These three NYC-based designers give us a glimpse at fashion’s fascinating future.
A look from Elena Velez’s YR 1 collection
Elena Velez, ELENA VELEZ
Elena Velez is best known for her deconstructed designs that integrate elements of high fashion with metalwork, creating pieces that are complex yet decisively simple. Hailing from the Midwest, where she was surrounded by industrial landscapes such as shipyards and engine rooms, the 2022 CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund finalist infuses that industrial influence into her unique perspective on design. Velez’s ongoing collaborations with various American metalsmith artists bring the historic craft of the American Rust Belt to fashion in unexpected ways. At only 27, her namesake label is thriving—she’s dressed A-listers such as Solange Knowles, Kali Uchis and Charli XCX.
After studying literature and sociology at the New School, Sintra Martins turned her love of fashion into a career. She interned with Thom Browne and Wiederhoeft while accepting custom orders on the side, creating extravagant looks from her studio apartment. Then, in 2020, she officially launched her label, Saint Sintra, out of a Brooklyn studio. Martins’ romantic pieces, all inspired by nostalgia, fuse edgy aesthetics with feminine glamour and have frequently been donned by today’s “it” girls, including Sydney Sweeney, Emma Chamberlain and Willow Smith.
Sheena Sood’s label, abacaxi, champions the vibrancy of South Asian design and honors the New York City lifestyle. Sood previously worked as a freelance print designer for companies such as Anthropologie before and during the conception of her own brand. Sustainability and the artisanal craft of indigenous textile techniques are a large part of abacaxi’s identity— in fact, her first capsule collection for abacaxi was created with vintage fabrics Sood collected from travels across India. Embroidered, woven and beaded pieces define the abacaxi brand, and all pay homage to Sood’s love of travel, textiles, color and pattern.