Today I am excited to introduce you to Genevieve Saylak and Corissa Santos, the design duo behind Where Mountains Meet, a new ready to wear line that has us smitten. The brand, which recently debuted their spring collection is making a direct effort to bring conscious consumption back into the fashion world. The clothing is designed in NYC, while the textiles are made by artisans in India, Guatemala and Bolivia. We caught up with the designers to learn more about the line and their creative vision.
Congratulations on the launch of your brand! What brought you two together?
Thank you! We met in college, in our studio art program, and have been friends ever since. There’s a fundamentally yin-yang thing about our partnership—we could not be more different in certain ways, but also have shared passions and a shared vision. Our shared goal in starting where Mountains Meet was to create a brand that is socially and environmentally responsible, that puts the best foot of the fashion industry forward. It’s an ambitious one! And it requires a dynamic duo. When the stars aligned, and the timing was right, we knew we had to take the plunge!
Your design work and experience spans a range from more minimalist at Theory to romantic and feminine at Marchesa Voyage. Does your creative vision for Where Mountains Meet land somewhere in the middle?
In many ways, yes, but in others our vision for wMM is a clear departure from those two worlds. Part of what we have in our joint arsenal is experience designing for a range of markets and aesthetics. This has informed our technical focus on things such as quality finishings and perfect fit, but also our interest in design driven, yet subtle, detailing. Creatively, however, we’re committed to having our own, distinctive voice. We believe in clean silhouettes enriched by handmade textiles. Design updates that give new life to classic elements such as collars and plackets.
The name of your brand, based on the words of William Blake is very poetic. Is it your goal to bring more meaning back in to fashion?
Absolutely. The full line is ‘great things are done where men and mountains meet’. It’s a pure thought, but a widely applicable one. For us, this means to do our best, every day, to be more responsible creatives, resource users and players in this industry. Our collections are proof that you can set this bar high while also creating desirable product. We believe this mission increases the value of the clothes—buying wMM means you are buying into a larger movement of fashion industry best practices. We’re committed to being a part of this movement, to representing the next generation of American fashion designers promising to do better.
Your debut ready to wear collection personally makes me want to jet off to Portofino and sit by the port under the Italian sun. I am not sure if that was your inspiration (laughs). What was your starting point for the collection?
Ha! It wasn’t, but as we’re in the midst of a blizzard here in New York, that is where we want to be! Inspiration for SS17 came from the Peruvian Andes for both palette and silhouette. The tonalities of the Salinas de Maras salt flats inspired our neutrals-focused color palette, accented by pops of Chili red and Thistle. Our print, which we designed ourselves, was derived from aerial views of the salt flats and the beautifully complimentary work of American textile artist, Debra Smith. The traditional attire of Quechua women inspired silhouettes and details this season—coming to life in a semi-full circle skirt and culottes-style skort, waist tie details and wrapping elements.
All of your pieces are designed and made here in New York. Why was that important to you both?
We’ve touched on this a bit already, but producing things here in New York is part of our larger mission of supporting industry best practices. We’re at once able to fuel the local economy, develop personal and lasting relationships with factory owners and their sewers, and to also keep a close eye on craftsmanship. We visit our factories every day!
You empower men and women artisans from around the globe by working with them to create the brand's fabrics. What parts of the world are you currently inspired by and working in?
Yes, and the process is an incredible one! It is a systematically different way of working. We have to make adjustments for longer lead times, language barriers and varying technical capabilities. But the rewards, especially for a new collection, are many. We get to create completely unique, custom textiles, and through ongoing partnerships empower these communities with a steady source of income. We’re currently most excited by the work of artisans in India, Central and South America. The vibrancy of these cultures, too, is inspiring. They never shy away from color and graphic motifs—refreshing in the face of the current Western obsession with neutrals and minimalist design!
At ROSE & IVY we love to explore different points of view on beauty. How do you define beauty?
Beauty is the skin and clothes you’re in. Take care of yourself from the inside out and only put on what makes you feel confident and strong. Less is always more.
Where Mountains Meet, Their New York:
For local inspiration we head to: libraries, museums, vintage stores
Our favorite meal is: Tacos and margaritas at Tacombi Flatiron, or barbeque at Hometown in Redhook.
To unwind we head to: Prospect Park for a long run or a night of music in the summer at the Bandshell.
Our favorite shopping destinations: Lower East Side or Greenpoint
We love New York because: of its energy, and because it’s a tapestry of ideas, perspectives and stories that we’re a part of
Images Courtesy of Designers