One day when Christina Lehr was a teenager living above her father’s SoHo clothing shop, a shipment of costly t-shirts arrived, every one of them defective. Since the shirts were custom-printed, her dad – designer Henry Lehr – couldn’t return them to the manufacturer.
“Let me try to fix them,” Christina said. She’d been studying pattern-making, cutting, draping and sewing at the School of Fashion Design, and thought she spotted possibility in the twisted seams.
“My dad uses the term ‘creative destruction,’” she said. “Night after night, I ripped out those seams and re-sewed every shirt by hand, integrating the factory’s mistake into a whole new look. The shirts sold out in three days.”
Encouraged by her early success, Christina went on to become an apprentice pattern-maker for top designers, working 10 hours a day for a year to master the intricacies of fabric and fit. Next, she went on to work with a leader in dyes and silk-screens, learning not just traditional hand techniques but honing her sense of wash and color, too.
“My dad once told me that design without technical knowledge is just doodling,” she said. “It took years for me to appreciate what he meant, but now I do.”
Today, customers who wear Christina Lehr’s knitwear appreciate that too. From thoughtful designs to superior fabrics to the family-run factory in Belgium that manufactures her line, Christina Lehr’s eponymous line is always a cut above.
“A perfect t-shirt is basic, timeless and clean,” Christina said. “I concentrate on fit and proportion, make them in beautiful colors from great fabrics, and wash them in a special blend of enzymes to give them a silky feel. I love what I do, and hope my customers do too.”