Meet Leslie, reinventor

Leslie Evans is the talent behind LEDA (Leslie Evans Design Associates), a firm she started in 1986 in New York doing work primarily for clothing magazines. She ended up coming to Portland in the early 1990s like many others before and since—had a vision of what Maine and the lifestyle could be and liked it better than the alternative of living in a concrete jungle. As only a few do, she moved here and made that vision a reality. Each phase of her business seems characterized by a leap—a decision to do something different, or to forge a different path. This is what led her to brand Stonewall Kitchens with her ‘food as fashion’ approach. It’s also that same drive that launched her newest venture, built around custom designed textiles, Leslie Evans Designs.  It’s a creativity,a different way of thinking, and the temerity to keep at it until it succeeds.

I met Leslie a couple of years ago, after photographing her former Commercial Street studio. We’ve been in touch ever since, and I thought she’d be a perfect fit for Inspire Portland.  The final image I chose is dark, somewhat gritty and taken in the conference area of her Cape Elizabeth studio.   I took lots of other, bright and commercial-looking images that day (see slideshow below for a few outtakes) but something about this scene made this image the clear winner.   Leslie Evans may be all about beautiful, airy design….but the work that goes into making that happen isn’t glamorous or easy.  I like the feel of Leslie being surrounded by the volumes of art and design, swatches in hand on a worn, weathered table.   To me it speaks to what makes creatives succeed, besides talent….hard work and inspiration.

Check out Leslie’s article in this issue of Inspire Portland.

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