Hiya, welcome to my website, I’m Lea Athene! I’ve been designing and making unique clothing since 2003., I’ve had a passion for fabric my entire life, which likely began when my mum gave me a beautiful piece of silk as a baby, with which I couldn’t stop fiddling. From an early age, I was keen to choose my own clothing combinations, which sometimes resulted in strange-looking outfits. A few years on, I loved playing dress-up and playing around with fabric and yarn, and I started my own collection of what were mostly ‘nice-to-touch’ fabrics, often in the form of scarfs and hats.
When I went to secondary school, I started wearing some beautiful pieces of clothing my mum had kept from her own youth. Despite people laughing at me, I very much enjoyed wearing them to school, as they made me feel confident and were very inspiring to me. Not just their appearance, but the bigger meaning wearing them had for me. They showed me that it’s a beautiful thing we don’t all look or dress alike. That it can be very liberating to express yourself with clothing, but that you shouldn’t take fashion too seriously. That your preferences change all the time, depending on your mood, your body, the particular time in your life. That you can be creative, and don’t necessarily have to have lots of money to feel confident in your clothing. Are you interested in clothing, fashion or design? Awesome! Do you just want to feel comfortable, without getting into these things too much? Awesome! We all need to make clothing choices, but we each get to do it our own way.
At 14, I sewed my first real piece of clothing on the machine. Sitting on the floor of my bedroom in Sittard, using my knee to work the peddle because I didn’t have a desk or table, I turned my eldest sister’s trousers into a top. Soon after this, the ‘I-have-nothing-to-wear’ phase started, so I started creating garments from scratch. I drew my inspiration from a variety of things: the fabrics themselves, natural shapes and architecture I came across on my walks and bike rides, the human form and more… Once I moved to Brussels in 2009 to start my bachelor in Art history and Archaeology, I found that the styles, shapes and designs I came across also started influencing my creations.
I’ve been making clothes for 20 years now, using pieces I’ve knitted or crocheted myself, or fabrics I find in shops and markets, or a combination of the two. I have a strong tendency towards natural fibers such as cotton, wool, linen and silk, and I love working with plain colours. As is the case for many autodidacts, years of trial and error and lots of practice have allowed me to gain ample experience and expertise in designing clothes myself, drawing out the patterns, and using various sewing techniques to put them together.
Whether I knit or sew, no matter what kind of design I’m working on, my aim is always the same: creating clothing that feels comfortable and boosts confidence. In my experience, feeling comfy and happy in clothes goes beyond the finished article in itself. It has to do with the complete process of making a piece of clothing. Both environmental friendliness and ethical responsibility are important aspects to take into account. When you buy a piece created by me, you can be sure it has been made in Belgium (I moved to the area of Meerdaalwoud, Heverleebos en Zoetwater in 2017). In addition, every piece is made by me personally, and is made with care, know-how and love. Furthermore, I try to go for Oeko-Tex® or biological fabrics as much as I can. As these fabrics are generally more expensive, the choice remains yours in the end. My hope (in fashion as well as in life) is that we all do what we can for a better, fairer world, and help each other out wherever we can. I think it’s important to offer everyone a chance to buy a locally and responsibly made, handcrafted piece of clothing. Check out my concept to learn more about all the different options in creating your own unique product, and help make this society a more colourful and honest one in the process.