ILLÉSSY LENKE (founder, desinger)
The story of ille/olla started during my university years and became intertwined with my life. Besides my 4 children, the brand is the fifth child I care for, nurture and enjoy.
After I had graduated in textile design from Moholy University of Art and Design in Budapest, I founded ille/-olla in 2009.
During my scholarship in Finland I created the playful brand name, which is a combination of my name (Illéssy Lenke) and the Finnish word "to be" ("olla"), . "Olla raskaana" means "to be pregnant" in Finnish. I started designing maternity clothes in Helsinki and graduated a year later with this theme in Budapest. At the beginning of my career, I received many awards, professional prizes and scholarships for my work (Kozma Lajos Scholarship, Moholy Great Art Award, Textile Triennale Design Award, Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award...). I still draw from my experiences in Finland, because my approach to design is similar to Scandinavian : both practical and aesthetic.
In 2011, I stopped designing dresses for young mother and started designing jackets in different fabrics and technologies, using a patterning system I invented. Between 2012 and 2020, I built and promoted ille/olla with my twin sister, Kata.
Nowadays, my small series, unique style, high collar, asymmetric coats can be found in my own showroom, international webshop and my own webshop, Hungarian and foreign partners, Hungarian and international fairs.
Why did I choose fashion designing?
"It may come as a surprise, but I didn't become a fashion designer because of my love of fashion. To be honest, I don't even like fashion.
As a teenager I wanted to be a pastor to serve God and the people.
But at the age of 16, my then 92 year old Great Grandmother Kato taught me to sew on her old, foot-folding Zinger sewing machine. I immediately fell in love with the craft: I was completely fascinated by the different types of materials and accessories, as button, zipper, ribbon... The little details, the technology and the shapes gave me sleepless nights. I was completely captivated by the flow and I am still in euphoria wen I design.
I love the fact that I can conjure form from flat material and shape it into a practical, aesthetic utilitarian object. Something that serves people and their needs. Because for me fashion designing is not about whimsical, often self-serving, profit-driven fashion.The clothes bring out the beauty of the person, expresse their personality, and help and protect them in everyday life with practical solutions.
I excites me most is the design of coats. Their design is a technological, ergonomic and aesthetic challenge for me. I pay a lot of attention to the choice of quality materials, available in many colours. I experiment a lot with cut lines to find the most advantageous and comfortable line.
The greatest pleasure is when my customers are satisfied with the coats I designed and receive positive feedback from friends or even strangers on the street.
The compiments give the people self-confidence. A look is eye-catching and harmonious when the wearer knows themselves, their colour and shape features and can accentuate their beauty with a well-chosen piece.
I would like to help conscious dressing and conscious purchasing with my extra service: styling advice.
For me, the coat is just a tool that serves the person.