Photo by Christian Werner

With childhood afternoons spent watching her grandma and aunt work as tailors, a curiosity in fashion came early to Leonie Mergen. Fascinated by the practice, she remembers playing copycat on her own dresses, customising and experimenting throughout most of her youth. Unable to shake this interest, Leonie enrolled in Berlin’s International University of Art (ESMOD) for Fashion, where she earned her BA in 2014. During this time, she gained invaluable experience with internships at EDSOR Berlin, HELLMANN Menswear and Dawid Tomaszewski. The young designer hasn’t let postgrad life slow her down– and with two collections already under her belt, Leonie’s creative streak shows no sign of stopping.

Exhibiting a refreshingly relaxed attitude towards artistry, Leonie doesn’t force herself into any boxes. Her work reflects this free-spirited outlook, with each new batch of designs wildly different than the one before it. Her first collection, a series of ensembles entitled “Public Boudoir”, featured a rich palette of black and cream hues typically uncharacteristic of spring and summer seasons. This year, Leonie debuted her follow up “Karabakh Collection” heavily influenced by Azerbaijani design. Despite their apparent dissimilarities, both collections perfectly articulate the young creative’s fearless spirit.

Always one to think of the future, Leonie is already focused on her next big move. The designer has been selected to present her collection of Azerbaijani-inspired ensembles at next year’s Berlin Fashion Week. Despite her previously mentioned Laissez-faire attitude, she is concentrated on making sure everything is just right. “It is important that every detail is culturally accurate,” says Leonie. “From the lighting concepts all the way to the choice of appropriate music and the production of printed background material.”