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The 8 Ball: Miranda Bennett

Miranda Bennett | Covet + Lou

MIRANDA BENNETT STUDIO is a collection of seasonless, plant-dyed apparel produced in the USA. Originally from Austin, Texas, Miranda Bennett began her fashion career at Parsons School of Design in New York. She started her first line with a sold-out trunk show. After twelve years in New York, Bennett brought her work back to Austin and launched Miranda Bennett Studio. Her ethos lies in simplicity and sustainability, emphasizing versatility.

How does your sustainable ethos impact your design process?

When you design, you are creating something through a series of choices. These choice are somewhat arbitrary in the sense that you determine what to do, or not do, based on a product or mood or fit that you have imagined. Bringing a commitment to sustainability into my line means that I recognize the impact of these choices, and can create with an eye towards minimizing or repurposing waste in the same way that I would alter a pattern to create the desired fit or silhouette I aesthetically want. The two mindsets are not mutually exclusive, and both are valid.

Why did you decide to be based in Austin, TX? Does this geographic locale influence your line and business model?

I'm from here, and I came to a point in my life where I wanted the freedom and space to value my quality of life as much as my career. That goal didn't feel very attainable in New York, I felt like I was on a hamster wheel checking off career goals while my personal life atrophied.

In Austin, Being type A and OCD (though they have their time and place) are not the lauded qualities I found them to be in NYC. In New York, being busy, being overworked and burning the candle at both ends is a badge of honor — while choosing to nurture yourself is not. I think Austin has influenced my line with its emphasis on ease. There is a relaxed culture here that puts happiness, personal fulfillment first. Here you can work as hard as you want, because you want to, and when you're done, you can stop, go outside, and live your life.

In Austin, Being type A and OCD (though they have their time and place) are not the lauded qualities I found them to be in NYC. In New York, being busy, being overworked and burning the candle at both ends is a badge of honor — while choosing to nurture yourself is not. I think Austin has influenced my line with its emphasis on ease. There is a relaxed culture here that puts happiness, personal fulfillment first. Here you can work as hard as you want, because you want to, and when you're done, you can stop, go outside, and live your life.

Do you have any wardrobe staples? What is a go-to for you?

Our Wrap Top & Palazzo Pant have quickly become my wardrobe staples -- with all of the ways you can style the Wrap Top and how easy, comfortable and forgiving the Palazzo Pants are, I can't travel without them.

What are some words or ideas you consciously live by?

Have I said thank you? (to a person, in a fulfilling situation, for my health)
Start where you are.
Saying no can be more powerful than saying yes.

How have you seen your personal style evolve with your business?

When I was younger, I was all over the place, I would buy things I appreciated but that were not necessarily native to my own personal style. Now, I find myself very satiated with the clothing I already have, between my collection and the incredible designers that I've come to know from showing at various trade shows and markets, I find that I shop far less and wear what I have much more.

Give some advice to your younger self.

Believe in yourself.
You are legitimate.
You deserve to be here.
You belong.

Do you have any people you look up to? Has anyone influenced your perspective on fashion or on living?

My dearest friend Pam, who we lost to cancer far too young. We met at Parsons when I was 19 and she was 26, and she changed my world. She taught me how to live, how to entertain, how to make the ordinary extraordinary, how to fight for what's yours, to believe in yourself, to be gentle but strong, funny and bawdy yet sensitive and curious, beautiful and self-possessed while remaining completely true to yourself. We began our businesses at the same time, in '06, and became one another's touchstone, then opened a store together in '09 (at the peak of the recession in NY) that we operated for almost four years. We lived on scraps, cheap drinks and laughter during a time that should have been dampened by poverty and struggle. I wouldn't trade it for the world. I still ask her advice in my mind on a daily basis. I wish she could be with me on this journey, but I have to believe that she is, that she has brought my business to this place.

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