On a wintry February morning in her lofty, brick-lined atelier south of Canal Street, Lyndsey Butler, founder of cult leather line Veda, recounts her tale to sartorial success. “I felt there was a void in the market for the perfect leather jacket,” says Butler, clad in an oversized lavender mohair sweater, delicate silver sings and sporting her signature but now fading sky blue locks. “There were so many expensive options and the quality of leather was thicker but I was more drawn to a softer, more draped look.” Thus, Butler launched Veda with six classic-but-cool iterations of the urban chic topper. The result? The quintessential millennial biker jacket.
Cut to six years later, Veda (the Hindu word for “truth,”) and its neo-classic perfectos have become wardrobe building blocks for a pantheon of stylish women in the know. “I always get surprised by who wears them,” says Butler, who calls the brand’s muse a “cool, downtown New Yorker.” To wit, her Max Moto Jacket – an unassuming slim, slightly cropped silhouette with oversized lapels – has attracted everyone from hip creative types to off-duty models to SNL comediennes to the inevitable celebrity contingent. “A couple weeks ago I was watching football with my boyfriend and the sportscaster was wearing one of my jackets,” she muses. “I called my dad to be like, ‘See? That’s mine!’”
Since launching in 2008, Butler has expanded the line to include leather pants, dresses, skirts and leather-accented cashmere sweaters, or as she calls them, “boyfriend sweaters with a twist.” In September, the NYU alum opened a 350-square-foot flagship boutique on Mercer Street hawking her streetwise ready-to-wear, accessories and, of course, her signature jackets. “I love having the store in Soho because of the mix of women you get,” says the San Antonio native, who draws inspiration from her childhood spent in Texas and Argentina. “We get tourists, moms and daughters, professionals and artists who live downtown. It’s cool to see what different people react to.”
Recently, Butler collaborated with jeweler Pamela Love and with Jayne Min of STOP IT RIGHT NOW, who teamed up with GrandLife during New York Fashion Week S/S 2014 and F/W 2014, on a custom leather vest. Currently, she’s working with shoe label Modern Vice on an upcoming capsule collection. “I’m always absorbing and gathering inspiration,” she explains. “A lot of it has to do with what’s missing from my closet.” As for her personal style, she cites Acne and Celine as brands she admires but it’s her own creations that she dons when hitting her favorite downtown haunts, which include Rubirosa, Juice Press and The Smile. “There is a classic element to most things I wear but I like something that throws it all off,” adds Butler. To wit, her summer wish list includes her own leather variation of ‘shorteralls,’ which she plans to pair with sandals and a tank top. Leather in the summer? As Butler puts it, “It’s always nice to rock some leather.”
19 Mercer Street
New York, NY 10013
– Nicole Berrie