The moment we meet Lein’s founder, the New York based, Meredith Stoecklein, we quickly see why any bride would love to have their wedding look created by her. From the off, she has a big smile and a big heart. And when we find out it was designing an after-party bridal look for her friend that first inspired her to launch Lein, we realise she’s a true romantic. The idea that each piece she created would become part of an amazing memory (which could then be re-lived every time the piece was re-worn!) won us over. And as it turns out, it’s winning over brides-to-be now too.
You studied fashion at Parsons School of Design, how did you end up working in bridal?
While I was studying at Parsons, a friend asked me to design a dress she could change into after her ceremony dress. I made a darling mini dress out of a special cotton/raffia fabric that I had been coveting for months. It was perfect and she changed into it out of her traditional lace gown. Her husband told me she ended up wearing it again for their 1-year anniversary and it took him right back to their wedding in Argentina, dancing until 6 in the morning. I just fell in love with the process of creating a piece of clothing that became a precious memory.
So, it was this experience that inspired you to launch Lein?
Clothing is like perfume for me – it triggers memories. I love the meaning and commitment of marriage – the choice that two people make to live their lives together. The day is about the couple and this moment in their lives that they will remember forever and the dress is important because of this. I remember what I wore to every important occasion in my life. And so I decided I wanted to create a brand that was for moments in your life; pieces you can wear again and re-live wonderful memories through.
Do you see yourself modernising the bridal industry with Lein?
There are so many women out there that just want to feel like themselves on their wedding day. I want Lein to feel like an extension of their closet, a special piece that they fall in love with and want to wear again. I’m not sure if that is modernising bridal but it is something I’m intentionally setting out to do.
“What you wear should be an extension of who you are. My girl is the girl who’s searching all of her favourite ready-to-wear lines for that one white dress.”
How do you think channels like Instagram and Pinterest have affected the bridal industry?
I think there was this grey area in the wedding world. For the in-between bride. Someone that loves the tradition of a wedding but also wants to wear something that still felt like a piece from her own closet. With Lein, I wanted to bridge the gap between ready-to-wear and bridal and create pieces that are special for this moment in their life but also could be incorporated back into their everyday life. Instagram gives me the ability to show how you can wear our pieces and how you can style them back into your everyday life.
Do you approach your design process as if designing a bridal collection, or a ready-to-wear collection?
My background has always been ready-to-wear. With Lein, I’m trying to bridge the gap between ready-to-wear and bridal. I want my pieces to be worn and loved again and again. Everything is however made-to-measure and I do create custom bridal looks for brides.
Your collection is designed and produced in New York. How has this informed your brand?
I love being able to oversee every detail of the process. Quality is so important. It is what makes a beautiful garment last a lifetime.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I can find inspiration from a memory, a place I’ve traveled to, even an object. I will become fully
obsessed with something and find an entire collection can revolve around this tiny detail.
How do you balance creativity with commerce with your bridal line?
This is probably one of the most important parts to consider when starting a brand. You can create a
beautiful collection, but if it doesn’t sell there won’t be a next collection. I always try to think of how
my girl would shop. What she would buy and why she would buy it.
Do you have a favourite piece from your collections, past or present?
My favourite dress is probably the Vingeto Column Dress. It’s so elegant and comfortable. It has a
built in bralette and made of the softest silk 4 ply crepe – comfort is key for me.
Which pieces have been most popular so far?
My Elsie jumpsuit has been my best seller since the first collection. I love finding ways to reinvent it
with new fabrics and design details. The button front wool dress was a best seller for us for FW18, it’s
made of a comfortable stretch Italian wool and can be dressed up or down. It’s perfect for a city
Who do you see as the Lein woman?
She’s confident in her decisions and isn’t worried to wear something without her friend’s approval.
She is relaxed but poised. She knows when to laugh, even when it’s at herself.
Who is your all time favourite bridal style icon?
My grandmother Dorothy. She married my grandfather in a baby blue skirt suit. She is forever my
style icon. But every bride I work with is special in their own way. I’m lucky. I get to meet and work
with so many inspiring women.
What advice would you give to brides when they start to look for their wedding dress & wedding wardrobe?
Go to your first appointments alone. Give yourself a chance to really decide what you want to wear
and what you feel your best in. Bring in your friends and family to the next round of appointments
where you have an idea of the dress you may chose. I see brides sway from what they really want all
the time because a friend or their mum doesn’t immediately love the dress they chose. But really, at
the end of the day, all your loved ones want you to be happy and feel your best self.
Who are your favourite brands for bridal accessories?
I have fallen in love with Luna Bea. Their simple silk flowers are subtle and just enough. I love
simplicity with accessories, even just a ribbon or a matching trim.
Do you have a favourite bridal moment from a movie?
I love old films, they’re so romantic. More than a moment, I love the film Sabrina. I can watch that film over and over.
Where would you love to see Lein stocked?
It was my dream to sell in Europe and we will be carried in Printemps in Paris this fall. Next, I would
love to be stocked in the UK.
What can we expect next from Lein?
Currently we are working on SS19, incorporating more ready-to-wear styles and accessories into this collection!