Twenty-three year old west Londoners Myrná Kennedy and Merytha Hazel are best friends and now business partners. Having gone to school together once they finished they grew apart but managed to find each other again through the social networking site Facebook a few years later. Despite the years apart their close friendship was re-ignited and now they are business partners with their own fashion brand Mythy Myrnáe. Flavour gets together with the girls for a chat about fashion, studying and motherhood.
How would you describe the style of the clothes you make?
Mythy: Mythy Myrnáe ties into high-end luxury with a twist with a BANG!
Myrná: It’s where sophisticated elements meet graphics, street style and soft rock. I think we’ll call this genre ‘Souperb’, ‘La Swirl’ or ‘Tornado’…the genre title will come.
How would you describe your personal style?
Myrná: “My particular style changes each day. One minute I would be wearing a long elegant dress with a tight hooded top, the next I would be looking like a street/ contemporary dancer then a cute dolly after a certain time.”
Merytha: “I am free spirited as long as it looks G.O.O.D! My look is very versatile.”
If you could pick a famous model to wear your clothes who would it be and why?
Both: Heidi Klum.
Myrná: For one she is beautiful, one of the top most highly rated models and super role models.
Mythy: She is very supportive of up and coming fashion designers.
Myrná: She always looks stunning on Project Runway and rocked it at last year’s Victoria Secret show.
How did you get into fashion?
Myrná: When I was about 14 coming from a situation where I did not have much clothes I was beginning to customize what I had for a new look. I got my skirts, boob-tube and the bandanna which you would often see 2-Pac and Aaliyah wearing (R.I.P) along with some studs. I attached the studs on the folded bandanna then had sewn it to the boob tube hem line. By the age of 15 I designed my first party outfit for Phoenix High School’s Fashion/ talent show. That’s when I knew the dream.
Merytha: My family and school. Me and Myrná were in the same class and we did the fashion show together. I have always loved it. After high school I took the health care route then started a family. At this time Myrná and I lost contact. After my second child I really wanted to get back into fashion. Saw my future business partner on facebook, we met up and started to do what we do best.
What makes your designs stand out from the rest?
Merytha: Our distinctive fabric prints of our own graphic designs to editorial shapes we produce through pattern cutting. Mythy Myrnáe’s designs do not hold a particular genre nor should I say it is a fashion clone.
Myrná: Our patchwork on elegant attires which stand out firmly for people to easily identify the fashion line. Patterns are full of contrasts, which is quite a big risk. Most importantly, some of our designs which you will see later on this year are suitable for Muslim or modest women.
Who is your favourite designer and why?
Myrná: Thierry Mugler. His work is just amazing. The way he sculptures the pattern on a woman’s body reforming new silhouettes – He thinks outside the box and tells a story. He really capitalised on the futuristic look. I only knew of it because of him. Long before Lady Gaga came out mainstream.Mythy: Myrná… are you forgetting…Alexander MQueen (R.I.P)?
Myrná: Love him too (R.I.P)
Do you have a muse?
Myrná: Well two things. 1. Communicating through what God had given me. 2. Every time I close my eyes for a few seconds I see a new image.
Mythy: Every time I close my eyes I see my kids.
What is most challenging about your work?
Merytha: It is challenging enough being a young mother but I will do this any day for a better life for my kids.
Myrná: The product developing stage cost. I find my situation challenging being a fashion student at the same time. Also having different roles of the company when all I only want to do is design.
What are some of the perks of being a fashion designer?
Myrná: It feels more rewarding when you see someone wearing your clothes and they look good in it. I love playing with art, fabrics, colours and silhouettes. It’s nice when people applaud us and make us feel like we are doing something great.
If you weren’t designing clothes, what would you like to be doing?
Myrná: Some had said that I was going to become a politician. Well if I am not designing clothes I am sketching or dancing. Maybe if I had done well in science I would be saving lives right now.
Merytha: I started university doing adult nursing but didn’t stay long due to change of circumstance. After my 2nd child was born I changed goals and started thinking about designing clothes like I always wanted. Apart from those I probably would have been a hair dresser.
What are your favourite hobbies?
Myrná: Other than fashion designing, I love dancing, modelling, drawing, writing poetry, hanging out with the love of my life and playing Master Chef.
Merytha: I like to play the Nintendo Wii especially Just Dance the game with my family. I love taking pictures, drawing and singing.
What influences your designs?
Myrná: The fact that I don’t prefer a particular genre. All genres and different stages of my life have influenced my designs. From growing up doing street dance to being a modestly dressed woman to taking on being a model has evenly chipped in to what I personally produce today.
What would you say to someone thinking of getting into fashion?
Myrná: Know your market. Take risks, meaning think outside the box and design with meaning.
Mythy: Also take your time and network hard!
What’s your end goal in the fashion industry?
Myrná: I hope that this adventure will turn into something really amazing. First thing is to live comfortably and settle down without any worries. I hope to own a farm and live without depending on the system. I personally would not like to use money as I believe that money has put us in this huge problem in the first place. My ultimate goal is to get my values across which regards global contextual issues that affects the other side of the planet and may affect us in the long run. In regards to the clothing line, I am looking forward to our brand being globally recognised in association with our own fashion/ entertainment nights all over the world. We are aiming to be Echo-friendly, to help young people get places and to provide media wardrobe on a large scale.
Mythy: Hopefully all goes well for our company. I want to provide for my children by doing my best with anything they need. Taking care of my family especially my mum as she is disabled. Being financially secured so I have no more worries about what’s coming round the corner. I would really like to help the less fortunate (e.g. people work for little money that live in bad conditions etc…) around the world with an organisation or hopefully I can have my own organisation. We hope to set a good example to others and keep the buzz of working towards making Echo-friendly/ fair trade clothing.
Do people recognize your designs?
People can identify us by our elegant dresses with an open back, patchwork, chains and hoods. Being new to the scene, people mainly know us for mixing graphics with high-end luxury. We just hope to have more people knowing who we are and what we are all about. We aim to put a glamorous luxury stamp to our name with the association of entertainment events. Our brand identity will be associate with art, media wardrobe and celebrity lifestyle; having an image of glamorousness, coolness, elegancy, and classiness whilst being conscious about contextual issues. A place for aspired to be models, models, dancers, modest women, musicians, party goers, dating people, restaurant attendees, red carpet attendees and in-Vogue women.
Describe your philosophy about the art of fashion.
Myrná: To be socially responsible. If one has talent, they should use it well with good moral practices. Art is the best way of communication to make things happen. Like Tibor Kalman says ‘Design well, sleep well.’ We mainly design with meaning in response to The 1st Things 1st Manifesto 1964 (renewed 2000).
Mythy: Yeah our art expresses and draws up contextual issues as a silent and most effective tool way to physically make things happen. You would be surprised to know that one of our attires is made out of recycled bags.
What do you love most about fashion?
Mythy: The excitement of picking fabrics, colours and forming accidental shapes. Making myself or others look beautiful and being able to speak through the creations.
What do you think about fashion industry?
Myrná: Well you have to be thick skinned. If you fall, you have to pick yourself up and play the game firmly. It is very exciting though. It is hard if you have set of morals that go against the industry otherwise it is a cool place to be in. We would love to see women on the catwalk having more meat on their bones.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Mythy: “This is very common but it’s “If it doesn’t kill you it makes you stronger”.
Myrná: It is so true.
For more information visit their website www.mythymyrnae.com