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Dress smart with Myrrhia Fine Knitwear

Polka Lace Dress. Myrrhia Fine Kniwear Spring 2014.
Polka Lace Dress. Myrrhia Fine Kniwear Spring 2014.
Photo Credit: Jenny Villarete, used with permission.

Oakland, California based Myrrhia Fine Knitwear gives the fashion community "food for thought" with her latest sustainable wares. Owner and Designer, Myrrhia Resnick, always utilizes a no-waste production process, sustainable, organic fibers, and a gripping, inspirational story behind each and every season's message. The style of her line can be described as easy-breezy, comfortable, chic, and luxurious...a combination of adjectives that one may not always see come together with such skill and grace.

Photo Credit: Jenny Villarete, Used with Permission
Photo Credit: Jenny Villarete, Used with Permission

Exploring the subversive side of human expression, the Myrrhia Fine Knitwear Spring/Summer 2014 collection evokes an empowered, authoritative attitude. Soft and edgy combinations include naturally dyed 100% silk charmuse slips and camis, tailored moto jackets, structured pyramid skirts, infiniti scarfs, sheath dresses, polka dot knit tops and spikey clutches. A radical color palette of strong gold, brown, steel and black engage with tranquil greens, blues, and beiges. Consciously created in a no-waste process from fibers grown and spun in the USA, Spring/Summer 2014 integrates California-grown, organic cotton by Foxfiber® and Lenzing Tencel®– an eco-friendly, high performance material that is naturally hygienic and silky soft on the skin.

This season you have utilized locally sourced fabrics from Brooks, California and sustainable tencel made from eucalyptus trees. What is your process when seeking fabrics and how can other designers source local and sustainable fabrics for their lines no matter what their location is?

I start by looking for yarn mills based in the United States. There are lots of small mills here making great yarns out of natural fibers. Part of the reason that I can create such a sustainable and pure line is that I make my own fabric while I make the garment. I have been researching US­based textile manufacturing and yarn mills since 2009. My business network knows what I am looking for, and know that I am willing to share my knowledge, so they are willing to share theirs.

As for how other designers can find sustainable materials, all I can say is that the information is out there if you make the commitment, get on the internet, telephone, email, and start talking to people. Fibershed, local fiber production networks, are sprouting up all over the world. Join one and see what they have to offer. Also, you have to design in a different way. You start with the materials you want to use, then you design for those materials rather than trying to shoe­horn your materials to your design.

Your inspiration for Spring 2014 has a powerful message. Can you explain?

Dilma Rouseff, the President of Brazil, was my inspiration. She was a Marxist urban guerilla fighting the military dictatorship in her youth. She was on the edges, a rebel, then she became leader of the entire country, at the center of mainstream politics. I made designs that were lady­like, professional, and conservative that have these edgy, creative details. It's what I am always trying to do.

How do you take an inspiration like this and actually translate it into the details of your designs?

I just focus on the people I know and what I think they would like to wear, what would look good on them, what they need, and what would be fun to make. There isn't any translation. The idea and the design happen simultaneously. I look at my yarn, I design some fabrics, then I start coming up with garment shapes.

You also offer custom design services to your clients including occasion pieces such as bridal gowns. What steps do you take with a custom client to really understand their needs?

Communication is one of my strongest skills, but even after long conversations, sometimes the customer doesn't even know what they want. Or what they think they want isn't what they really want. Custom work is my biggest challenge, but it is also incredibly rewarding because I am making something so special that is exactly what they customer wanted.

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