“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.
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
Not only does #TheProfit return to CNBC tonight, but @marcuslemonis has launched @shopmarcus, a new shopping and lifestyle retail experience in Aspen and Chicago, with more locations to come. The retail stores offer in-store stylists and a variety of contemporary womenswear selections.
“It’s life, I’m going to face it,” @mingxi11 sighed. “I fell, but you know, I think the most important thing is that I get back up. I had the love, the help from my sister — the girl next to me Gizele [Oliveira] — she’s so nice. When I went backstage everybody was trying to comfort me like ‘Oh Ming, it’s OK.’ I’m really, really touched. I think it’s them who gave me the courage to go back on stage for the finale,” Xi told WWD of her fall at the @victoriassecret fashion show. (📷: David Fisher) #wwdfashion #vsfashionshow #victoriassecret
@louisvuitton tapped @therealpeterlindbergh for its latest city-centric photo book, which is part of a series called Fashion Eye. The primarily black and white book captures the spirit of Berlin in 57 images shot between 1989 and 2019. “Berlin is an inspiration for me, more than a city. I mean @millajovovich is simply Berlin!” said Lindbergh. #wwdfashion
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For pre-fall 2018, @etro created richly-colored wonderland, using tapestries, textiles and wallpapers from the Eastern world at large. The line featured floral and graphic prints and jacquard motifs, like this two-piece look featured here. #wwdfashion (📷: Giovanna Pavesi)
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)