“I have nothing to wear.” For many women, this is an everyday mantra. For Mei Zee, it was inspiration.
Dissatisfied with her professional wardrobe, Zee, along with fellow University of California at Berkeley grad Amy Jin decided to take matters into their own hands, founding MEI New York.
“There’s a void in professional women’s clothing that’s fashionable and has deep thought,” says Zee, a veteran of the industry (most recently at Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren). “That was how we jump-started on the brand, and I think we still have that professional woman that we’re catering toward. But at the same time, it could be any woman, from any industry.”
Since launching in September 2011 (spring is their second collection), Zee and Jin, a full-time Google Authors employee, have creatively honed in on their career-girl muse, while maintaining a modern vintage aesthetic.
For their spring lineup, the New York-based designers turned to the naval era of World War I for inspiration. “There are a lot women out there who don’t really have a lot of freedom when thinking about what they can wear. For me that’s what spring is really about,” says Jin, who serves as MEI New York’s cofounder and chief financial officer. “It’s about this idea of liberation in World War I, where folks were getting on ships and going across the world. It’s the modern woman, and thinking about what she can do and when she has a choice, and just feeling liberated in her daily life.”
This military inspiration also sparked another breakthrough for the brand — their first foray into prints.
“I was trying to figure out this spring season, and I stumbled upon a picture of this dazzle camo ship,” Zee says. “I thought it was an art showcase or exhibit, but then realized it was something legitimate, and used back in World War I as a technique ships used to confuse the enemy. That was a huge part of our signature print.”
The clothes are strong, smart and to the point, comprised of crafted outerwear (retailing from $375 to $550), mix-and-match separates ($175 to $330) and simple sheath dresses ($250 to $545).
Next up is a collaboration with SoHo boutique Kisan. Dubbed MEI + Kisan, the capsule collection will showcase five silk dresses in a natural color palette and yet-to-be determined print. “It’s still in the works, but we are going to do something in reference to sea creatures for some graphic patterns that almost mimic optical illusions,” says Zee.
MEI’s fall collection was picked up by Thistle & Clover, Dagny & Barstow and New Orleans-based Vernon Clothing. Beginning next spring, some pieces will be sold at meinewyork.com.
Breaking News: @louisvuitton's men's artistic director @mrkimjones is leaving the French fashion house after nearly 7 years. Jones joined Louis Vuitton in 2011, following a three year tenure as creative director of British luxury goods brand Alfred Dunhill. Jones is to exit Louis Vuitton after showing his fall 2018 collection for the brand in Paris on Thursday. Read the full exclusive story on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
For men’s fall 2018, @giuseppezanotti drew on elements from streetwear, sport, biker, combat and rock ‘n’ roll. Pictured here are a pair of shoes from the collection, featuring zippers, rhinestones, and silver hardware. Head to WWD.com to see a roundup of the accessories from Milan’s men’s fall 2018 shows. #wwdfashion (📷: Andrea Delb)
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of @ralphlauren’s snowboarding collection, the brand is mining its archives. The iconic brand is reintroducing vintage styles and dropping new designs for a color capsule that will be available in Ralph Lauren stores and @openingceremony on January 25. The capsule will consist of 10 pieces, including the Snow Beach Pullover, pictured here, which is a collector’s item that rapper Raekwon wore in Wu-Tang Clan’s “Can It Be All So Simple” video. #wwdfashion (📷: Tom Gould)
For @rochasofficial’s pre-fall 2018 collection, creative director Alessandro Dell’Acqua channeled the sophisticated and intriguing Catherine Denevue in the film “Belle de Jour.” Polished collarless coats, midi skirts, suits and ’60s graphic motifs were all featured in the collection, adding a sense of discreet luxury. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion
“We tried to produce clothing of that couture quality, but the most daunting part was that we only had a matter of days [to do it],” said costume designer Lou Eyrich, who recreated Gianni Versace’s iconic looks for @americancrimestoryfx. Eyrich searched online retailers and vintage shops for original pieces from the design house and for @penelopecruzoficial, who plays Donatella Versace. Head to WWD.com to read how she created the Versace world. #wwdfashion
Only three months after her stellar debut catwalk season, @kaiagerber has inked her first big design collaboration –– with @karllagerfeld. The collection blends Lagerfeld’s Parisian chic aesthetic and the model’s signature West Coast casual style via RTW, accessories, footwear and more. The #KarlLagerfeldxKaia collection will launch in September with a series of events. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews