If you haven’t come across vegan bags and accessories brand Lee Coren yet, you are in for a treat. She’s one of my favourite vegan designers – and Laura Way (Founder of Votch) also names her in her Top 3 favourite brands in her Immaculate Interview. We’re fortunate these days that there are so many different fashion brands to choose from – however, Lee Coren really stands out for me, as her designs look more couture than high street (although her collection is at high-street prices), and there’s so much artistry and creativity behind each style that you feel that you’re getting a one-off.
Her collection features handmade screen-printed fabrics and original prints from scenery that she captures on camera (the fabric patterns are like works of art), and all of the screen printing process is done in-house in her studio, as well as the cutting and finishings. She is passionate about sustainability, and sources and produces locally wherever possible (she is based in Israel), using entirely vegan materials. For her bags designed from vegan leather, she uses high quality, Italian-made, cotton-backed microfiber PU (Polyurethane), which is less harmful to the environment than many alternatives.
She says her designs are inspired by a mixture of two strong elements in her life – her urban surroundings, and the need for escapism and a breath of fresh air – and you can see these play out in the designs and the names of the Lee Coren bags (e.g. the Wunderlust backpack) and her Instagram feed. There’s a sense of adventure and a love of travel and exploring new horizons in her pieces, that are infectious. And if you don’t own a Lee Coren piece yet, you’ll be lucky enough to get 10% off her website as a first time customer. Good luck choosing!
What three words would you use to describe your style?
Fun, Effortless, Clean.
What are your favourite brands?
Nation Ltd., Tilly Jewelry, Guten Co, Loop Living, and Votch of course!
What is your most treasured fashion item?
Black stoned, golden framed, floral earrings that my (now) hubby gave me for my 21st birthday. They were handmade locally with amazing, almost gothic details, while remaining classic and elegant.
What’s been your biggest fashion mistake?
A shiny blue PVC jacket. It was 1999, I was 11 years old.
When did you become vegan and why?
My love for animals and the lack of desire to eat them goes back to my childhood. One of my childhood dreams was to have an animal sanctuary when I grew up. However, since it wasn’t common and I didn’t have vegetarians or vegans around me growing up, it took me some time to understand that it’s more than OK to choose this path.
What did you find hardest when you went vegan?
Textures. I still struggle with this one. I love eating what I eat and I don’t miss the taste of anything, only the variety of textures.
What are your favourite foods?
Israel offers some amazing fresh vegetables, so my everyday go-to – that I’m always happy to have more of – is a freshly chopped vegetable salad.
What would you like to see more of in vegan fashion?
Summer footwear that I can use while working, on a hot and humid Israeli day, without compromising looks or comfort – taking into account I run around all day.
Any top tips for new vegans, or those who are thinking of trying it?
Don’t force yourself to eat things that don’t taste right. I’ll refuse tofu any day of the week, for example. Find what you love to eat and go from there, because if your taste buds won’t like it you’ll get frustrated quickly.
Why do you do what you do with Lee Coren?
Because I believe fashion can and should be cruelty free – for animals and humans. And because I think there’s a need for modern, fun, functional items that make your day not just easier, but happier 🙂
If you weren’t running Lee Coren – what do you think you’d be doing instead?
Working with non-profits dedicated to helping animals.
Where do you get your inspiration from for Lee Coren?
Travelling, both locally and internationally, with my camera. It’s my oxygen!
How do you let your hair down?
Evening beach walks, drinks with friends, good laughs.
Who do you think we should interview next and why?
Rothy’s – their technology is everything! I admire the innovative approach to everyday essentials.
Interview with Laura Way, Founder of Votch
Interview with Natalie Dean, Founder of Beyond Skin