Lee Coren believes all fashion can and should be cruelty-free for both animals and humans. Her modern line of contemporary (and gorgeous) handbags, backpacks, and accessories is 100% vegan and ethically handmade from sustainable materials sourced from local independent vendors.
Lee and I spoke several weeks ago.
Where are you from and what inspired you to start your bag line?
I grew up in a suburb of Tel Aviv, catching the bus there on a regular basis. I always loved the buzzing of the big city. Dreaming of becoming a curator (2nd-degree studies), I enrolled in Visual Communications as my 1st degree.
In 2012 I graduated in Visual Communications from Shenkar College of Engineering and Design but unexceptionally, with a tingle in my fingers for textiles. Until then, it was a field I had very little experience in. After graduating, I started taking different courses to experiment and expand my knowledge base. I fell in love with traditional and modern printing techniques. It wasn’t long after that I realized this is where my heart is.
The line started mainly with scarves. It made the transition from the computer to a tactile matter easier and allowed me to experiment more freely. However, being a commuter and a traveler, I had a need for versatile bags I couldn’t find in stores, and so slowly the bag line developed.
Because why not? Just as important as it was for me to establish an ethical production line supporting my local economy, so it was important for me to not harm animals, not for fashion and not in any other way.
With the urge to give animal-friendly fashion a twist, and a vision for modern textiles, I founded Lee Coren. I knew I wanted it to be cruelty-free, ethical and fun. I wanted my designs to communicate my love for modern exploration as well as urban living while infusing my items with a fresh perspective on textiles and print.
Tell me a little about your process?
Today my designs are still a result of a graphic design process—collecting visuals (photographs I take while traveling near and far), deconstructing them and reassembling the parts into a new visual element and, finally, transforming that into a pattern and a modern accessory.
All prints, shapes, and designs are my own. I develop them in my studio.
Lee Coren textiles and bags are 100% free of animal by-products. That means no silk, no fur, no wool, no down feathers, and no leather! I use a variety of fabrics including raw cotton, eco-polyurethane, ultra-leather, faux suede, and up-cycled or overstocked polyester. Various vegan leathers are also used in production, PU (polyurethane) and PVC (polyvinyl chloride). PU is less harmful to the environment than PVC, and I make it a point to use it whenever possible while continuously trying to improve the standards for all our materials.
We make all of our vegan bags and printed textiles here in Israel while importing some fabric we cannot source here from Italy. I’m working to ensure that I’m supporting safe and fair working conditions across our supply chain and that our products are made with integrity. All of the screen-printing processes is done in-house as well as cutting, finishings and everything around it, while sewing is kept for the best hands in their field. For our digital line, I have partnered with a local small business to bring my designs to life.
By keeping great parts of the manufacturing process in-house and to-order, we’re also able to reduce waste and utilize remnants for different purposes. Even the smallest parts are transformed into the items’ hang tags.
For more information and to find out where to purchase Lee’s bags, check out LeeCoren.com.