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Lyndsey Butler

Lyndsey Butler

by Melissa Magsaysay

Marlon Brando in The Wild One or James Dean’s go-to uniform, the leather jacket is an undisputed icon in the sartorial canon of classic clothing.

Today the item still makes just as strong a style statement and the brand that creates a well-fitted, timeless silhouette, using prime materials and skilled craftsmanship is the New York-based brand, Veda.

The line’s founder and designer, Lyndsey Butler, set out a decade ago to perfect the garment and has built a thriving business, not just through a quality product, but by seamlessly incorporating an inclusive size-range into her main collection.

Butler went beyond a size 10 long before other contemporary labels and has kept pushing forward to extend the size range with integrity.

“The [fashion] industry just needs to gain some perspective and remember there is a big world out there filled with amazing people and we should open our doors and arms wide to include whoever wants to join in.”

Here, she talks about creating a leather jacket that lasts and yes, fits, and how every designer can extend their collection with the right mindset and technical know-how.

Q & A with Lyndsey Butler

When and why did you start Veda?

I started Veda 10 years ago because I saw a hole in the market for high quality leather jackets that fit great at a more affordable price point. Not the sexiest answer, but it’s true. I was just super passionate about using the best materials and perfecting fits.

You're so well known for your jackets and coats, how have you honed in on creating such a well-proportioned and great fitting garment?

It was the focus from the very beginning, we spend a lot of time getting the fit just right. With our classic assortment of jackets, we literally spent years making changes before elevating those styles to our core collection which is available year-round in a rainbow of colors.

What are the technical challenges of grading when extending a size run? Is there any general advice you can offer to designers and brands who want to start extending their sizing but are trying to figure out the first step forward?

Great question! What I have learned is that you need to think of it more like creating a new style rather than just grading up an existing style. We now use a size 18 as our base for grading our extended size range, so we go up and down from there that was also a helpful update.

Even now it is still a challenge each season because bodies are just so different (which is awesome) but at the end of the day, not all of our styles are going to be right for every body. With a more constructed garment like a leather jacket it is even more difficult to create a piece that works for everyone - but we are trying!

You were very early to start selling your collection on 11 Honoré, why was the platform an obvious opportunity for Veda?

It was great timing. We had already extended the Veda size range to include an XL (gasp, I know but in the contemporary market going past a size 10 was practically unheard of). And that size kept selling out online so I knew we needed to keep going. I put together a deck and was pitching a size inclusive range of leather jackets to some of my bigger retailers and no one was biting, which was super frustrating. I needed a retailer to sign on so I could hire the production team, fit model etc to really do it right. So, it was perfect when 11 Honoré reached out and told us about their new platform, I was really eager to make it work from the beginning.

Do you feel like fashion has become more inclusive since you started working in the industry?

Yes, I know we have a long way to go but I see it more in a general attitude shift if not always in product, imagery etc. I think in general the industry is a nicer more accepting place to work than even 5 or 10 years ago.

What more can the industry be doing to push the conversation on inclusivity forward?

I think we can keep hiring, photographing, championing and talking to people who are different from us. The industry just needs to gain some perspective and remember there is a big world out there filled with amazing people and we should open our doors and arms wide to include whoever wants to join in.

Do you have a fashion/style mantra? If so, what is it?

I approach design the same way I get dressed - I start with my outerwear first. I think a great statement coat or classic leather jacket can really define your whole look. Maybe it is more of a New York City thing but your coat or jacket is kind of like your car.

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