Venia Collection is a young fashion label based in Los Angeles, CA. The brand represents a new wave of designers, both in terms of creativity and business practices. The brand is the brainchild of co-founders ENI and NIGMA, two enigmatic designers who never show their faces. I sat down with ENI and NIGMA to learn more about the brand – and of course tried on some clothes!
For those who may not be familiar with Venia Collection, how would you describe the brand?
VENIA Collection is a technologically forward & socially responsible contemporary label based in Los Angeles. VENIA is taking cutting edge technology and refining it for an LA-made sustainable clothing line. VENIA’s designs are full of engineered surprises and 3D printed trims – all made with luxury craftsmanship. The label is made of timeless yet thought-provoking intelligent designs with a confident edge.
Since 2014, we have made a commitment to locally produced products. We focus on transparent production and impeccable design. We work from the fiber stage all the way to the fabric finishing stage to raise the bar in ethically made clothing. Each design is an investment piece that can be worn and cherished indefinitely. We extensively test our product to ensure that we are only making the best for our consumers.
How did you come up with the concept for Venia Collection?
VENIA means “Grace” in ancient Latin. It serves as a reminder to give, receive, and experience grace through all walks of life. Our backgrounds in the luxury and contemporary markets exposed us to some of fashion’s dirty secrets in labor practices and manufacturing. So, we founded VENIA in 2014 with a mission to change the fashion industry from the inside out. The concept of Grace extends from our internal business practices to our end product. When we opened, we were committed to a 100% local workforce – a practice we continue to this day. As our business progressed, in 2015 we shifted to reflect a sustainable mindset – sourcing only ethically produced and responsibly manufactured textiles. Then, in 2016, we introduced 3D printed elements as a way to combat mass trim manufacturing. Both remain a key component of VENIA to this day.
What is the inspiration behind the current collection?
The collection you see featured is part of Chapter III: Roots and Chapter IV: Re/Compose. The narrative of both stories challenges the idea of returning to our origins in respect to clothing design. Both Roots and Re/Compose aim to introduce stylish and timeless clothing meant to be experienced daily, with pieces that enhance your everyday life without the extra “fluff.” Strategically placed pockets, luxe natural fibers, 3D printed metal trims, and vegetable dyed fish and lambskin leathers are all components within the line that enhance the details of the collection.
What’s your favorite look in the current collection? Why?
I hope we’re not cheating when we say our Leather Jackets are the stars of the show. Wear-tested in the city and the natural elements, these leather jackets are perfect for everything from a photoshoot to trekking around the martian landscape of Iceland–we even have the pictures to prove it! Our jackets are designed traditionally – around a body form rather than flat patterned; and fit impeccably to the wearer. The skins are sourced from family owned leather tanneries and are all byproducts from the food industry. As such, each jacket reflects the closed end loop production that we constantly strive for. Our 3D printed metal zipper heads benefit charities that fight against human trafficking and global warming. We believe in wearing your confidence as much as wearing your cause; and our pieces do just that.
You like to keep your identities secret, what’s the rationale behind the creation of your alternate personas, ENI & NIGMA?
We wanted to create a collection that upheld high morals that we expected to see in the industry. ENI & NIGMA came to the conclusion that VENIA would unveil stories of the world, to the world. They wanted to shy away from “celebrity designer” and allow the world to see their designs and stories for what they were. Each year, ENI & NIGMA don new masks – with each mask being a reflection of the themes carried out in our collections for that year. VENIA was founded by a unique team of engineers, designers, directors, patternmakers, and technicians with the aim to make Ethical Clothing in LA – the largest apparel manufacturing hub in the United States.
The current collection is comprised largely of unisex pieces, but previously, you designed clothes primarily for women. This current collection has designs for both men and women. What was the reason for creating clothes for both men and women?
We originally launched as a womenswear label with the plan of incorporating menswear. We just didn’t anticipate doing so, so soon. However, our androgynous tech-forward and modern silhouettes attracted many men in the art, music, entertainment and tech fields – so much so that we opened up shop for Menswear in 2016. It’s actually been very popular ever since and has helped shape our brand to incorporate dual elements to both types of designs.