Many designers declare themselves "bi-coastal" in spirit, but few have as legitimate a claim on the title as Mary Meyer, who first started producing her printed tees and dresses in San Francisco's Bay Area before shipping off to New York City in 2006. A trained painter, Mary's eponymous collection is known for its quirky hand-painted jersey separates, which are equal parts 1980's skate-punk and casual chic. We caught up with the designer to see how her style and business sense has evolved over the years, and to get the full scoop on the public studio and shopping space she'll open in Bushwick this summer.
Thread NY: You're a true bi-coastal designer, having produced clothes in both California and New York City. How do you think your west coast background is reflected in the collection?
Mary Meyer: The West Coast is all about layers, especially the Bay Area, so the whole element of layering that you find throughout my collection is straight from there. My early upbringing was on the Venice Beach boardwalk and the print influence of surfer and skater culture, as well as '80s graphic tees, can easily be traced to that.
Has the line changed since its early days in California? How?
What's the best thing about living and working in Brooklyn?
I think the immediacy of life here, out here you can have an idea, collaborate with someone and have something to show for it easily within a week. Out west, people are more laid back, which is nice, but it also has less productive energy. New York City is a also hard place to live, it's a place that pushes you and so the fact that you have to toughen up here makes a person stronger.
You're opening a new showroom in Bushwick this summer. Tell us how the idea evolved and what you hope the brand will gain from the new space.
That it is so much harder then I ever could have thought, but that the most important thing is having a clear vision of what you want to do and then just taking the steps that you need to do to make it happen.