[above: Marcia Patmos and her Fall 2012 mood board]

Before designer Marcia Patmos founded her namesake line M.Patmos, she was one half of knitwear label Lutz & Patmos, which worked with guest designers ranging from Desmond Tutu to Sofia Coppola to an Amtrak train conductor. These varied and thoughtful collaborations perfectly illustrate Marcia’s belief that what goes into a design—from the inspiration to the technology used—is just as important as the design itself. It is this philosophy—and the socially conscious processes it engenders—that helped earn M.Patmos a spot on Fast Company’s list of the world’s 50 most innovative companies this year.

According to the magazine, Macia makes “sustainable fashion so beautiful, you’d never guess it was sustainable.” Case in point: Marcia won the Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation award last year, joining the very impressive ranks of Alexander Wang, Derek Lam and Proenza Schouler. Focusing on streamlined, modern silhouettes, luxe materials and innovative techniques, the M.Patmos collection is both distinctive and highly wearable. Below, Marcia fills us in on her process…


What were you trying to create when you started your own collection?
My goal is always to create a part of a woman’s wardrobe that becomes her favorite thing. Things that are classic enough to wear for years but new enough that you want to buy them [laughs]. Things that you can layer with each other and also with everything else.

Since Lutz & Patmos, I’ve been known for knitwear, and it is one of my favorite things; I definitely wanted to continue creating great knits, but also extend it into a fuller lifestyle collection.

What inspired fall collection?
Last year I was in Portland for a wedding and I went to this great bookstore there called Powell’s. So I was looking at the Northwest Indian section and I found this book by Edward Curtis called “The Women.” It has all these portraits of Native American women in the end of the 1800s and beginning of 1900s. They are these beautiful portraits where they’re wearing indigenous clothing but it looks so modern and strong and cool. And that was the starting point for my collection. Just the way they were layering and the graphic elements and some of the embellishment techniques.

Can you tell us a little more about the collection?
It’s luxurious. It’s multi-purpose—most pieces you can wear day into evening. There’s a little sequin cami you can definitely wear to the office under a blazer or out at night on its own. There are also great pants right now—they’re pleated and cropped. You could wear them in so many ways. I try to think of a busy woman who doesn’t have time to change.

One thing I also do is I try to work in ‘Made in the USA’ as much as possible. So some pieces are made in L.A. on handlooms and others are made in New Jersey with this incredible knitwear technology.

We heard that you always carry a camera with you—what are a few of the most recent images you were inspired to capture?
Actually, you know what, I have these really great pictures. I was up in Upstate New York this weekend—I’m actually getting married in October so I was up there with the caterer and all that nonsense but we stopped at this place, the Mohonk Mountain House, near Bear Mountain. I’ve always heard of it so I stopped by to see if it was a place we could spend a couple of days after our wedding. We took a little tour, and it is such a cool place. It’s straight out of the Royal Tenenbaums—this is where they would go on vacation. So I took a bunch of pictures while I was there. They have all these portraits of people from the 1800s in these cool outfits going to play hockey. They’re incredible, these outfits. I was taking pictures of the hallway as I was walking around. And they have all this incredible old furniture.

Photographs of Mohonk Mountain House by Marcia Patmos

Do you have any style icons? Anyone who typifies your aesthetic?
Whenever I see Joanna Hillman at Fashion Week, I always think she looks incredible. She looks pulled together but in this very cool way. When I think of who I design for, in my mind I see a gallery owner or someone who has a creative job; she’s more urban, and she travels a lot. She’s pulled together but with a casual twist to it—she’s not too serious about it.

What is one thing that most people don’t know about you?
I love the sound of emptying the trash on my laptop. I also have a green thumb.

And last question—do you have a favorite piece in the collection?
The zip-front coat. And today I’m wearing the cashmere two-tone cardigan—I think that’s a great piece. It has these cute little dart details. I also love the Neutra sweater—that one that has two tones with the different colored yoke. It’s made in L.A. and it’s really chunky, but you don’t get hot because it’s still really light.

1. Zip front coat 2. Sequin tank 3. Pleated trouser 4. Contrast yoke sweater 5. Striped poncho 6. Contrast yoke sweater 7. Contrast sleeve cardigan 8. Zip front cardigan jacket 9. Waist-tie cardigan 10. Zip front cardigan jacket