Makenzie Lesiak is one of Omaha Fashion Week’s emerging designers this season. Read about her women’s evening wear brand and the special appliqué technique she has developed for her first collection, “Self Destruction.”
How did you get into fashion? Tell me a little about your background.
Starting as a young girl, I was always passionate about all things creative. It wasn’t up until my senior year of high school that I knew fashion design was what I wanted to pursue. I had very little background in sewing, so during the summer before my freshman year of college, I decided to expand my knowledge using tutorials from YouTube. I am currently a senior undergraduate studying fashion design at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and this past spring I launched my brand in hopes of starting my career.
Describe your brand and the point of view you wish to convey. What category does your brand fall under?
Makenzie Lesiak is a high end women’s evening wear brand that features a wide variety of silhouettes and fabrics. I strive to always use the most high quality fabrics and finishes in order to ensure that my designs are the best that they can be for my customers. I want each design that I create to make women feel independent, strong, and beautiful.
Describe your favorite project or projects that you have worked on.
A favorite recent project is my current collection that I am working on to show this August at Omaha Fashion Week. It is my first full collection that I will be showing, so I have put the most time and effort into it. The collection takes a different approach to evening wear by using a new and innovative applique technique with an unconventional material, which is definitely different than anything I've done before!
Where did you find inspiration for your new collection?
The main vision behind my collection, “Self Destruction,” was to create a collection that shows the reality of global warming in the world we are living. Two main factors that contribute to global warming in the atmosphere are black carbon and plastic pollution, which became the principal inspiration for the garments in the collection. The goal was to show how the two components have detrimental effects on the world we live in today.
Describe the collection you are creating.
The collection I will be showing is a ten piece women's evening wear collection. The collection includes a variety of garments and silhouettes such as ball gowns, jumpsuits, cocktail dresses, and even a bodysuit!
What sort of design elements can we expect from you this season? What materials, colors, shapes, or patterns will you be using?
In my collection, a neutral color palette will be used consisting of mostly blacks and dark greys. Various textiles will be used with an original technique in order to create a new, visually interesting, and textured textile. The technique involves burning different fabrics, including plastic, into leaf shapes that represent how nature is affected while the earth is “melting away.” The burnt leaf shapes will then be appliquéd onto the garments. There will also be a hand designed fabric that I created myself in the collection!
In what ways is this collection similar or different than your past work?
I would describe this collection as being both similar and different to my past work. My past designs have utilized a variety of techniques including embellishments and fabric manipulations such as hand beading and origami fabrication, but the designs were considered ready-to-wear. My current collection has similarities to my past work, but I would say it is more of a high end designer category due to extensive hand sewing from my applique technique!