We are thrilled to welcome Marcia Patmos of M. Patmos to our blog today. After years of working collaboratively within the fashion industry, Marcia has used her collected experience to create a collection so perfectly fitting and true to herself. Focused on incorporating the most ethical, eco-conscious production methods possible, Marcia welcomes the creative challenges that working smaller and locally pose. Elegant, fine-tuned, practical, and functional, it is no wonder that M. Patmos is quickly becoming both our staff and customers' favorite this season. Thanks, Marcia!
ET: You have a background in cashmere production through your first company, Lutz & Patmos, but we'd love to hear more about how you got started. What was the initial draw to cashmere/knitwear?
MP: I really learned about knitwear working for Barneys on a line called BASCO (Barneys American Sportswear Company) back in the mid 90s - it was sold at Barneys and also Isetan, Holt Renfrew, etc. It was kind of modern take on vintage inspiration. The creative director was Lance Karesh, who had this massive collection of amazing vintage sweaters (and other items) in Barneys warehouse.
I really like the technical aspect of it. I love wovens and cut-and-sew, too. With sweaters, you can completely create a custom garment in a different way than you could with a tailored garment. I am really drawn to textiles, textile design, pattern, and texture, and sweaters are a great way to play with these elements.
Tina and I worked together at BASCO, and after stints in the corporate world, decided to do something together. We did a lot of research and felt there was a gap in the market for really great, modern cashmere. At that time, you could kind of only get "dusty" feeling, old-lady twinsets at department stores. (Juicy and J. Crew and all of those brands hadn't freshened it up yet with zip hoodies, etc.).
When I started my own brand, I kept going with the knitwear because I love it, but I have also added a lot more in terms of wovens- both handwoven artisan textiles and simple, easy, tailored pieces.
ET: M. Patmos has been internationally recognized for using the most eco-conscious production methods as possible. Can you tell us more about some specific ways that you ensure your collection has been intentionally created with environmental impacts in mind?
MP: I really try to use the materials available in the area of production as much as possible, for so many reasons: less fuel wasted shipping, less time wasted, less money spent shipping, production usually works best when facility is familiar with materials, I can easily source them or always keeps them on hand... One has to be a drop more creative with what you have available in one place in some cases, if you don't want to import extra materials.
Because in past seasons I was ordering more outside materials, I am on a mission right now to up-cycle all of the leftover fabric and yarn we have at different factories into new items. It is fun problem solving design projects. I also only use high-quality natural fibers - merino wool, cashmere, cotton, silk, alpaca, leather, etc. I want garments to be kept and worn and loved and lived with for years and years. I am not trying to create throwaway fashion - it is so wasteful and that cheap fashion cycle is problematic for so many reasons.
ET: We have noticed the growing concern from our customers in supporting brands and designers with the most ethical production methods. What advice would you give to those not familiar with production processes to ensure that they're truly buying fro people committed to the cause?
MP: Most designers have websites and social media outlets these days, and the ones who are committed to this generally mention it (I will admit that we could do a better job of advertising this aspect but as you know, there is always so much to do - we often don't have time to write blog posts, etc).
ET: Where do you turn for inspiration, and who are some of your favorite artists/makers?
MP: Nature is a constant source of inspiration...color, pattern, texture.
Art/design/architecture for shape, combinations, and color. NYC (as well as other places I visit) is ever-changing and full of construction and layers of buildings and texture.
ET: What are 5 things you could not live without?
MP: Coffee, chickpeas, greens, my husband, and my green ring my grandmother gave me around the time I went to college. It belonged to her sister Edna, and the way she gave it to me was like angel was watching over me if I wore it. I have worn it every day since then. I almost lost it snorkeling in Belize because the water was so cold, my fingers shrank and it slid off and in slow motion and almost disappeared into some coral. Thankfully I snatched it in time!
If I can add a few more things...yoga, good walking shoes (I have great slip-on leather ones from Feit that I live in), and M.Patmos super lightweight cashmere woven scarves from Nepal.
ET: What are you most excited about from your upcoming spring collection?
MP: I love the new custom woven pieces we developed in Peru using the same yarns we also knit with. We used 4-5 different tonal yarns in the weaving to create a subtle pattern, with an open and textured surface that is really nice for warmer weather