We were introduced to the charming, stylish and creative Miriam a few months ago via a mutual close friend. Immediately, we were struck by how easy Miriam is to get to know, and how open and collaborative she is. We fell in love with Miriam’s rainwear collection, Clear Coated, and equally fell in love with Miriam! She graciously provided us with an insider view on her inspiration, fashion must-haves, and what a day-in-the-life of a fashion entrepreneur looks like!
SEWN: What inspired you to focus on rainwear? Did you work on other projects before honing in on stylish rainwear?
Miriam: “Having lived in Seattle most of my life, I face the rainy weather quite often. I found that many times I’d have this well-planned outfit on and I would go to leave the house and it’d be raining out so would then have to put on a coat that would hide and not necessarily match my outfit. I wanted to created something that would showcase personal style and go with many different outfits. Something that would make you excited for the rain. I have worked for other companies, where I designed for the active categories (i.e. board shorts, snow fleece, and balaclavas/neck gaiters) so I tend to keep a focus on functionality. Clear Coated began as my final project in design school though, so it has pretty much been my main focus in regards to personal projects.”
SEWN: Who are your style icons, and what do you love about them?
Miriam: “My style is always evolving, depending on my mood or where I’m at in that moment or in life so I have many style icons and am likely leaving someone out here… For the more classic look- Gene Tierney and Audrey Hepburn. Speaking of Hepburns, of course Katharine as well for her androgynous vibes. Love Rita Hayworth and Marlene Dietrich for their glam styles. Brigitte Bardot for being sexy yet casual. Twiggy for her Mod ’60’s influence. Debby Harry for her mix of ’70s glam and punk rock. As for style icons today, there is not a particular icon I have, which may be a result of the internet, there is so much influx of images and articles on fashion/style. There are many blogs and magazines, etc that I take bits of inspiration from. I do tend to love the streetwear styles out of Europe, there is this ease with edginess which creates a fun and effortless unique style for example that of Mira Duma, Eleanora Carisi, Chiara Totire and Erica Pelosini.”
SEWN: What is it like to be a fashion entrepreneur? The ups, the downs, and everything in between?
Miriam: “This is a new venture to me- the entrepreneurial part of it. It is overwhelming at times, you never get to leave your work and the pile of things to do never diminishes. But for me that creates a flow of constant brainstorming, learning, inspiration and evolution which I love. And at the same time it is a challenge to find the balance between work and play. My work is also my play but sometimes you have to separate them. It is a very exciting and challenging process.”
SEWN: How do you source your fabrics?
Miriam: “I find my fabrics from various sources in the US. I try to keep my products as domestic as possible. Some of the materials are produced overseas but I always purchase from US sources.”
SEWN: What does a typical day look like for you?
Miriam: “I don’t know what a typical day is anymore, haha. I enjoy that though; I am not one for much routine. It depends on what I have coming up with events, markets, meetings, photoshoots, etc. If I am working from home that means I am sewing or pattern making. When I have computer work to do (CAD sketching, tech packs, label/logo design, marketing, emailing and so on) I usually try to get out of the house and go to a coffee shop or the library to work. Sometimes I am selling at Pike Place Market. Other times I am meeting with other artists, entrepreneurs, small business owners on collaborations. It is also important for me to save time to find inspiration, whether it’s window shopping or perusing the internet or even just getting outside and exercising. Everyday I am learning A LOT, since this is a new venture for me.”
SEWN: What are your closet staples? Must-haves for the spring?
Miriam: “Well, of course my Clear Coated rain coat ;). I am particularly into wearing the Maude style these days. I also always have my Clear Coated clutch. I have a pair of Dolce Vita slip-ons that are girly, sporty and comfy. High waisted Levis. An oversized jean button-up that I recently got really into putting sentimental pins all over the chest pocket (pins from grandmas or past adventures), it adds a playfulness and memories of fun times and loved ones. And I have the shiniest gold Oleg Cassini top I found at a garage sale which is my current go-to party shirt.”
SEWN: How would you describe your personal style?
Miriam: “Classic undertones, hints of vintage/retro, playful. I am an active person so there’s often a hint of sporty as well. It depends on where I am going or what I am doing- I love putting together outfits that work during the day and into the night. If you ask most of my friends- they say I have an ability to wear things people usually wouldn’t get away with- aka “different”. I think they are referring to my aptitude for wearing either grandma-style pieces and/or something straight up from 3rd grade (1991;). For me, there is a nostalgia with certain clothes that make them irresistible to wear.”
SEWN: What items can you absolutely not live without?
Miriam: “High waisted pants and crop tops. Tops that sparkle. Sweaters from Grandmas. My dad’s shirts from the ’70s. Comfortable yet stylish shoes.”
– Candice Stewart, SEWN Founder