Introducing: Lauren Manoogian

September 23 2015

Soft knits and sculptural cuts are the hallmarks of Lauren Manoogian, the eponymous label from Brooklyn-based designer Lauren Manoogian.

After studying at RISD, Lauren began her jewelry line as a series of wearable studies, then quickly expanded into a collection of knitwear. It is our pleasure to welcome Lauren to Need Supply Co. this season, so we took the opportunity to chat with the designer about her inspirations and process.

How did the ‘Lauren Manoogian’ brand begin?

Extremely organically. I think for all practical purposes the “brand” of Lauren Manoogian began in earnest with AW13 after I took a hiatus for a year and refocused my efforts on making a full knitwear collection.

How were you first introduced to the craft of textiles and jewelry-making?

I studied textiles in college but I have no training in jewelry. Although, I think the jewelry that I made was very material driven and related to textile constructions. But really most of my knowledge of “craft” has come from working and being curious…traveling for various jobs and watching people at factories make things, asking them a thousand questions. Alternatively, sitting down at my studio and tuning out, making a lot of ugly things to make one good thing.

Where do you derive the inspiration for your textiles and silhouettes?

A lot of the shapes come from the knitting process itself, inspired by the potential and restrictions of the production method. I also like playing with common shapes, be that a big rectangle or the idea of a “turtleneck” and then try from the start to find my own naive way of doing it. When I started, this was truly naive as I had no training for pattern making or garments really at all. For those reasons, I am always intuitively attracted to traditional clothing and also utilitarian clothing. Many of my silhouettes are really simple and abstract when you lay them flat or are on a hanger and, like a lot of textile driven clothing, they really need a person inside them to transform. Overall, its a pretty loose and forgiving line and maybe more about the wearer’s tactile experience than a particular look. That being said, AW15 was actually pretty unique silhouette-wise because I wanted to try to reference some more specific things like denim and military clothing. Types of clothing that I personally wear a lot and love but always found too literal. I think the end effect is more constructed, boyish, and colorful which was interesting!

Do you have a particular process for designing new collections? 

I definitely see the collection as more as an accumulation; iterations of the same simple base shapes with evolving details and material expressions. That is how I see the core of the line but at the same time I find there is some new emotion, interest, or, excuse my pun, thread that I find myself pulling at for each individual season. With knitwear, I do something that is very niche in many ways so there is a built in restriction and focus to the possible range that helps to keep things consistent. I don’t have a very linear design process though. I have a lot of notebooks and graph papers with shape or construction ideas scribbled down. I tend to have a little explosion of ideas unexpectedly or at least not on calendar and then things get flowed into the line at some point. For example, I scratched out some of the new pieces I am using this season in 2013 but maybe the timing or available materials wasn’t right or I had too many ideas then, who knows, but now they get their chance. I think as the line grows there is more pressure to change things and have definitive moments, colors, or concepts but also less time to design. I find myself constantly wanting to push back against that. Probably if left to my own devises I would just make one big collection every 2 years.

Shop Lauren Manoogian