Marrying Beauty and Grit - Amalya Meira
How did you get into fashion?
I’ve always loved it - I was lucky enough to have an artist mother and engineer father so I grew up doing rubbings on trees, collecting seashells and being told of “the wonders of the universe”- naturally gravitating towards the textured and colorful. Early on I understood fashion to be the most accessible form of art - a great opportunity to have creativity and thoughtfulness in every corner of life.
Describe your aesthetic in three words
Beauty married grit.
As a designer, what are your main influences?
Nature, the mundane, visual humor, neglected beauty. I just went to Havana, that was hugely inspiring with all the ornate architecture covered in peeling pastel paint.
Tell us about your most recent collection
I began Chambre while on an embroidery residency in Oaxaca, MX, so it was largely informed/inspired by that new skill set as well as the amazing surroundings I found myself in. I chose to work in the traditional textile of cotton, but specifically cotton Organdy. I love how Organdy tows this line between delicate, in that it is sheer, and strong since it’s such a crisp, stiff fabric. The transparency really lent itself to highlighting embroidery. I also sun printed (cyanotype) some Organdy while there, which was an amazing (and fast!) experience since the sun was so incredibly strong! Once back in New York It was interesting to then create garments with these textiles I’d created in Mexico-the melding of this natural, rural environment with the Urban included many blunt silhouettes and contrasting oversized zippers. I then paired these cotton pieces with sun printed silks I’d had in the works before my trip. Similar construction techniques and color story served as the common thread in a nicely nuanced way. I love creating site-specific collections, it really helps to keep my ideas fresh and also process new experiences.
Do you have a favourite piece in this collection?
I love it all; each piece is always a huge process. The shoot was interesting because it was the first time I used more than one model. My favorite shot is definitely the boy band one of all four models (all very close friends) in matching sun dyed silk.
What are you currently working on?
At the moment I and simultaneously creating versions of the silk Fari and Shada Tops from Chambre to be sold in boutiques in New York-they’re so fun and easy for this hot NY summer! I am also building a new collection that I plan to debut at Paris fashion week in a pop up with Brooklyn’s Line and Label at Dante & Maria Boutique- expect oversized sun print sheer jackets with embossed leather inserts, slinky knits and block print silk shift dresses!
What can we expect from Amalya Meira over the next few seasons?
I am getting more and more interested in the silk patch work top stitch technique I developed making the Shada/Fari Tops and have recently been exploring how this might lend itself to things like wrap dresses and maxi dresses. It is a great way to compliment the female form without being super tight since each piece of fabric is on a different grain line and draped directly on the dress form-this creates a flowing, fluid fit. They are also very fun to create- it’s a very intuitive, jazzy process! This will most likely continue to be the way I work with my hand dyed and repurposed silks. I am also looking more to unisex work-which is what informed the jackets in my next collection-moving away from the body and creating volume with layers. This August I have been invited to participate in Art 77 residency in Vermont, so I expect this next collection to be inspired by whatever vintage textiles and local greenery I’ll find there!