Meet German-born, London-based designer Marie Lueder. She founded her eponymous brand, Lueder, in 2019 after graduating from the Royal College of Art the year before. Lueder’s work explores male identity and the nature of masculinity and how traditionally masculine clothing can act as armour against the struggles of contemporary life.
The mentality behind the brand’s ethos is one of care. Lueder found that crafting garments for a loved one can be a way to physically show care for someone and support them. Drawing from her own personal experiences supporting people in her life, Lueder realized that making clothing can be a way to both express herself as well as reach others. Lueder’s message of care and protection is translated across all the garments she produces. Lueder works largely bespoke, to create a more intimate emotional connection between herself, the item, and the customer.
It’s not just a brand ethos either: Lueder’s designs draw inspiration from medieval knights to make metaphorical armor for the wearer. Roll-neck shirts tailored to look like breastplates, trousers with kneepads and highly structured items fill the repertoire. Denim is a signature element of Lueder’s style, as one of her main focuses is durable materials that can withstand weathering and bring rigidity and structure to a garment. Lueder also incorporates leather to add natural, timeless elements to her creations.
The garments are engineered for performance as well, putting an emphasis on freedom of mobility, and placing Lueder in the centre of the venn diagram between formalwear and sportswear. Lueder draws on her experience as an opera house costume designer to ensure the pieces provide for both form and function, combining technical ability in garment construction with an experimental attitude.
Lueder’s skill in this area is all the more noteworthy when it’s revealed that much of the material she works with is upcycled. Working with leftover fabrics, deadstock and other old items to be repurposed, Lueder creates something new from the old to both reduce fashion waste and to communicate something conceptual about the construction of the clothes as well. By speaking with her models individually about the clothes she would receive from them to be upcycled, she developed a bespoke sense for that individual’s needs which was applied to the garment.
Lueder’s use of medieval chivalric imagery and rigid, hardy fabrics and designs for sports, formal, and casual wear alike combines with the emotional nature of her work, making for a both tactile and metaphysical discussion of masculinity. The exploration of contrasts in masculinity of strength and vulnerability are on full display in the 4th Dimension, a video showcase for her Autumn/Winter 2021 collection for London Fashion Week. First premiered in February of this year, the video acts as an artistic and intimate look at male expression through fashion.