Lueder, the Menswear Brand Addressing Mental Health Through Fashion

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Marie Lueder Browns Focus James Massiah
Lueder x Browns FocusCourtesy of Lueder

Sitting in the intersection of formal and sportswear, Marie Lueder’s brand seeks to equip those facing challenging mental obstacles with metaphorical armour inspired by feudal-era knights

  1. Who is it? Marie Lueder is the creative force behind Lueder, a London-based menswear brand inspired by medieval armour
  2. Why do I want it? Tailored trousers and roll-neck shirts are made using durable fabrics to ensure maximum comfort
  3. Where can I buy it? Browns and Effe

Who is it? It didn’t take long for designer Marie Lueder to craft a signature style. The accentuated knee panels, two-toned denim and repeated spiral motifs that characterise her garments were born out of her fascination with the anxieties of modern-day life.

“I have always [been interested in] a particular set of masculinities that are afraid of showing vulnerability but at the same time feel incredibly overwhelmed by society,” she said, adding that a ten-year relationship with an ex-partner who suffered from depression opened her eyes to the complexity of mental health-induced challenges. It was also during these years that she spent researching various historical periods and came to understand the therapeutic potential that creative acts like pattern-cutting and sewing can offer. “I often disappeared into my work,” she said. “It only clicked later on that, although I couldn’t soothe him with words, I could make these garments as expressions [of support].” And so, in 2019 the brand Lueder was founded to equip those facing challenging mental obstacles with metaphorical armour inspired by feudal-era knights.

But, fashion design wasn’t always on the cards for Lueder. Born in Hamburg to a family of health practitioners, Lueder’s parents had similar expectations of their daughter: to pursue a secure career in a vocational discipline like science or medicine. “I realised that I wanted to care for and support people through garments,” she said. “It’s a [vehicle through which to] express myself and reach people, and it’s also very tactile and intimate.” Lueder went on to study fashion design in Hamburg before pursuing a master’s at London’s Royal College of Art in Menswear. It was there that she met stylist Hamish Wirgman who has since become a long-time collaborator and friend.

By February 2020, only months into the launch of her brand, Lueder was already showing during London Fashion Week as part of the British Fashion Council’s Discovery Lab. Stockists like Browns were quick to follow after seeing the intricate precision of Lueder’s tailored trousers and roll-neck shirts. Earlier this year, Browns Focus, an initiative launched by Browns in 1997 to spotlight and support emerging talent, partnered with Lueder, alongside designers like Maximilian and Bianca Saunders, and helped her launch a capsule collection available exclusively at the retailer.

Why do I want it? Leuder’s design practice exists in the intersection of formal- and sportswear. “I try to engineer new ways of pattern-cutting so that the body is free to do whatever it wants,” she said. “Ideally, you are able to cycle in one of my suits without feeling restricted in any way.” Her unique ability to combine creative experimentation with technical know-how can be traced back to her early professional years spent training as a tailor at the Hamburg State Opera. “We had to research different decades and make bespoke costumes for the performers,” she said.

It’s not just the construction of the garments that’s considered. Leuder is careful to use fabrics that withstand wear. Denim, for example, has become one of her most trusted materials in part because of its rigid structure and durable qualities. She also uses a lot of leather because “it feels timeless and ages so beautifully” and nylon for comfort and elasticity.

To offset the negative environmental impact of garment construction, Leuder has been integrating ways to reduce fashion waste. “I encourage a relationship of trust [between myself] and the wearer,” said Leuder. “I like to work with materials that are in the pre-consumer waste part of their cycle.” Leuder has spent the last few months reaching out to models and other creative collaborators, asking them to send her old garments. Instead of throwing them away, Leuder upcycles them and sends her new designs back to the owners to expand the lifespans of their garments. Although still in its early stages, it’s a practice Leuder is planning to introduce on a larger scale in the coming months.

“They have already made the choice to buy this garment,” said Leuder. “It probably has good memories attached to it – like holidays or big events. It’s important for me to retain these memories and stories, but create a new garment that’s working for them.”

Where can I buy it? In store and online at Browns and online at Effe.