Vex & Voyeur: A Chat With Laura Pulice

If there is anything I want to be known for in life, it is to be known as a go-getter. Both my parents are immigrants from Somalia, and fled their war torn country to give their children the opportunities they never had. Grateful for this opportunity my parents have given me, I’ve always set standards for myself to be my best and never stop trying no matter what. The drive that keeps people moving onwards and upwards is the very same drive that my very inspiring feature, Laura Pulice portrays.

It all started with a dream and this lady has never stopped dreaming until she achieved it, realised it and continued to pursue her inner passions. Speaking to Laura made me feel like we were walking down Venice beach in LA, a very relaxed and chilled out person that has a fierce passion for life- all seen through her inherited Italian eyes. She’s a creative person that enjoys designing and enjoys coming up with unique creations that feature textures and cuts you wouldn’t normally see in regular fashion brands. Her designs VEX have received applaud and has been featured on VOGUE, Interview magazine, W Magazine, V magazine only to name a few.  Yet, with all her dreams and ambitions to be a fashion industry icon (her creations were worn by celebrities like Madonna & Lady Gaga), Laura is very happy to stay away from New York’s hectic environment and instead enjoy her life in Chicago, ‘I didn’t want to do the whole New York thing, I didn’t want the struggle story.  So I figured it was going to be a lot easier starting a clothing company at home, surrounded by my family. So after graduation I came back to Chicago.’ she shares. So if you ask me what I think of Laura and how she inspires everywoman that is afraid to share her wildest of imaginations, Laura is what I would describe as a bad ass mom who’s been in the industry for over a decade, determined to push the envelope with her innovative ideas. Oh, did I mention she’s also started a new Jewelry line? This lady never stops… and that to me is the true definition of a go-getter. Here’s a quick chat with Chicago’s awesome Laura Pulice.

Who is Laura Pulice?

I am a born and bread Chicagoan, a mother, a wife and I just so happen to make latex clothes for a living.

What are some personal interests a latex clothes designer has?

Recently I have gotten into paddle-boarding with my family. We also do a lot of hiking, camping , and snowboarding. I love to be outdoors and to do outdoor activities. I also love traveling.  I love California so that has been my families go to spot last summer.

How did you get started with Vex?

I went to school in New York, and interned with a latex rubber designer. When I was in school I had already taken a leather class and knew how to sew so I wanted to learn something different.  I wanted to come out of school knowing everything, that way I would know exactly what I wanted to do after. Interning with the latex company had me thinking latex clothing should be more main stream and should be seen in fashion more. That was my lightbulb moment. After coming back home I needed to do something. I fell in love with Latex and knew it would be easier to break into the fetish scene because there wasn’t anything interesting happening.

 

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Vex and your new line, Voyeur are completely different. How did Voyeur come to be?

Voyeur came about as I did the TV show Styled To Rock. When I went to the show I was so over Vex.  The fetish scene went stagnate and after the market crash no one had the money to spend on it anymore.  So I decided to do the TV show, and when I went on I told myself I will hardly do any rubber, I wanted to show people I can do other things. High fashion was my original background, so when I came back from the show, I started Voyeur.

Wow, Style to Rock was fun. How did it help you grow your business?

It helped me launch my line, and helped me branch out from latex. Like I said I was tired of it and I wanted to prove that I can do something totally different from Vex.

There is truly no place like home! How do you think Vex & Voyeur fit in the Chicago Fashion Scene?

Well, Vex and Voyeur and totally two different lines. Vex I would say is more the underground Chicago, it favors the more fetish client. Voyeur is more fabric rather than latex. Voyeur in Chicago is more of the main stream fashion side. People who are into trends and high fashion would go with Voyeur line.

What are some goals within your lines  you want to accomplish? 

I want to be a Chicago staple, to be a household name.  I’ve been doing this for 14 years, and for the last 13 years I have primarily been doing latex clothes so now with voyeur its a different ball game. Its all about fabrics and I want to see that grow a little bit more because that is what I am really into right now.

Over the summer you did a kick starter for Voyeur, what made you want to go that route?

When I started vex, my husband helped me, my family helped me, I didn’t need much capital.  With Voyeur now that vex is up and running, I needed machines, I wanted to get PR, I needed sales reps, and you need capital to do that. It was too much capital to just ask family members and it was more capital than I had. I’m not much of a risk taker where I wanted to take a loan out on my house so I had heard about kick starter and knew a couple of people who had done it. I figured I would give it a try.

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How has Chicago defined you?

I love chicago, Im from here, born here and grew up here. As much as I would love to move to California, with my dream of living on the beach in a beach house, this is where I need to be. It has literally made me the person I am.

What is one thing you would like to see change in the Chicago fashion industry?

I would like to see more support for designers. I don’t feel like there is any and if there is, it is very selective.  I got overlooked for a long time just because of the materials that I used. I feel that Chicago is a little closed minded and conservative when it comes to styles that they aren’t used to. I would love to see Chicago loosen up a little bit. In New York for example people would be like “Oh you do latex?”  and its interesting, where Chicago they close their eyes at it, they don’t want to hear about it.

Vex is quite the naughty line. What are some pieces from your collections you would want more people to wear?

Vex and Voyeur are for the not so conservative. You can be conservative, but have an edge as well. I have a lot of people who buy the latex pencil skirt and pair it with a silk top, a sweater, or a drapy top, because thats what they see going down the runway.

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Laura Pulice’s work
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Laura Pulice’s work

You debuted your Voyeur SS16 collection during the Chicago Fashion Week. How would you explain the collection?

It was very rocker meets bohemian. What I wanted to show for my spring/summer collection is something you  haven’t seen from me before. It is a lot edgier and mainly pieces that I would wear. When people ask me if I have a muse, yes its me! I want to see something different, and that is what I want to deliver.

 What gives you “Ah Ha” moments in life?

It could be a art piece, something I saw from another fashion designer, or even something as simple as a button. I just find things and immediately know I want to create something from that.

 


My Chicago

Food: The food is amazing, I can’t even pinpoint one place because they are all good. I’m a bit of a foodie

Neighborhoods: I love walking around wicker park when I can get a chance to. I live in portage park , so portage park is special to me. I’m defiantly a north side girl, so any neighborhood on the north side.

Shopping: The fashion outlets are right by my house, so I tend to go there a lot. If I’m ever on Michigan Ave, All Saints is my spot. For more local places I love the boutiques in Wicker park.

 

Any tips or advice to our aspiring fashion designer readers 

My piece of advice would be to network, and if you are shy like me, gravitate towards socialites. You have to be pushy and get your name out there. Do not stop until you do.

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Quotes you live by:

Right now my daughter is saying long hair don’t care, so thats our motto at the moment. Kind of a “I don’t care attitude.”

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