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Originally ran on These Native Goods, from our contributor Chandra Fox
Originally, I heard of the brand Botanica Workshop through Jessica Taft Langdon, 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’s both delicate and confident. Seeing the pieces in person only added to the original appeal. Beautifully crafted underpinnings laid in rows on a table when I finally saw the pieces in person, and ethereal slips hung around the rest of the booth. The color palette 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 the designer behind it, Misa Miyazawa, after this first encounter. At the time I first saw her, she was clearly and understandably swamped with customers, so we set up a studio visit, which I brought my whole family to. Thank you again, 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. 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 wardrobe. 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 provided her with insights regarding 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 hometown 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, pulling from her technical training in ready to wear, yet there was indeed still a learning curve. Although undergarments look pretty straightforward, 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 that happens in the U.S. 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. Botanical Workshop, to me, is a new breed of sexy, soft touchable fabrics and flattering shapes. But it’s more than that – knowing that what you are wearing came from a good place is a huge selling point of the brand. The environment, people, and your own lady bits were all thoughtfully considered.
All photos of the Perennial Collection, Kirsty Hume modeling and shot by Nancy Neil