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Elena Velez


  • Fellow: FAIR in the Arts

Elena Velez is an American fashion designer and entrepreneur from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Her work is known for its non-traditional synthesis of metalwork and high fashion. Velez graduated from Parsons School of Design and completed her studies at Central Saint Martins in London. Of Puerto Rican heritage but raised in the rust belt, Velez claims that the industrial nature of her nontraditional upbringing as the only child to a single mother who is a ship’s captain on the Great Lakes influenced her current artistic identity, one which she says draws heavily on the relationship between femininity and force. Her company was subsequently featured in Forbes for its work with Midwestern makers and mission to ‘democratize resources and recognition’ for artists outside of traditional creative capitals. Velez is the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s 2022 Emerging Designer of the Year, Elle Magazine’s 2023 Women of Impact recognizé, a 2022 Vogue Fashion Fund winner, recipient of the Fashion Trust US Sustainability Award, she is part of the 2023 Dazed 100 list, attended the 2023 Met Gala, and is a semi finalist for the 2024 LVMH Prize.