Independent Retailer: Melanie Grace Designs
All photos courtesy of Melanie Grace Designs.
Melanie Grace Designs, Melanie being the designer, specializes in one of a kind and limited edition garments that are created with a focus on quality and detail in construction to create heirloom quality garments. That means that 10 to 20 years from now your daughter could pull it out of your closet and wear it. Melanie started designing in the early 1980’s. Her barbies were the best dressed in Great Falls, Montana. Fast forward 30 years, and Melanie is now designing clothes meant to make women feel as pretty as Barbie. The lines on her designs are clean and simple yet feminine, the fabrics bright and graphic, often with a touch of whimsy, and are great for travel to boot! I asked Melanie to tell us a little bit about her designs and what makes her designer’s brain tick…
What are some current inspirations for your designs?
I’m always inspired by vintage designs and am loving mid century prints right now. I’m in the process of remodeling my kitchen so wall paper swatches and paint chips are also populating my creative process. Mint green and cherry red appliances make me smile and so does putting those colors together in a skirt design.
Is there another designer out there that inspires you?
Shannon Miranda is a jewelry designer whose work I love (and wear). She’s great at combining disparate styles together to create something fresh and unexpected. That’s something I strive for in my work.
What do you think about the hot trends in fashion this year, for example primary colors, nautical, and big stripes?
I always love color! You’ll see lots of it in every collection I do. I’m also a big fan of classic styles with a twist too, so for me stripes are a fun palette to play with.
How do you choose your fabric, and where do you get it from?
I’m always looking for fabric wherever I go and have been known to risk life and limb to get it. A few years ago I found an awesome fabric market in Bangkok. My husband and I bought two huge tarp bags and loaded them up with 20-30 lbs of fabric in each. It happened to be Thai New year though, so we couldn’t get a cab that would go all the way to our hotel as the streets had turned into a giant rave party/water fight with music and hoses blaring from every shop and hotel. We could barely move through the crush of people in the streets and my arm nearly got tugged off as my giant bag of fabric got pulled in one direction with the crowd and my body got pulled in a different one. By the time we made it back to our room, we were completely drenched, covered in white clay (part of the festivities) and I couldn’t unbend my arm to get the bag off of my shoulder for several minutes as it had completely locked in place. My arm did recover and the designs I made out of the fabrics had a great back story. When it comes to choosing, I love bright colors, fun prints, and unusual textures, but most importantly it has to be something that I would feel great in after hours of wearing it.
Can you remember a favorite outfit you designed for Barbie?
A red open sweater knit, off the shoulder, belted dress. It was hot!
When can we expect to see your next line launch?
I do two full collections a year for spring/summer and fall/winter but also post new designs on my blog whenever inspiration strikes.
Check out all the beautiful, quality garments (in SO many more colors) that Melanie has to offer at the Melanie Grace Designs Etsy shop. And don’t be afraid to contact Melanie through her Etsy shop if you have any questions for her!