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Born in Dallas, Sadoughi studied advertising at the University of Texas, followed by courses in fine-art painting, in Italy, and sketching and draping at London’s Central Saint Martins. After moving to Los Angeles, she began her career at a ready-to-wear label. She soon departed for the East Coast, arriving in New York City, in 2002, where she spent several years designing trims and overseeing patternmaking at Rebecca Taylor. It was there that her interest in the functionality of hardware and adorning clothing was born.
Lele cultivated a passion for jewelry during a turn at Ippolita, where she designed custom private-label pieces for Neiman Marcus, Anthropologie, Banana Republic, and Club Monaco. In 2005, she was recruited to conceptualize, create, and launch J. Crew’s jewelry division. As the company’s first-ever Jewelry Design Director, she created monthly collections, growing the venture into a $40-million business over the course of five years. In 2012, after leaving J. Crew, she launched her eponymous jewelry collection, Lele Sadoughi, and also held the post of Jewelry Design Director at Tory Burch.
Now in its fourth year, Lele Sadoughi the company has grown with the support of more than 75 global retailers including Saks, Neiman Marcus, and Liberty. Her designs have been worn by Nicole Kidman, Naomi Campbell, Drew Barrymore, Jessica Alba, Olivia Palermo, and Jennifer Hudson.
Lele Sadoughi resides in New York City with her husband and two young children.