After meeting in 2008 as fashion design students at Washington University in St. Louis and relocating to New York together after graduation, Genevieve Saylak and Corissa Santos realized they shared a vision for responsible sourcing and artisan craftsmanship — a vision they couldn’t totally fulfill in their former design roles at other brands.
Last fall, Saylak and Santos unveiled their label, Where Mountains Meet, to fill what they saw as a niche in the market for a socially and environmentally conscious advanced contemporary line — something to sit between, say, Eileen Fisher and Stella McCartney.
Prior to launch, Saylak worked for Theory, 10 Crosby Derek Lam and Ann Taylor, and Santos held roles at Maggy London and the since-shuttered Marchesa Voyage. Growing up near the scenic landscapes of the Pacific Northwest and Southwest, respectively, the duo poured their love of nature into their first two collections, which were produced locally in New York in partnership with global artisan communities. Colorful geometric prints in their spring 2017 collection, for example, were informed by aerial photographs of the striking salt ponds in Maras, Peru. Other looks feature tie-waist and wrapping details inspired by the traditional attire of Quechua women in the region. “Overall, this season has easier silhouettes — versatile, easy things to wear when you’re running around town,” Santos said.
Done in a natural palette with pops of burnt red and lavender, the collection’s fringed knits, silk jumpsuits, oversize tunics and wide-leg denim and twill trousers come with relaxed fits and raw, artisanal touches, such as hand-loomed textures and tassels created with artisans in Guatemala.
“Something we keep going back to in thinking about fabrics and silhouettes is what makes these pieces dress up and dress down,” Saylak said. “Silk cotton can easily be thrown over a bikini, but you can also put on heels and wear it to a garden cocktail party.”
The collection, which retails on the brand’s own e-commerce site and stores including Brand Assembly at Lord & Taylor and Thistle & Clover in Brooklyn, ranges from about $250 to $500.