House of Laflare, launched in October 2021, is a luxury fashion boutique that features original designs by Meredith Howell, a fourth-year Fashion Textiles Management student. Howell started selling her handmade clothes in 2020 during the pandemic after photos of her designs exploded instagram. Since then, Howell has launched a fashion house that has already taken the industry by storm.
Howell’s designs include quality handmade pieces, like shorts and pants made from vintage tapestries, screen-printed t-shirts and handmade puffer jackets. Some pieces are part of a larger collection, others are made individually for customers. What stands out are the lush patterns and innovative edge that each of Howell’s pieces exude.
“I usually draw inspiration from pieces in my closet,” Howell said. “I go up to them and say, ‘That’s great, but it could be so much better. “”
Howell primarily sells through Instagram and more recently has experimented ICT Tac. Her clothes can also be found in pop-up shops in Raleigh, Charlotte, Durham and Winston-Salem.
“If you’re going to have a piece of clothing, especially mine, I want it to be one of your favorite pieces,” Howell said. “And that’s what I love when I see people with my clothes on and they’re like, ‘Oh my god, I wear this all the time.’ That’s my job.”
The seeds of Howell’s career were planted in seventh grade when her science teacher encouraged her to enter the fashion industry for her interest in materials technology. However, he really blossomed in high school after Howell competed in NC State’s Summer Textile Exploration Program (STEP).
Howell said STEP was the first time she had seen a studio where people were “really making clothes.” Her first sewing project was a blue fur coat, lined with a Picasso silk scarf. She said she didn’t use a pattern and it wasn’t fully functional, but it’s still one of her favorite pieces.
Maison de Laflare may be a new brand, but it is already making big waves in the fashion industry. In 2021, Howell collaborated with his friend Axel Nyembwethe style curator for NBA All-Star Zion Williamson.
Howell created custom anime-themed pieces for Williamson to wear in the first round of the 2019 NBA draft and again for the 2021 New Orleans pick. Photos of Williamson in clothes went viral and was shared by big outlets like SportsCenter and Complex. Since then, Nyembwe and Howell have stayed in touch and hope to collaborate again in the future.
“She is the future,” Nyembewe said. “She’s just the future of the new design perspective that’s emerging among designers. Not even just designers, but women designers, black women designers. How many black female designers are there in the world? »
As a full-time student, Howell was forced to learn to balance school and running a business.
“I had to grow up, immediately,” Howell said. “Having a business is your own business. It’s not a liability, it’s definitely an asset, but you have to actively work to make sure it’s an asset. It takes a lot of learning. It takes a lot of inner work as well as understanding exactly what you want to do.
According to Howell, this is only the beginning of the House of Laflare. She hopes to further develop in-house manufacturing with a full team. Eventually, she dreams of sharing her creations at Paris Fashion Week.
“I really want to make an impact, I want people to see my clothes and feel inspired because that’s life,” Howell said. “I want to do this on a large scale, I want everyone across the country to think about my clothes and think about luxury, comfort, but also I’m sustainable. It’s like adding to the beauty of the world and the higher vibration of it all.
Howell plans to release more collections next spring, with the return of its popular tapestry woven shorts. La Maison de Laflare is also set for a new logo and branding to come. follow the brand instagram and website to stay up to date on all that is to come.