Sunday, June 23, 2024

Erika Maish

DESIGNER TO WATCH

Erika Maish is the LA-born designer behind the womenswear brand Erika Maish. She received her BA in textile design and recently received her MFA from Central Saint Martins in London. The common thread through all her work is about subverting materials and molding them in ways they are not meant to go. For example, can tabs becoming a suit with a collar and pockets? She thinks the most significant area for innovation in design is through the materials that designers are using and how this can impact the environment.

MFA Graduate Collection
Her MFA Collection' American Psychic' focuses on the longstanding connection between American politics, the desert, spirituality, and the supernatural. It pokes fun at the culture of where she's from while at the same time is a love letter to it. Her main starting point was researching. She learned that Ronald Reagan had the astrologer Joan Quigley advising him while he was in the White House. And that businesses on Wall St have had psychics on their boards. She loves the juxtaposition between the conservative and the esoteric. It demonstrates how closely spirituality and capitalism are intertwined. She wanted to explore this archetype of people leaving the city and trying to find themselves in nature and New Age living. The desert has remained both a place of promise and desolation with all kinds of communities scattered throughout proposing alternative ways of life. She has driven through many areas that have inspired her, such as Sedona, Arco Santi, and Tom Kelly's bottle houses. In the mining town of Rhyolite, Nevada the Joshua trees weren't suited to become lumber for houses. So the miner Tom Kelly began collecting glass bottles from the saloons to build houses. The resourcefulness of these bottle houses inspired her to use found materials like soda can tabs to create something out of waste material. Erika had an image in her head of a businesswoman stranded in the desert reconstructing her clothing out of old can tabs. She's painting them with car paints from the local auto body shop. She's wearing old jewelry she finds. She's looking at the sky hammering the constellations into her dress. She's wearing the massage beads of her car seats, and the crystals that will heal her, embracing her new life in her yoga shorts.

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