Inga-Lena is the personal narrative of a young woman, relating her lighthearted upbringing and inner division on her road to womanhood. The designer started her career as an international fashion model which educated her to understand the needs of a modern woman today. Our lives evolve every day. Our wardrobe must adjust to that. The designer creates garments that are sensitively tailored to flatter the female body. With a special attention to detail, fitted styles blend with deliberately de-constructed silhouettes.
How did you get into fashion design?
Oh wow. The long story? I grew up in the German countryside near Cologne.
Truthfully, the fashion industry couldn’t have been more out of my reach but I somehow managed to find a summer internship at age 14. Already then, I knew that this would be my path.
It was my way to express myself creatively yet on an intellectual level.
Taking my first steps as a fashion student, I got scouted as a model. I paused my studies to accept an invitation to an agency in Hong Kong. It was a really impactful time, learning to be an independent human, far away from my home. And especially taught me to truly connect with myself.
Back in Europe, my career picked up. I lived between London, Milan, and Paris, blessed to work with all top designers of their time, getting to know the industry in a way that very few people have access to.
It was an inexplicable experience. In a good way. Yet I also remember how isolating and unstable it could feel. Craving structure in my life and a true home, I decided to return college. This time in Paris where I graduated in Haute Couture.
Do you feel a European influence in your design process?
Definitely! Ultimately a designer’s drawing is like their second handwriting. You can and should never deny who you are. We soak in our childhood environment more than we even realize. For me, it has become my creative fuel to spin a curve to my roots after a life-long escape from it. Inventing my brand was a heartfelt process of listening to my inner voice. Who am I? What do I want to represent?
It made me realize that any values I grew up with, are still the values that are guiding me today.
Especially if you live in a foreign country, it is crucial to know who you are.
Where do you find most inspirations?
I feel that talking about “inspirations” is more of a romantic idea that people have of a designer’s life.
My designs are wearable and shall serve a woman to feel beautiful at all times.
I go through hundreds of visuals per day and also used to experience a lot with acrylic paint. Yet they rather help me to refine the mood that I wish to express. When it gets to the actual designs, I trust my personal handwriting. I find basic silhouettes and come up with smart detail solutions.
Since I make my own patterns, the designs can still evolve a lot as I am bringing them from paper to 3D.
How do you capture a woman’s natural beauty with fashion?
I wouldn’t use the term “capture”. For once my goal is to create a minimal distraction in order to underline what’s already there: her raw natural beauty. On the other hand, I associate the word with the idea of a “frozen image” which I am definitely trying to avoid.
I believe that a woman’s attire must evolve with her. It shall melt with her and become a part of her character as it travels along with her.
An idea that I can relate to myself. During times of travel and solitude, my wardrobe became my only fraction of “home” that I could bring. They represented my comfort zone, my friends, my protection against the unknown. It made me realize that there IS so much emotion and memory glued to a garment if you wear it for several years. With INGA-LENA I am intending to design clothing that has the potential to go on such a journey.
What can we expect of INGA-LENA over the next few years?
INGA-LENA stands for exclusivity and personal consumer relationships.
The global retail industry is still in a moment of intermediate confusion. While brick and mortar is competing with a growing e-commerce, we should shift our focus to the key essential:
A never changing need for human connection.
INGA-LENA sees themselves less as a fashion label than an intermediary. Seeking for opportunities to collaborate with other brands, we aim to place our product in the context of shared experience.
Fashion is beauty. But it also is a powerful instrument to communicate and educate on subjects that matter to us. We aim to fill our idealized lifestyle with authentic life and purpose.
I will see where that mission is going to take me. Lately, I am feeling really drawn to my European roots again with a growing desire to spend more time abroad. I would ultimately like to free myself from any long-term prediction or location though. Constant change and an open heart for new adventures has always been the fuel of my creativity and shall be the essence of INGA-LENA.
The brand represents a life journey and is going to evolve with its community. Just like a human being, I believe it is crucial to stay dynamic within a changing environment while staying true to your core principles.