Inspired By: Miranda Bennett
I first discovered Miranda Bennett at a tradeshow in LA. She had a small table and was swamped with appointments with top retailers all day and her gorgeous fabrics draped so perfectly in every piece. I was so impressed with her work - and doubly impressed with her commitment to sustainable fashion and size inclusion.
She’s been leading in these since the beginning of her brand - and has done incredible work to set a strong example for other brands to follow in terms of making really strong ethical and environmental choices. I think when a small brand proves it’s possible – it makes a strong statement that larger retailers ought to be able to do it too!
How did you start Miranda Bennett Studio?
I began Miranda Bennett Studio (MBS) in 2013 after relocating back to my hometown of Austin, Texas after 12 years in New York. MBS began as a small creative project and quickly evolved into a full-blown brand over the course of a few years.
Why did you start growing plants to make your own dyes?
The root & soul of my collection is our use of plant dyes. I was drawn to them originally for their luminous color and fell hard for them once I developed a greater understanding of their environmental and health benefits.
Some conventional dyes have been linked with cancer and fashion is the second-largest polluter of water globally. Natural dyes have a rich history, but there has been little preservation of their traditions here in the states, and even less development for commercial use. Embedding this practice into my line felt essential the more I learned about it.
Can you tell us more about the process of growing plants to make dye?
We began our work in agriculture in 2017 growing a dye plant called Mexican Mint Marigold or Pericón (Tagetes Lucida). I first worked with the plant in Oaxaca, where it grows wild in the valleys. Both the flowers and the plant itself yield color, with results ranging from greens, to vibrant yellow to rich ochre and we use the whole, dry plant for dyeing. We also use natural dyes that are the byproduct of other industries, like sawdust from a local mill and avocado skins and pits from a local restaurant.
When it comes to investing in your own wardrobe, what do you buy and how do you choose new pieces?
I am always guided by style, story, and comfort and I love to support other independent brands when I am not wearing my own work. I strive for pieces I know I will wear again and again, with a few fashion-forward items peppered in. I consider the fabric (and try to avoid petroleum-based materials altogether, like polyester) opting instead for biodegradable fabrics, which is also a guiding force for my collection. I love organic cotton and linen for daily wear, but I also enjoy silk and will even throw mine in the dryer for a sand-washed look, it makes it feel less precious.
What advice would you give our readers who might be trying to shop more sustainably and making a conscious effort to live a zero-waste lifestyle?
Start where you are and focus on one thing at a time! It is so easy to get overwhelmed, but small changes add up and build off of one another. Look around your house and consider a few simple swaps you can start with - things like opting for bar soap instead of a plastic pump, cloth napkins instead of paper, a reusable water bottle instead of plastic, avoiding single-use plastic bags wherever possible, and take it from there.
In terms of clothing, today, people purchase more often, then keep and wear those things for way less time. It really benefits no one, particularly the planet. The best thing you can do is to invest in well-made ethically created pieces that you will wear again and again, year after year. Not only does your cost per wear go down, but you will also help break the cycle of exploitation that fast fashion relies upon.
Since we are a pajama company, we are curious about your sleep habits.
When it comes to PJ’s matching set or separates?
I love a set!
Slippers, Yes or no?
I live in a house with concrete and wood floors, so I love slippers! Preferably ones I can wash.
What’s always on your bedside table?
Facial spritzes and salves, a book I want to read but am likely not going to, a journal, earplugs, and an eye pillow.
Night owl or Early riser?
Night owl since birth!