I first laid eyes on Botanica Workshop at the Echo Park Craft Fair, last fall. Originally I heard of the brand through Jessica Taft Langon, designer of the Palatines. She highly recommended them and after I viewed their website, I saw why. I was immediately drawn to their style, it is both delicate and confident. Seeing the pieces in person only added to the original appeal. Beautifully crafted underpinnings lay in rows on her table and ethereal slips hung around the rest of the booth. The color palate caught my eye right away. Soft neutrals that are romantic yet modern, with a few pops of color. For instance a vibrant yellow achieved from a natural turmeric dye. Her collections are comprised of mostly signature pieces, these include several cuts and fabrications of bras, panties and slips. Additional items and color ways are added seasonally. I wanted to get to know the brand and designer Misa Miyagawa better after this first encounter. At the time she was clearly and understandably swamped with customers. So we set up a studio visit, which ended up being me and my whole family. Thank you Misa for having us.
I have often felt that there is a collective creative energy just waiting to be tapped into. Before trends even start, people are drawn towards similar desires for newness. Rather this pertains to a whole lifestyle shift or their fashion choices. When someone is looking for a change chances are many others are as well. Having recently been introduced to a more sustainable way of living, Misa was looking for organic, comfortable, well made underwear that fit her lifestyle. Something that was healthy for her and the planet while avoiding the overuse of lace and panty bling. An avid vintage shopper she also wanted something that would work well with her clothing. Fortunately for all of us when her search was unsuccessful Misa decided to create her own line.
Misa was initially living in New York when the idea came to her. She had years of experience working in the fashion industry that gave her the insight to know what she did and did not want in a brand. Slow fashion was important to her. Unfortunately finding domestic suppliers and manufacturers who were willing to work on a smaller scale proved to be difficult. The amount of units she wished to produce and the fabric and trimmings needed to make them were not large enough for many companies to consider doing business with her. A move back to her home town of Los Angeles brought Misa closer to a larger network of manufacturers. Including companies willing to work with smaller designers. At the time she was sewing all of the prototypes herself, with her technical training in ready to wear there was indeed a learning curve. Although undergarments look pretty straight forward they are actually tricky little things. Especially when elastic and silk are involved, they require a steady hand, lots of patience and very precise cuts. Misa spent a year making pieces she deemed unworthy before becoming more confident in her skills. During this time she was also able to find local sample makers and manufacturers who fit her production needs, as well as her quality standards. The first Botanica Workshop collection became available for Spring 2015.
Misa created the line she(and many of us) had been searching for. She uses organic cotton and silks, natural and low impact dyes and all her production happens in the USA. Botanica Workshop fits into Misa's own eco-friendly lifestyle and helps fill a void that was once in the market. Sustainable, ethical and stylish. The pieces possess a sense of whimsy and nostalgia with their vintage influence, while still remaining incredibly modern. Botanica Workshop is to me a new breed of sexy, soft touchable fabrics and flattering shapes are a given with this brand. But its more than that, its in knowing that what you are wearing came from a good place. The environment, people and your own lady bits were all thoughtfully considered and that inspires in me a nice sense of confidence.