MLE was founded by Emily Antonian Li Mandri (MLE) in 2018 on the principles of high-quality materials, unique details, and memorable experiences. MLE has been featured in Vogue and Sports Illustrated, and worn by renowned performers such as Kesha, Maggie Rogers, and Tierra Whack.
After spending over 10 years in fashion and digital marketing with a focus on innovative design and emerging brand growth, Li Mandri decided it was time to launch her eponymous label, an accessories line based in New York. She now incorporates the first-hand experience she gained in both industries to MLE, with a focus on sustainability and quality.
Li Mandri is a third-generation designer in an Italian and Armenian family of tailors, seamstresses, and fine jewelers. Growing up, Li Mandri learned her craft by closely watching her relatives work in their studios. Her first collaboration was designing her high school prom dress with her maternal grandmother.
The MLE brand integrates the artistry of old-world techniques with modern designs and contemporary subject matters. Recurring themes within the MLE brand reference female empowerment (such as The Gentlewoman’s Agreement Collection
and the Oeuf Egg Earring
) and sustainability, with signature pops of color and bold details to create statement pieces.
The majority of MLE pieces are made-to-order in New York by a small team of skilled and experienced craftswomen, including Li Mandri herself, in an effort to produce as sustainably as possible. Fabric and leather used by MLE are deadstock material to avoid excessive production and leverage materials readily available in New York’s garment district and beyond. In 2020, Li Mandri relocated from Brooklyn, NY to Saugerties, NY in the Catskills.