INTERVIEW: Marcia Patmos On Sustainability, Tech And Zero Waste For Fall 14

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Marcia Patmos, the designer of M.Patmos, talks about sustainability, zero waste technologies and her favorite ethical piece from Fall ’14.

Brittany Adams of Style.com writes of M. Patmos’ Fall 14 collection:

“Few do quality basics with a preppy twist better than Marcia Patmos. Her M.Patmos line is a go-to source for knitwear staples like the perfect striped cardigan or a soft heathered hoodie, but it’s the designer’s continued explorations of masculine tailoring, cut and sew techniques, and creative styling ideas that drive the conversation each season. For Fall, Patmos envisioned a ‘futuristic memory of New York City in the thirties.’ She evoked the Chrysler Building glittering in the nighttime skyline by embellishing simple crewnecks with a magpie assortment of studs, jewels, and decorative threadwork. Elsewhere, Patmos emphasized “structured volume” with cocoon-ish varsity jackets and a handful of wide-leg trousers cut from either soft burgundy leather or heavy Italian twill (the latter was shown with a matching coat that converts into a cape).”

What mainstream magazines rarely focus on is M. Patmos’ nod to sustainability, upcycling, use of artisans and push for zero waste. We caught up with her to ask the questions others will not and just why they don’t promote sustainability as a main focus of the brand. Here’s what Marcia Patmos had to say:

M. Patmos seasonally incorporates a sustainability angle without screaming sustainability.

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Hand knit chunky knit sweater handmade in Bolivia by female artisans collective

How much of a sustainable story should be told?

I work every season with luxury artisan groups in Nepal and Bolivia, using local materials, such as cashmere and baby alpaca. I always design with longevity and multipurpose/function in mind, using high quality materials sourced as locally as possible to the factory that is making them.

Are you exploring more zero waste technologies or design moving forward?

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Delicate Mesh Collage Cardigan, crafted on a whole garment knitting machine

Yes, I am always looking out for new technologies. I work every season with a zero waste factory in New Jersey. I also try to think of styles that use up leftover fabric. For instance, we just did a special run of shopper style tote bags upcycling leftover production fabric. I also stay away from certain materials or process because they are not good for the world.

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How important is it for designers to look at their collections as a means of expressing support for women or artisans or environment?

I personally think it is very important. A lot of other designers and companies do too. This type of support seems to come more from individuals and smaller, indie businesses but it is present and much more visible and impactful in more outspoken and directional larger companies, like Donna Karan, MONIQUE PÉAN, Kenneth Cole, Tory Burch, DVF. The CFDA (along with Vogue and other publications and partners) have also been doing a lot for all of this.

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MONIQUE PÉAN

Do you see modern luxury more a reflection of better craftsmanship?

Yes. I think people are gaining appreciation for well designed and high quality items – especially in more timeless lifestyle areas of furniture, home items, accessories, jewelry and high quality modern classic clothing.

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Your favorite (ethical/sustainable) piece from Fall 14 and why?

The Marcia Optical Frames we collaborated on with Selima Optique because they are just amazing. The material is incredible to touch and look at. They are hand carved in France and have a great weight when you try them on and they look good on everyone that I have seen try them on so far.

To see the entire M. Patmos Fall 14 collection, go here.

Lead image: Herringbone Plaid Poncho Cardigan, hand woven and hand knit by female artisans in Bolivia