The Road to Fashion Success
Catching Up with STLFW Project: Design! Winner Miita
Since winning Project: Design!, Saint Louis Fashion Week’s fall 2013 emerging designer competition, life has been a fashion-packed whirlwind for Angela Brugioni and Kristen Carsrud, the New York-based design duo that is Miita. Besides having multiple design dreams become reality (they’ve been featured in numerous high-fashion publications, talked shop with New York Fashion Week creator Fern Mallis and are currently being courted by a number of stylists), they’ve also made good use of their Project: Design! winnings—a game-changing $30,000-plus award presented to Miita by Saint Louis Fashion Fund’s Adopt-A-Designer Program. The noteworthy prize has not only elevated both the status and the confidence of the design team but has also enabled the label to elevate its brand in ways that only substantial funding and savvy mentorship can.
On the mentorship front, Brugioni credits a number of supporters for helping Miita gain footing, but she has a special level of gratitude for tech phenoms Reshma Chattaram Chamberlin and Elizabeth Buchanan, who have not only been instrumental in designing the label’s website (miitacollection.com), but have also played a crucial role in helping the designers define their brand’s visual aesthetic. “As a startup, you know who you want to be but not necessarily who you are,” says Brugioni. Having an outside perspective to help define their identity as a label (clean, fresh, streamlined) and present that identity in a cohesive manner has been invaluable.
The duo has also been fortunate in terms of funding. In addition to a recent successful Kickstarter campaign, which raised more than $10,000, the Project: Design! winnings have allowed Brugioni and Carsrud to put every dime back into their line. The designers recognize that with such support also comes great responsibility and have undoubtedly felt the weight of living up to the award’s expectations and handling their burgeoning resources with care.
One of the toughest decisions so far has been whether to begin the immense task of producing a complete collection or focus more on e-commerce and streamlining the brand. The label’s practical solution falls somewhere in between and is a modern approach to both design and business. On the immediate horizon, launching this month is the brand-new, shopable website, complete with style content and the label’s own editorial take on fashion as a lifestyle.
Adding to the excitement of the web relaunch is the debut of Miita’s newest collection, which is also innovative in structure. The premier line will consist of a selection of basics-with-a-twist, Miita-style, all with fabulous price points. Every month thereafter Miita will unveil a micro-collection of special, limited-edition pieces based on specific themes and inspiration. For example, October will offer a veritable ’90s revival inspired by iconic fashion figures such as Kate Moss and Christy Turlington. Fans of the label can look forward to boyish minimalism with a ton of hardware and a slight nod to grunge—a reasonable reward for those who don’t mind waiting just a little longer for a highly anticipated line that, so far, has proven to be well worth the wait.
Miita at Project: Design! 2013
Miita at Project: Design! 2013. Photo by Angela Vincent.
Photo credit: Angela Vincent