Marcia Patmos is a designer and founder of Brooklyn-based fashion and lifestyle brand, M.Patmos. In addition to being wildly talented, she's a master community builder and one of the most generous creatives around - continually supporting and lifting up other women in business - including us! It's a privilege to sit down with Marcia to share a bit of her story and celebrate how she's making the world a more beautiful and connected place.
You studied at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). Did you always know you wanted to be a fashion designer?
I kind of did. At a young age (like 3 or 4), I was making clothes for my dolls sans needle + thread (i.e. my mom only allowed me to use tape!). I grew up in an environment that was creative in many ways, but far away from the design world - so I didn’t really know about other options, like industrial design or graphic design - but I kind of always knew I’d do something creative.
You’re conscious in sourcing materials and committed to zero-waste practices. What’s influenced your creative path in this area?
I grew up thinking this way. My grandparents lived through the end of The Great Depression and World War II rationing (my grandfather was an Army doctor who was stationed in The Philippines during that time period). My Grandmother made almost all of our clothing and never threw away a scrap of cloth or food.
When I helped my father clear out her house after she passed, I was in charge of the 2 very long cubbies stored in their a-frame cottage in Kalamazoo, Michigan. It was like going into a time capsule. We found tax records from 1932! My Grandmother kept it all - including an amazing collection of jazz, classical, and opera albums that I have in my home now. I wish I’d been able to keep more.
How do you navigate the world of sustainable design in an industry that wants ‘new’?
I try my best to design an edited collection of pieces that will last for years while still feeling new.
What pieces do you love most in your collection?
That’s a hard question - lol - because of course I love it all.
RIGHT NOW, I am really into: The Mila Cardigan, The Foster Shirt, The Riverside Pants, The Sana Coat, The Ryan Scarf.
M.Patmos Mila Cardigan
M.Patmos Riverside Pant
How would you describe your style? Has it evolved?
I would say it is kind of casually pulled together - “classic with a twist” maybe. I tend to dress within a few color stories, depending on my mood (navy, indigo, olive, black, white, ecru, nude pink) and what’s clean, lol. I go for low key and simple - pants or trousers - with some personal elements thrown in. I literally have things I’ve had for 20+ years mixed in with newer items, which is how I think it should be.
You’ve collaborated with Manolo Blahnik (is that true??), have been awarded prestigious awards, all while staying deeply grounded. How do you maintain your sense of self through all the ups and downs of creating your own line?
Yeah, it’s true - we designed the first sustainable shoes with Manolo. They were really cool. To stay grounded, I try to keep on track with my yoga routine, walking, eating healthy which means mostly cooking / eating at home and also on time (it’s easy to get off track in your day and not eat properly…), getting enough sleep, taking nature breaks, seeing art, staying in touch with friends / family…..
You’re the ultimate connector - amazing at maintaining relationships and building community. What’s your secret?
I do a lot of trunk shows, pop-ups, events, social media features with vendors and brands we carry. I’m also on a lot of committees in our Brooklyn neighborhood. With online customers, I personally reply to customer service emails and try to stay connected to what people are gravitating towards, what they like… In the store, I love helping people find outfits that make them stand up straight and it makes me so happy when they ask if they can wear it out, which actually happens a lot!
I think all these little things help bring people together and build connections.
Totally - and thankfully we’ve been part of the mix. You’ve brought in our beans alongside jewelry, clothing, and accessories. We love this, of course! Are you a self-proclaimed bean fan?
I’m 99% vegetarian / vegan and I do love beans - for the taste and also for their protein value. I love Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Indian, Ethiopian food because it is full of beans and veggies and tasty spices:)
I recently had an impromptu dinner party with some of my best friends who live nearby, inspired by Beanstory White Runner Beans! I used whatever I had left in the fridge to make a zero-waste meal! It’s so nice to be able to talk in a small group and also hear each other (I love restaurants, but it can be so loud lol). It was a great night and I’m going to try to keep it up and do that regularly this winter.
Talking about more down-time, if we gave you one free day, how would you spend it?
It would be a combination of walking in nature and soaking up art / culture. I’d start my day with some coffee. Then do some yoga, maybe look at some nice art books. Go to the Farmer’s Market. Have a big walk in the park or botanical garden. Head to a museum or gallery. Visit some shops. I’d cook. And play cards. That would do it.
Lovely. Thanks, Marcia! (We’ll have what she’s having:)) And, try Marcia’s Kitchen-Sink Brothy Beans recipe. Take her lead, and make an evening out of it with friends! And visit Marcia and team at 358 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, NY, 11217 or visit M.Patmos online.