10 Minutes with: MAIYET X NEIMAN MARCUS
January 19, 2016
1. This collection represents your debut at Maiyet. How has Maiyet evolved in recent seasons and what can we expect for the label’s future?
Maiyet is a relatively new brand which has evolved a great deal in 5 years. In my role as Creative Director it will continue to do so based on many different factors. Resort ’16 was my debut season, now on the floor in stores, and I am working on Fall ’16 to be presented during Fashion Week in February. Four seasons in, I am developing and refining the vocabulary, constantly learning and challenging myself to push things further. It is an exciting company to be a part of and every day is a collaborative endeavor within our team and with our artisan partners. We inspire, challenge and support one another, in our work with our artisans we strive to push the boundaries of what is possible when creatives come together with both modern and traditional skill sets. At all times we are cognizant of our brand’s mission of social responsibility and sustainability. At the core of both my design philosophy and Maiyet’s mission is a desire to build collections that transcend seasons, with pieces which can be added to and built upon layer on layer, season after season. This in itself is instilled with purpose and becomes an ongoing relationship with our customer.
2. Define the Maiyet woman.
The Maiyet woman is confident, curious, inspired, knowledgeable, innovative, socially aware, well travelled and always on the go. To me she’s sensual, playful and alluring, she doesn’t accept the status quo and might even sometimes offer small provocations to push the boundaries. She believes deeply that she can and will make a difference. She is represented by many women and so my designs appeal to many different women but also the same woman on different days. I feel in designing for the Maiyet client, I am responsible for marrying a strong creative vision with a practicality that addresses her many wardrobe needs.
3. Maiyet works with artisans across the globe. What part of the experience has been the most inspiring for you?
Maiyet is a new luxury brand. We are a brand of the 21st Century, yet we work with artisans with centuries old techniques and skills that we incorporate into a modern and changing world. It is imperative that we focus first on our designs, which encompass ready to wear, shoes, bags and jewelry. In leading with desirable product we can best fulfill our goal of creating a sustainable livelihood for our artisan partners. Design comes first and foremost for me.
I have a deep respect for, and am endlessly inspired by the skills of our partners, whether its macrame, crochet or hand-knit pieces from our partners in Bolivia, block printing by hand with our partner in India or the many more embroidery and embellishment techniques created by our partners in Mumbai. These are just a few examples. I see it as my responsibility to find modern interpretations for these techniques within a collection designed here in our New York studio. It is inspiring as well as humbling to me to be able to play a role in the preservation of these techniques and in helping ensure they are passed on to the next generation. In my work, finding a place for these techniques to exist is key. When you see a silk macrame scarf created by hand by our partners in Bolivia it emanates soulfulness. This special spirit inherent in a piece created entirely by hand can’t be replicated by industrial process. It’s a modern day heirloom. To me this is quintessential luxury.
4. While incorporating those artisan details, Maiyet is still designed, cut and sewn here in New York. Can you tell us more about the process? Walk us through the journey of one piece.
Of course, If I take for example an embroidery which appeared on Looks 19 & 20 from Resort ’16, I can walk you through the process. There is indeed a lot that goes into creating these pieces. A video is available to view on our website which also helps gives a little behind the scenes insight, https://maiyet.com/projects/hand-embroidery.
In developing these styles, many swatches are developed with our artisan partners. It’s a back and forth process between our studio in New York and our hand embroiderers in India. Our in-house embroidery designer often initiates swatches and techniques by hand but also works with our artisans to develop these special and unique embellishments in India. Along the same timeline that swatches are being developed, studies for the garments take shape through sketching and draping. We source our silk fabrics and have them dyed in our custom colors, we source buttons and lace trims from France. We work with our patternmaker to develop and fit the dress styles on our fit model. There comes a point where everything comes together, we have a final pattern for the dress, we have selected the embroideries, have created swatches where we have united the Indian embroideries with the silk and French lace trims. At this point layouts are created on the paper patterns, fabric panels are sent to India where they are embroidered and returned to us. When we receive the panels we then cut, sew and finish the final garments here in New York. In the case where we create embroidered bags or shoes, the panels are created in India, and sent to Italy where our leathergoods are created.
5. What do you want people to appreciate the most about the pieces you create?
For people to covet our designs and to want to have them in their lives. Subsequently, I would love for our customers to understand how much love, effort and collaboration has gone into the creation of these pieces and to cherish them even more as result of that knowledge. Our company is built on a respectful and sustainable model. We strive to bring prosperity to our partners, to preserve their crafts and to build a brand which proves there is another way to deliver luxury product in a way which actually can make a difference. We do this is via our Fair Cashmere by Maiyet. This is a program in partnership with the Gobi Revival Fund who aid a co-operative of cashmere goat herders in Mongolia. We assist by inoculating their herds to prevent illness and loss. We offer a fair price for the raw cashmere fibre which is then spun at a facility which is ecologically certified. The yarn is dyed using dyes which are not harmful to the environment. This yarn is 100% certified cradle to cradle. We utilize this cashmere yarn to create a collection of cashmere knitwear styles which speak for themselves in regards to their luxurious quality. We also offer it to our industry peers to develop within their collections. Desirable clothing which not only looks good, feels good on the body but makes the wearer feel better about how it was created. Isn’t this the ultimate in feel good luxury fashion?