Those who have followed fashion designer, Marcia Patmos, know she’s no stranger to sumptuous fabrics, stemming back to her days as co-founder of cashmere brand, Lutz & Patmos. In 2011, when Marcia went out on her own to start her eponymous label M.PATMOS, she brought her knowledge of luxurious materials along with her. Today, her New York-based brand is thriving. A little Brooklyn and a little Upper East Side, the collection is much more than just cozy knitwear with perfect everyday ‘basics’ and standout statement styles. Her outerwear designs are out of this world, with the chicest of furs and tailored coats.
Her silhouettes are timeless and the collection is as classic as it gets while still managing to feel fresh and modern and incorporate unexpected details – so basically, it’s hard not to want every piece, every season. Shots of color and modern shapes aren’t the only tricks up Marcia’s stylish sleeves. Reversible coats, tops and dresses make Marcia’s designs as versatile as they are refined. The Boerum Hill Brookynite also considers local manufacturing and conscious design, with portions of each collection being made in the USA and sustainable.
But don’t just take our word for it – Marcia has received a long list of notable accolades. In 2011, she was awarded the Ecco Domani Fashion Fund Award, then recognized by the CFDA/Lexus Eco-Fashion Challenge in 2012. Fast Company named M.PATMOS one of the “top 50 most innovative fashion companies in the world,” and just this year, she won the prestigious 2014/2015 US Woolmark Prize. Others who’ve recognized Marcia’s talent include Manolo Blahnik, who collaborated with Marcia on a multi-season capsule collection of footwear, and Club Monaco, who tapped Marcia as one of their muses, continuing to work with the designer on an ongoing basis.
We met up with Marcia at her friend Justine Lynch’s new healing sanctuary in Brooklyn – an ideal setting given Marcia’s penchant for yoga and organic living. We caught up over tea and gluten-free almond butter filled cookies and here are some things she had to say:
WATS:You’ve traveled the world for your craft – throughout the US, to Europe and Asia. In which city have you found yourself most inspired?
M: I have recently been to Shanghai, mostly for business, but I tagged on time to explore as well. The city has an incredible mixture of old and new. There is such rapid development that it is scary and exciting at the same time. The French Concession area is so charming and quaint and fun to explore.
Two of my favorite places to travel to are Buenos Aires and Tokyo. Buenos Aires is Paris meets Mexico City, it is grand and European, but grittier and more rustic. Tokyo is incredible and inspiring in so many ways; I love the feeling that there is always tradition balanced with experimentation in aesthetics – from food to architecture.
For shorter distances, I like going upstate, or to the nearby coast to take a nature break and to visit friends and family.
Is it challenging to incorporate eco-conscious materials in your collection while maintaining your signature luxe factor?
M: I think of it as less of a challenge and more of an element of design within the collection. We have found such great suppliers to work with and have established nice ways of incorporating eco-conscious materials and sustainable practices into the line. I think that currently, artisanal and hand-made items define the luxury goods market in many ways, which makes the work we are doing more relevant than ever. The key is keeping the pieces modern and chic.
Your color palette is something that stands out in each of your collections as you seamlessly mix neutrals and statement hues. Where do your color inspirations typically come from?
M: Everywhere. New York City is so full of color inspiration. I especially like construction sites, finding the occasional pop of an orange construction fence or a bright blue tarp amid the overall neutral tones. Textiles and folk art from other cultures often use colors in ways that are different and exciting to me. Art always inspires as well, so visiting galleries and museums is an integral part of creating a color palette.
What are some of your favorite things, as well as some of the challenges, behind designing your own label?
M: I always enjoy the problem solving aspects of design. For example, if we are working on a piece that we want to be reversible, there are various elements that need to be worked on to make that piece both beautiful and functional. Problem solving is pretty much the key to running a small business as well ; )
Despite your crazy schedule and long hours, you still take time to take care of yourself. How do you manage to incorporate wellness into your daily routine?
M: I always have a green juice and healthy snacks with me. I incorporate yoga, biking, kickboxing, walking, hiking into my week and make sure to try to add sleeping and relaxing on weekends into my schedule. Once you prioritize these things, it becomes part of the routine. Feeling good and energized is essential to keeping it all going.
What are some of your favorite local Brooklyn haunts?
M: I like The Annex in Fort Greene for coffee, Fort Grey and Bird for browsing/shopping. BAM Rose Cinemas is my favorite place to see a movie. If I want healthy food, I like Sun in Bloom in Park Slope or Mountain in Crown Heights. The best Middle Eastern food is at Damascus and Sahadi’s on Atlantic Avenue. Henry Public has a turkey leg sandwich that is amazing. Rucola is one of my favorite restaurants and it’s right across the street from my home. Ferdinando’s Focacceria in Red Hook is great, old school Brooklyn Sicilian restaurant – worth a visit for the arancia (rice balls).
If you were asked to recommend one signature M.PATMOS design to a customer, which must-have would it be?
M: It is hard to choose, but if we are looking at knitwear, then definitely our Cashmere Boyfriend Sweater or the Cashmere Birdseye Stripe Sweater. You can’t go wrong with slouchy cashmere! The Deluxe Grandpa Cardigan is all in the details: suede patches, placket and buttons in a super luxe knit loop terry. We also using a lot of Italian doublefaced fabric, like for one of my favorite Fall pieces, the Reversible Tailored Coat.
How do you get into the zone when designing a new collection?
M: It is important that I clear my head beforehand. Seeing a movie, taking a yoga class or going on a bike ride are all really great for this. Then I start by looking at things for inspiration: going to galleries, taking in some nature or just walking around the city.
You’ve worked on some pretty high profile collaborations. What would be your dream collaboration?
M: I have been really interested in doing a deluxe home goods or textiles collaboration. I have also been dying to do men’s again.
What can we expect to see from M.PATMOS this winter?
M:There is a new M.PATMOS for Club Monaco capsule that just hit the stores – super luxe and amazing – chunky cashmere, shearling, South American merino hand knits and more. Our Resort 15 collection will be in stores in November. We worked our signature designs in a more neutral and muted pastel palette. There will be some great new handmade baby alpaca, patchwork fur and easy draped tailored pieces (made in the USA) on our website. Then, for Spring 15, we have an exciting collaboration with Ryan McGinness! So there is a lot coming up!
And Lastly Marcia, What is…
Something you Love:
Something you Hate:
Something you Fear:
Something you Learned:
Something you Want:
Who is your “She’s Something”
Can You Draw Us Something?
Photos | Meredith Eves Flynn