Brady Legler grew up in Kansas City. Now 25, he is based in New York, where he is finishing his bachelor of fine arts in product design at Parsons the New School for Design.
With one semester to go, Legler is already enjoying success as a designer. Tivol carries his line of jewelry, and he has recently launched a line of rugs, available through the Rug Studio in Overland Park. Legler focuses on the visual side; his mother, Shelley Legler, is co-owner and president of Brady Legler LLC.
How did you get into designing rugs?
The rugs came about due to my paintings. I do these large, abstract, very bright paintings. About two years ago, I was approached by Scot Bullock at the Rug Studio in Overland Park, who saw my paintings and was interested in seeing how they would translate into large-scale rugs. He was trying to do something different from traditional Oriental rugs.
They look like big all-over abstractions. What inspires you?
It’s all about color for me — the depth and movement and emotion that pure color can spark. My rug designs are very organic, compared to my jewelry, which is geometric and linear. It’s such a different look from traditional rugs; it’s literally my paintings on the floor. I use a lot of blue. Water has a huge effect on what I do.
Tell me about the design process.
I do the paintings, and Scot chooses what he thinks would be a good translation into a rug. He digitally converts the paintings to rug-weaving language. Then we pick out the yarn colors and add them to the program, and the file is sent to Nepal. There, someone hand draws the image and that goes into a template. The weavers work from the template.
And the yarn is hand-dyed in Nepal?
They do everything by hand, including carding and spinning the yarn. It’s wool and silk twisted together so that it changes sheen from one direction to another. The wool is all high-elevation Tibetan wool, some of the finest in the world. It’s thick, and rich in lanolin.
Who does the weaving?
It’s all done in the village of Kirtipur. There’s a small company there; they do all the weaving and the dyeing. It’s a one-stop shop. The method is very traditional. It takes four to five months to weave one rug.
How many designs do you have in production?
About 10. They’re all very abstract, including a floral-type runner, named “Marigolds,” which features abstract marigold flowers.
How does the size/color thing work? Do you offer different versions of one basic design?
The customers can change the colors if they want. I like how they can customize the paintings to what they like and keep the design.
What is the price range?
A 9-by-12-foot rug begins around $9,000, and they go up from there.
Who buys them?
I know they have been going into very contemporary homes and very traditional homes. They give a nice pop of color.
What’s next for you?
I’m going to continue with the rugs, and I’ve recently started to get into fabrics and textiles. I’m entering apparel. That’s the next step. It all came about from a recent meeting I had with Vogue. It was initially based on my jewelry, but we got to talking and I was wearing a T-shirt I designed. They showed interest, so I am venturing into men’s T-shirt design and a women’s dress collection.