Designer Marcia Patmos is the creative force behind M.Patmos, a New York-based ready-to-wear line launched in 2011. With her namesake line, Patmos, the co-founder of cashmere brand Lutz & Patmos, showcases her knowledge of woven techniques with a lineup featuring tailored knitwear staples and sustainable, eco-friendly practices. In 2011, M.Patmos was awarded the prestigious Ecco Domani Fashion Fund Award and this year, the line became a two-time finalist for the Woolmark Prize.
Congrats on your new website – how’s it going?
Thank you! It has been an exciting process, and we are really happy with the end result. We are getting really nice feedback on the site from people we admire, and that is great!
Can you tell us a bit about the “stories” section? How often is it updated? Would you equate it to a blog?
The Stories section is like a blog. We wanted to create a visual representation of the world of M.PATMOS. While it is a feed of images, we are trying to consistently come up with content to feature on the blog. For example, we recently collaborated with the photographer Dan McMahon on a “behind-the-scenes” photo shoot. He took really amazing photos, and we want to use them to tell stories about the M.PATMOS lifestyle and also the different things we do in the company to make it what it is.
How would you describe the image you are trying to develop?
At the core, M.PATMOS favors the combination of function and luxury. This is something we want reflected in everything we do. Ultimately, we aren’t a clothing line that focuses on trends. We understand the ever-evolving nature of fashion, but we want to create a brand that is wearable and incredibly beautiful.
You have truly mastered the art of wearability – do you feel your previous collection Lutz and Patmos prepared you for this?
Wearability has always been something incredibly important in my own personal wardrobe and design ethos. My love of knitwear was a big part of what started my former line and has continued in the M.PATMOS collection.
In what way are the collections similar or different?
Both collections feature chic, luxurious clothing designed to be integrated into your wardrobe as must-have essentials that you keep for years to come.
You just added t-shirts to your collection – is there any limit to the fabrics you can work with?
As a designer, I am able and interested in working with all kinds of materials. Cut and sew knits are a natural addition to my line, which is for great layering pieces. In terms of limits, I am open and always looking at new things, but prefer to work with natural fibers. I love working with mixed materials, such as leather with knit.
Living in Brooklyn and working in the city, what are the most obvious differences you see in street style?
The citizens of both boroughs love stylish and artful layering, but the difference is in the pieces they choose for themselves. Brooklyn has a lighter, more casual take on fashion, whereas I think Manhattan will always be more serious, with a bit of edginess and refined uptown style.
Can you tell us about your commitment to the sustainable fashion movement?
It is definitely important to me, both in my personal life and for M.PATMOS. About 30 percent of the collection is “sustainable.” We work with master artisans in Nepal and Bolivia to make special knit and woven scarves and sweaters. I am always researching new technologies and options in this arena. Mills are always developing new items in this realm, as there is an increasing demand from designers. We recently discovered a fantastic recycled wool coating fabric that we are using for fall production. I have also discovered some other cool things we are working on for our Woolmark project – to be unveiled later!
How has your development process for new collections changed as you’ve incorporated more and more ethical practices into your business?
I have been using approximately the same percentage of practices since I started my business and have learned that these special efforts sometimes take extra time in developing. I have also learned that it is better to work within the range of artisan expertise and local materials, etc. Customers really care about this type of thing in some cases and not in others – using fairly paid artisans with luxurious and fine materials obviously has a cost associated with it, so the product needs to look very special. Generally, the sustainable angle shouldn’t be the only selling point for a garment; it has to be an added bonus.
M. Patmos is being honored again this year as a finalist for the Woolmark Prize. What do these design awards and recognitions mean to you?
It is such an honor to be a finalist for the International Woolmark Prize and I am thrilled to be in such esteemed company. Being a part of a competition like this pushes me to think outside of the box, and expand upon my knowledge of design even more. Thinking this way helps me learn new ways to approach my collection as I design for a new season. It is a lot of extra work, but learning new things and trying new techniques is what makes it really amazing.