BC: Tell us a little about your process: How do you come up with your designs? How do you get from the initial idea to the finished creation?
PM: Well, I go through rounds and rounds of samples, trying different fabrics, shapes, neck trims, and stitching. At first it was incredibly overwhelming; but there was a learning curve and it has become much easier over the years. We start with the fabric, experimenting with different weights and knits. Then we do lab dips for each color. I work with a sample stitcher in the Garment District to make different shapes and styles—we do a lot of experimenting. I’ll try it on or have friends try it on, and we’ll keep making adjustments until it’s perfect. The sample shop then generates a final pattern, which we use to reproduce the new style in a production run.
BC: Where do you get your inspiration from? Who are your favorite designers?
PM: I am always inspired by designers that say a lot with as little as possible. I love minimalism. Keep it simple and basic. And always take quality over quantity.
BC: What was the first thing you ever made? Do you still have it?
PM: A hot pad on a small loom for my mother’s birthday—and yes, I think she still uses it!
BC: Have you ever made anything and not liked it? Has anything ever not come out quite the way you had planned?
PM: All the time! Mistakes are part of the process. I usually wear the mistakes as pajamas.
BC: What’s your favorite way to wear bamboo tees?
PM: I personally like them loose-fitting. When I first started wearing them, I liked them more fitted, but lately I love the way the fabric drapes. In summer, I like to wear a long sleeve bamboo tee with shorts. It’s my uniform—I don’t like to think too hard about what to wear every day. Once I find an outfit that’s comfortable and looks good, I stick with it for a while.
BC: Got any tips for aspiring designers?
PM: Start small and focus on product offering. Persistence is important, but more important is being able to adapt and change direction when the something isn’t working.
BC: If you could have any celebrity, living or dead, wear your designs, who would it be and why?
PM: Bob Dylan, but probably in his early years. I love his music and his style.
Lucia Peters is BettyConfidential’s associate editor.