This week our textiles heroine is Leana Zuniga, the founder of label Electric Feathers and owner of Brooklyn boutique Electric Nest. Leana has a long history with travelling, but both of her ventures’ are based in the US, giving her Bohemian backgrounds some roots. She’s a relatively new player in the fashion game, but her special details and unique aspects in her clothing have already made her stand out so it looks like she’ll be around for a while.
Leana started her clothing label Electric Feathers due to a need she identified for herself. On a spontaneous trip to Morocco one summer she found herself short on easy clothes that travel well, ones that she could roll up and toss in a suitcase at a moment’s notice – something she was very familiar with.
As a solution she filled her next line with pieces that could travel well and also translate to many different situations. She wanted “œpieces that weren’t punctuated, in interesting fabrics, that could go different places”. This nomadic lifestyle punctuates everything she does and is a breath of fresh air in what she describes as an “œincreasingly disposable world”.
This approach is kind of “˜sustainable’ designing, her signature garments are convertible (such as her Infinite Rope Dress below) and can be styled into countless options. She also wants her clothing to be like blank canvases that people could style in the way that they wanted to – add some fine jewelry or a pair of Wellington boots, either works. The lightweight jumpsuits, drop-crotch Ali Baba trousers, cargo-pocket parkas and flowing trapeze dresses which are staples of her collections were designed for women on the move and are best-sellers each season.
Leana is known for these oversized, billowy shaped pieces and her latest line is keeping in stride with this same aesthetic. Jumpers and voluminous trouser pants are mixed with classic sun dresses and her use of beautiful and rare fabrics are one of the many special details used in her design process and definitely an aspect that makes her line stand out; she never uses synthetics, favoring silks and natural cottons instead.
Leana now creates two Electric Feathers collections a year and admits her latest was directly inspired by movement and performance. A lot of her loyal customers are performers so she played to her audience, creating more pieces with her signature beautiful fabrics that move well.
If that wasn’t enough, Leana also recently opened her store Electric Nest in South Williamsburg. She was inspired to open it to be in more direct contact with her customers – she says when selling wholesale, you have no idea who’s trying on, buying and wearing your clothing.
Electric Nest of course carries her own Electric Feathers line, but it doesn’t end there. You can find vintage Yves Saint Laurent towels, Anndra Neen jewelry and books about Japanese fashion. The goal was to make the store’s mix “kinetic and fluctuating, [with] things for the home, books, and objects… Not limited to just women looking for clothing.”
Leana also sources “little treasures” that complement the boutique’s wares. The store houses everything from vintage Kansai Yamamoto tunics to weighty brass cuffs to compliment her own designs, found on her frequent travels. There are also hand painted pillows, organic chocolates and candles to make perfect gifts.
The boutique follows the golden rectangle principle and everything is set out in divine proportions – a concept from China and Japan where placement is key to create harmony within a place. Leana wanted the space to have a warm, comfortable feeling, modern and clean, but cosy and accommodating of everyone.
Leana says she doesn’t have a typical customer, but singers and dancers are frequent visitors due to the freedom for movement in her clothing. The pieces can also be personalised with belts and styling so the collections naturally lend themselves to creative types. Her price-points tend to be on the higher end of the scale – clothing ranges from $300 to $1500 with most in the $400 to $500 range, but the gift items can be between $25 and $50.
The store and the clothing line are as dreamy as each other, and Leana’s Bohemian style now has a cult following. Leana says she doesn’t want her store to be isolating and sees it evolving over the next few years, possibly to include paintings and sculptures to make Electric Nest into more of a gallery space.
This evolution and flexibility is clearly what makes her businesses a success. Her best seller is one of the convertible caftan dresses that she tweaks slightly each season to keep fresh, but proves the age-old idiom of “œif it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Leana knows what works for her and indeed her customers, and rather than conforming to the body-conscious current trends, her individuality and vision are doing wonders.
You can find Leana’s clothing across online and’ at a handful of’ boutiques across the US (and Japan!) as well as in her own store Electric Nest at 60 Broadway, Brooklyn. Leana’s also worth following on Instagram – her pictures of art, fashion and culture provide us with endless inspiration.
Next week read about another wonderful Bohemian Modern store in California, Individual Medley…