Born and raised in Los Angeles, Shaina Mote is a self-taught fashion designer specializing in timeless, sustainable and wearable essentials for the modern woman’s wardrobe. And today, production of her eponymous label, and Mote herself, remain rooted in the Los Angeles area.
In her latest collection, “The Essentials,” Mote reinvents the best and most seasonless of her first collection, once again, after success in reiterating her bestsellers in 2014 for “The Core Collection.” The label launched in 2012 and is sold internationally — within select boutiques including Barneys Japan, Moda Operandi, Totokaelo, The Dreslyn and Mohawk General Store.
She calls this year’s collection a “new and improved take” on the Core Collection, including new styles and a mix of her longtime favorite pieces, (including the tie dress, which has been her best-selling piece for eight years, as well as the genesis of this latest collection).
Beginning her career in fashion as a buyer for a trend-driven, fast-fashion company, Mote found the grass is “greener” on the other side. She developed a strong perspective, and was determined to account for the people, processes and textiles embedded into her work, and ensure that the foundation endures. And cheap labor and materials are not in the equation — Mote values the local vendor relationships and direct community impact.
A typical Shaina Mote garment takes about six to eight weeks to create, with custom-made orders adding a touch of personal guidance to source every button, trim, yard of fabric and zipper.
True to this savored approach, the Shaina Mote woman considers style over trends and is, all-in-all, a conscious consumer seeking visibility into production.
“For my collection, I try to use as much U.S.-based, organic and sustainably produced material as I can with low-environmental impact dyes or washing processes,” said Mote. Much of the collection is rendered in choice Italian and Japanese fabrics, to achieve the desired effect. For the consumer, this means designs that are durable and easy to wear and care for.
Mote believes sustainability “comes down to the design itself.” Her decision-making is highly considered, especially in design. She prioritizes “cross-seasonal wearability, timelessness, and design elements that lend themselves to being reinvented,” and everything is built to last.
When asked whether sustainability is a requirement for fashion brands today, Mote said, “I know (sadly) that it is not essential to a brand’s success or mission,” but still she has hope. The Shaina Mote label aims to expand its scope into new categories and expand its community of conscious shoppers — with or without the industry in suit.