Georgia Tech on LEONOEL

FASHION IN THE LAST CENTURY wouldn’t be anywhere without Coco Chanel and little black dresses, Alexander McQueen and angular suits, or Diane von Furstenberg and the wrap dress. But as the negative environmental impacts of the fashion industry have come to light in the past few years, people are beginning to wonder how we can take the expressions of these artists and insert the topic of sustainability into the conversation.

Architect Elaheh Demirchelie is working to do just that. In February, Demirchelie, Arch 09, MS Arch 14, with the scientific expertise of two other alumni, launched a sustainable fashion brand. LEONOEL, featuring clothing for men (LEON) and women (NOEL), as well as a neutral line (N), merges design, science, and technology to achieve the smallest environmental footprint through the entire lifecycle of a garment.

But what does an architect know about fashion design? It turns out, quite a bit. When Demirchelie began studying architecture at Georgia Tech, she immersed herself in other creative disciplines as well, including poetry, art, and fashion. And when she began her career in architecture, working her way up to chief creative officer for the award-winning firm Mark Cavagnero Associates in San Francisco, she began to see her role as taking on some of the global issues that challenge our world. When Demirchelie started her own architecture and design agency in 2018, she aimed for her practice to focus on these issues through the lens of architecture and product design. 

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