ML Dreams: Alexis Mera, Ditmas Park, Brooklyn, Founder + Designer of Alexis Mera
Made Lokal: What was the inspiration for starting an athleisure fashion company?
Alexis: After graduating from The Fashion Institute of Technology, and working nearly a decade in the Fashion Industry, most recently developing product for DKNY Sleepwear, I decided it was finally time to venture off on my own (something I had always wanted to do!).
Combining my experience with my love for all things comfortable, the collection began with easy to wear tops, bottoms, and dresses that are perfect for lounging or mingling, without compromising style. Shortly after launching in early 2015, women started asking me if they can wear our signature printed jogger pants to yoga - the answer is of course yes! This is when Alexis Mera the brand was truly born.
Known for our super soft and comfy jogger pants, offered in a range of fun and vibrant prints, the line has quickly evolved into an active lifestyle brand. Staying true to the AM aesthetic, I am excited to announce the launch of our first performance active collection that is dropping Spring 2017.
Made Lokal: Why do you produce locally?
Alexis: Producing locally is easier to manage and control as a small company. You can ensure quality, fair working conditions, and communicate directly face to face with the factory owner and workers, while also stimulating the local economy. It’s unfortunately that the Garment District has dwindled down to what it is today. I wish more and more businesses would bring their manufacturing back to the US, but I’m not sure this will happen, as it’s much less expensive to product overseas.
Made Lokal: What type of sports do you participate in?
Alexis: Weight and strength training, yoga, jogging, and I love tennis, but don’t as often as I’d like.
Made Lokal: Where is your favorite place in NYC to do yoga?
Alexis: Y7 Studio
Made Lokal: What is your vision for Alexis Mera?
Alexis: I’m happy with the brand evolution so far. I’d like to expand on my activewear line, the first active collection will drop end of January 2017. I’m very excited about it!
Made Lokal: You are known to be a health nut! If you could turn the world on to one health food (or meal), what would it be?
Alexis: I’m definitely into treating my body well with regular exercise and a (mostly) clean diet. But I strongly believe in balance. I follow an 80/20 rule when it come to diet. I eat healthy and as clean as possible 80% of the time and the other 20% I eat what I want, pizza, a burger, a glass of wine, or a sweet snack.
One healthy meal I currently have every day is my morning smoothie. It’s also great for a midday boost!. Blend all of these ingredients together, add a few chia seed on top, and enjoy!
Strawberry Banana and Almond Butter Smoothie
10 Frozen Strawberries
1 serving of Manitoba hemp veggie based protein powder
1 heaping tablespoon of Woodstock almond butter
1 teaspoon of Navitas Cacao Powder
1 - 1.5 cups of So Delicious unsweetened coconut milk (depending on how thick you want it)
1 teaspoon of white chia seeds
Made Lokal: From where do you source your fabric
Alexis: My fabrics are sourced from various places. We have some that are knit in the US, and some that are imported.
Made Lokal: What are the materials of your product?
Alexis: We’re known for our soft and super comfy fabrics. For our athleisure pieces, we use all very soft jersey knit fabrics. Our new active line is made from a high elastic knitting that has medium compression and is quick drying.
Made Lokal: Do you believe digital printing is a more environmentally friendly process?
Alexis: Yes, digital printing is safe for the environment and for the workers. Traditional rotary screen printing often uses hazardous inks and dyes that are unhealthy for the environment and for workers. Some screen printing methods use mass amounts of water in the dying process of the fabric and can result in polluted waste water that then contaminates the ground. The equipment used for digital printing eliminates wastage, and reduces all use of water, for a truly green printing process. Digital printing also allows us to produce small quantities, which reduces our fabric overages after production, in turn also reducing wastage.
Made Lokal: What does Alexis Mera do with their fabric waste?
Alexis: We have markers made in production, which is when the pattern pieces are laid out and fit together like a puzzle, this eliminates a lot of fabric wastage when cutting garments. There are basically scraps left. When we have true fabric yardage left over, we donate it, or use it to make samples for future collections. Our waste is minimal.
Made Lokal: What inspired your latest set of prints?
Alexis: New York. This fall our prints are a little bit more muted and neutral, than they have been in the past. Excited about SS17 too, those prints are inspired by warm weather, sun, and travel. A little sneak peek is below.
Made Lokal: Do you design the prints, or buy and print them?
Alexis: We do a combination of both. Some of our prints are sourced and bought and some we develop ourselves.
Made Lokal: What is your first memory of wanting to become a fashion designer?
Alexis: Believe it or not, I don’t have one. I actually went to school initially for Interior Design, and then changed over to Fashion Merchandising Management. I worked in Merchandising and Product Development for about 8 years.
I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit. When I was young, I made and sold beaded necklaces, bracelets, and earrings at summer camp, when I was in college, I wrote up a business plan for a dog walking business, and after graduating FIT, and getting a taste of ‘real life’, I did quite a bit of job hopping, it seemed to be the only way to keep things interesting.
Eventually, I built up the experience (and courage), to venture off on my own, and it really was a combination of my experience, and wanting to start my own thing. Taking the leap was scary, but I’m so glad I did it! I have already learned SO much, and things are always interesting!
madeLOKAL: Who are the people behind the scenes that help make your one woman show a reality?
Alexis: We work with pattern makers, and sample makers when we’re developing the collection. Our manufacturing is done at factories in NYC. I have one assistant, who is my life saver, and the rest, well it’s really up to me! I hope to one day to have a small team of about 4 – 5, so we can be more productive.
madeLOKAL: If you could do it all over again, would you?
Alexis: Yes, I would do it again, but I wouldn’t change anything.
madeLOKAL: Describe your typical day
Alexis: I wake up around 6 every morning. Have my tea, answer a few emails and get some work done. Three days a week I go to the gym at 9AM, for about 40 mins, and then I come back, eat my breakfast, and get to work. I usually work until about 6 or 7PM
madeLOKAL: How frequently do your friends see you in a dress?
Alexis: Fancy dresses – only on special occasions. Casual dresses, like my Albemarle Midi-Maxi, at least once a week. I particularly like to throw it on after yoga class.
Alexis: Instagram is @alexismeranyc Facebook is @alexismeranyc Twitter is @alexismeranyc Pinterest is @alexismeranyc