Right before the pandemic, New York-based designer Mia Vesper (@mia.vesper) was on the verge of throwing in the towel. Today, the 31-year-old fashion designer has a large celebrity clientele that includes Beyoncé, Billie Eilish and Halsey, as well as a one-of-a-kind namesake fashion brand filled with her signature metallic plissé garments, and pieces made from stunning upcycled tapestries.
Vesper’s clothes are made out of new, vintage, and deadstock materials and take on a whole new life once she’s finished with them. “I really like to make beautiful things, but I want them to be difficult,” explains Vesper. “Difficult to swallow, a little bit rough, spiky, and weird.”
After being inspired by a vintage tapestry she saw at a flea market in 2017, Vesper started her namesake brand. For her unique clothes, the designer looks to old materials like tapestries and Italian wedding blankets, and uses plissé, which is “a corrugated material that’s flecked with actual metal, so that’s why it sparkles,” explains Vesper.
Of her process, Vesper shares that she’s a “textiles-first designer,” an approach that’s been heavily influenced by her antiques-dealer and textiles designer mother. “My prompt is usually [to] find an awesome textile [and] work from there,” explains Vesper. “My mom and I got into fashion together sort of, so creating identity through dress was really important to both of us.”
But as with any creative journey, Vesper’s path hasn’t been totally linear. “Right as I was launching my ready-to-wear brand, the pandemic was rearing its head and I thought that it was probably time for me to throw in the towel,” she explains. But then she rethought things and decided to give it one last go. “That led me into being a Jane of all trades—I had to build a website, I do most of my photography, copywriting [and] style my looks. I have a hand in everything, which makes me feel good.”
Now, since persevering through her setbacks, Vesper feels more invested and happier than ever with her brand. “My brand has always been really DIY, really grassroots and homegrown,” she explains. “And coming back to the goals I had when I started, which was to create good clothes that I feel good about, I have the joie de vivre again, I understand my purpose.”
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