwaukee artists in the video below.
Becoming a fashion designer was always a dream, but never seemed realistic to Velez. For some time, she seriously considered becoming a government translator to make a more “practical” living. But fashion would go on to linger in her mind, so she sent out a few college applications and ended up making her way to study in Paris with a scholarship from Parsons School of Design.
Velez graduated from Parsons with a degree in Fashion Design and a minor in Creative Entrepreneurship. Her education in fashion has allowed her to travel internationally to both Europe and South America to finesse her design technique and collect experiences to inspire her work.
Velez submitted a portfolio of her senior thesis collection from Parsons to VFILES, a news organization based in New York City. She was selected as one of four international designers to receive mentorship from VFILES, which helped her get her collection into New York Fashion Week.
This is every fashion designer’s dream.
Last week on the runway, years of hard work and fascination with her craft paid off, but for Velez, the work never stops.
“The fashion industry is so quick to forget,” says Velez. “You have to keep outdoing yourself and keep impressing people and keep doing bigger and better things or else become a has-been.”
With a touch of swagger she added, “I’m already thinking about what’s next.”
Velez’s collection makes its next stop in London Fashion Week. Velez will be presenting her work as a guest of the Swedish Fashion Council and is nominated for the “Challenge the Fabric” award for her sustainable style.