Hello hello, my darlings, and happy Monday!
To much surprise, I am not dead, but I have returned to “slay the game” yet again. (; That’s what I hear the kids saying nowadays, so I thought I’d be a cool kid and give it a try.
I know I took a long hiatus from The Studded Collar, and I was surprised at how much time had passed since I was last here on these pastel pages. However, as of late, I have been planning a lot of exciting new changes and even more fun content that I am beyond excited to share with you all. Eventually, I will publish an article detailing more of what has passed and what is yet to come, but until then, stay tuned for today’s exciting share.
On Friday, I had the chance to meet and interview Austin-based designer Miranda Bennett at Kick Pleat. Ms. Bennett is an Austin based fashion designer focused on sustainable fashion. All of her garments are produced here in the USA and the textiles are naturally dyed in-house. Meeting such a talented designer was such an honor and I had so much fun chatting with and getting to know her. Read on to learn more about the local designer, brand, and what keeps her inspired.
Kay B: You focus on sustainable fashion – what made you gravitate to plant dyed apparel?
Miranda Bennett: I think the main [idea] for me was reducing the toxic effects of creating apparel. The garment industry is not known for its environmental consciousness. Thankfully, recently, it has become a lot more of a focal point, and there’s been a lot more transparency in people’s production process. I mean, for me, there’s that side of it- the environmental impact – but from the aesthetic side of it, I just felt like the pigments and the colors I could get from natural dyes were really special and had a really unique quality to them. I also love that we can formulate the colors in-house and on a small scale. I think that gives us a nice advantage in terms of being a small line because we can create things that are unique to the studio that we formulate and dye ourselves.
KB: You call your pieces “seasonless” and I found that to be a term I gravitated towards more than timeless. What you define a seasonless piece to be?
MB: My thinking with that is that it’s something that you can literally wear through the seasons and year round whether it’s a matter of layering it differently or accessorizing it differently. It also, to me, indicates that it is something you are going to have season after season. So the idea is that these are like heirlooms or forever pieces so their things that you would have in your closet and draw on the following week, the following month, or the following years. It refers to a “wearablity,” but also something that you’ll have past a certain trend point or a certain season.
KB: So would you say that they’re pretty breathable and easy to layer?
MB: All of the fabrics are natural fibers, so inherently, they’re gonna be more breathable. We use primarily silk, linen and cotton.
KB: You like to say that there’s a dialogue between all the editions that you release – how do you maintain a fluid conversation between your pieces?
MB: We basically have core silhouettes that are the linchpin of the collection. What I mean by that dialogue is that with each new edition, we’re re-examining the cut and the fit of those core pieces, and we’re going to execute them in new fabrics or new color ways, or play with the proportions. That continuous dialogue means here’s the style that’s been a really well established piece of the collection- how does it react we alter the length or add a sleeve, do it in a different fabric… or even seeing it in a different colorway. But it can also inform other styles that can kind of gravitate around those core pieces, so as we introduce new silhouettes, there are definitely departures from our existing core styles.
KB: Do you like to sometimes look at the first edition and see how it has progressed to your most recent one, then examine that flow to get inspiration from that?
MB: Yeah, definitely! And that’s something that even on our Instagram- every time we share a different piece of apparel, we also reference when it was first introduced in that fabrication just to kind of hearken back to that and contextualize those pieces.
KB: Where do you get your inspiration from when you’re coming up with new editions and new pieces?
MB: The launching point is the way that a garment drapes on a woman’s body. It’s really less about having a very literal theme and more about wearablity, and drape, and ease and how something can be flattering to different body types. A starting point is pieces that we already have and kind of looking at how they’ve worked, what was successful about them. There’s definitely also those flashes of seeing a style, or shape, or color and then kind of inform that. It’s always, for me, going to go back to drape. I’m not a sketcher, I’m a draper, so for me it comes from being very hands on and seeing how something wears.
KB: Lastly, I have to ask- what is your favorite thing about fashion in Austin? It’s very quirky and different from other cities in Texas like Dallas, where I’m from.
MB: I think just the personality of people’s style. I think everyone here has a very personal approach to how they dress and carry themselves. It’s not necessarily very trend based, it’s very unique and idiosyncratic. [Also] the acceptance that comes with it- that people can dress and present themselves how they feel is appropriate to them rather than feeling like they have to have a homogeneous style or trend based style.
A big thank you to Miranda Bennett for taking some time to chat with me, and to Kick Pleat for hosting Ms. Bennett and helping get us together for the interview. We also got to vlog a bit, and that video will be up on my YouTube channel soon. (: (Yes, I have a YouTube channel! More details on that to come…)
If you want to see the garments and editions that Miranda Bennett has brought to life, feel free to visit and peruse her website.
Also, thank you to Angie for your photography skills! You guys can check out more of her photos here.
I’m so glad to be back in the blogging game, and I can’t wait to share even more with you guys! There’s more to come, and I’m so excited for what’s in store. I love you all so so much, and until next time…
Kay B. xx