What Our Design Process Is Really Like
What sets M.M. pieces apart, according to our co-founder & Chief Creative Officer, Miyako Nakamura, and our Director of Merchandising, Shelby Goldfaden.
If you’ve ever worn an M.M. piece, you know that we give equal weight to form and function. You’ve felt the stretchy embrace of a perfectly draped jardigan. You’ve seen a sleek OrigamiTech suit magically emerge from your suitcase, wrinkle-free. You’ve spilled on a sumptuous silk skirt—and tossed it in the laundry afterward.
Of course, we strike this balance of polish and practicality to help you get dressed with the utmost ease—a philosophy largely inspired by our founders’ Japanese heritage. But how do we do it? Our secret sauce is a deeply collaborative effort between the creative and the analytical, between right-brain and left-brain thinking, between artistic inspiration and data-driven feedback.
To paint a picture of what this looks like in action, I turned to two team members who live and breathe these complementary halves of M.M. in their day-to-day: our co-founder & Chief Creative Officer, Miyako Nakamura (a.k.a. our creative genius), and our Director of Merchandising, Shelby Goldfaden (a.k.a. our customer whisperer). Below, they speak to what makes the craft of M.M. garments so special.
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“Within this sea of inspiration that I’ve accumulated, there always ends up being a common thread or feeling that I can connect to and use as inspiration for the collection concept.”
“We incorporate customer feedback all the time. In a fitting, we might be considering a style that’s voluminous with no waist, and I’ll make us revise it, because so many customers tell us that they want to show their waists.”
“...we actually look at our garments on multiple body types during the fitting process. This always comes off as a little bit strange for new people who come in, which I think speaks to our unique emphasis on fit.”
Miyako: “Our fitting process starts with the actual production fit model, so we never fit on a typical runway model like designer brands. What makes us really unique compared to any other brand out there, though, is that we actually look at our garments on multiple body types during the fitting process. This always comes off as a little bit strange for new people who come in, which I think speaks to our unique emphasis on fit. I cannot stress enough how helpful it is to see garments on different body shapes that are the same numerical size, because they fit so differently depending on a person’s shape. This is especially true of women’s clothing and bodies. Our aim is to make sure that our fits are not specific to just one shape.”
Shelby: “Well said, Miyako. I don’t have much to add here other than to emphasize how unique it is that we do this. We’ll get size runs of fit samples, rather than just the industry-standard sample size (size 4). That is not the norm!”
“I’m always looking at how our fabric can be used in unexpected ways, and as a team, we’re always looking for fabrics that do something beyond being just pretty.”
“A lot of times, a feature doesn’t end up working with the fabric or design, but we have to try in order to come up with the really ingenious ones we’ve come to be known for.”
“The Milo is one of those styles where we really succeeded in pushing our customer outside of her comfort zone.”
Miyako: “As of the past year or so, I’d probably say the Milo jean. I’d also say all of our Better Than Denim or OrigamiTech styles have come to epitomize and embody the M.M. ethos. Both fabric groups are so innovative, and what’s really unique is how we’re combining those high-performing fabrics with chic, refined silhouettes.”
Shelby: “That is such a good question—and so difficult—but I’d agree with the Milo. We loved those pants when we made them, but we didn’t think they’d be super ‘commercial.’ A couple of years later, and now they’re one of our top sellers. The Milo is one of those styles where we really succeeded in pushing our customer outside of her comfort zone. Now, we can’t keep them in stock.”