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Meet The Conscious Designer Behind Kendall And Kylie’s Viral Lavender Gowns

Chinese-born and New York City-based designer Haixi Ren – whose brand is titled REN – has been thrust into the spotlight, thanks to her meticulously crafted pieces currently being worn by Kendall and Kylie Jenner. “I could not believe my eyes when I saw it,” Ren tells Vogue of seeing her pieces on the Jenner sisters. “Kendall and Kylie have always been my muses, so it was a pleasure to design for them. We’re in the same age group, which made it natural for me to understand their taste.”

As the theme of the campaign was lavender, the looks had to be made in the same shade. Taking abstract expressionism as inspiration, Ren opted to use deadstock lavender lace fabric, which was deconstructed into little pieces that were felted with embroidery threads, and then connected together using a special hand-embroidered technique. “I decided to use multiple hues of lavender to create a depth of textile,” explains the designer. “I wanted to create cut-out gowns for the girls that enhance their beautiful physiques. A majority of [my] pieces are done by hand and are 100 per cent zero waste.”

The viral gowns on mannequins.
A closeup of the deconstructed lavender lace fabric.

The opportunity came through Albert Ayal – founder of the Instagram account @UpNextDesigner, a go-to for celebrity stylist – who posted shots of Ren’s spring/summer 2021 collection last year. Soon after, the designer was contacted by Kylie’s stylist Mackenzie Grandquist to create two custom gowns for the Jenner sisters’ campaign for Kylie Cosmetics. “I was so thrilled to be reached out to, and had the most amazing experience working with Mackenzie,” says Ren of the collaboration. “Mackenzie gave me countless suggestions and guidance during the process, especially in terms of what the girls like. We also made sure the gowns are sexy, but still with enough coverage.”

Ren has quickly distinguished herself as one to watch, despite only being in her first year of the MFA Fashion Design programme at Parsons School of Design, and the designer has big ambitions for the future. “I want to establish REN as a world-class brand which is sustainable and inclusive,” says Ren. “Fashion has a lot of systemic problems, so I’m trying to create our own unique production and selling methods, which would allow us to always stay as close to zero waste as possible.”

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