Lux Style & Design is proud to house a talented roster of designers and stylists that caters to various audiences in the Houston area, and we want to give you an in-depth look at the inner workings of the brand straight from the founders. Introducing Behind the Brand, a blog series that takes a closer look at the designers and style curators that are featured on the Lux Style & Design platform.
For the inaugural post, we interviewed Merin Guthrie, Founder & CEO of Kit.
Lux Style & Design: When was Kit founded and what was the inspiration behind the brand?
Merin Guthrie: I founded Kit just over three years ago to make women’s clothes better. Clothes never fit me correctly and I felt like the quality had really gone downhill. There had to be a better way; clothes that were classic and well-made and that really fit. I’m really lucky to have three very stylish grandmothers, and their vintage clothes that were passed down to me are just beautiful. They are 50 years old and still look fantastic. What, I wondered, happened to that level of craftsmanship? And was there a place for it now? I wanted to be just as personal as a dressmaker was 50, 60, 70 years ago, but with the ease and accessibility of all of the digital tools we have.
LSD: Describe your style in three words.
MG: Classic, Simple, Feminine.
LSD: How much of your personal style is influenced by your designs?
MG: A ton. When we first started, I was terrified to have too much of my own personality into my design. Then I realized that my favorite styles also happened to be our customers’ favorite styles. Which was sort of a duh moment: I design for busy women who want a seamless experience, and that’s exactly who I am!
LSD: Who/what do you draw inspiration from?
MG: The women around me. I’m not big on supermodels or actresses. I love talking to our customers, hearing what they’re up to, seeing them in action. We send out a survey twice a year to ask what women want to wear. It seems like such an obvious thing to me, but I really don’t see many other brands or designers doing it.
LSD: Out of all the pieces you’ve created, which is your favorite and why?
MG: Actually, I have two and we’re working on them right now.
About a year ago, my mom was nagging me to make her a winter tunic out of this great double faced wool we have. I was eight months pregnant and totally dragged my feet on it. Then we made it… and of course she was totally right. It was like, “How have I lived my life without this??” We’re doing it as a new fall pattern and we just finished a sample that I’m totally in love with. I can tell it’s going to be a customer favorite. Sometimes mom is right (okay, she’s always right).
The next is our one and only wedding dress. I swore I would never do one and I swear we never will after this because the bride and the process have been so amazing. A friend of a friend emailed me to see if we could tailor her mom’s wedding dress, and of course because she came through a friend and it was just tailoring, I said yes. Well… it turned out to be a lot more than that. The dress was much more dated than anyone realized, and the cut just wasn’t right for her. But she wanted to keep the essence of it. We separated the lace and tulle overlay from the dress lining, took out volume from the skirt, and completely re-cut and re-pieced together the lace. Then we made a completely new dress for her to wear underneath it, just a very simple, classic silk faille strapless dress. The effect of the tulle and lace overlay on the faille is stunning, and the bride has been amazing to work with. I can’t wait to see the pictures!
LSD: What should clients expect when creating a custom garment?
MG: They should absolutely expect to be listened to. Sometimes a designer might push back about something, a fabric, let’s say, but they should only be doing that because that fabric really isn’t going to work for that design, let’s say. The core of the design, though, should be a total reflection of what you are looking for. And they should expect the process to take time! We always come across customers who want something super quickly, but if we’re sourcing fabric specially for you, hand drafting a pattern, and more, then you should want that process to take time. Done right, it just does!
LSD: Are there any fashion rules that you live by?
MG: I want to say “NO!”, that I’m completely against fashion rules – that you should do what works for you, white jeans in January if you like – but there is one: buy quality. Quality fabrics, quality construction, quality cuts. A great fabric is going to be your friend: it will drape beautifully, you will be able to wear it for multiple seasons, and it will last longer. Those same things go for cut and construction as well. A well made, well cut garment is going to be something you go back to again and again, and that’s why it’s basically my only rule. The inverse of that rule might be even more instructive: don’t buy crap!
LSD: Where do you hope to see KIT in five years?
MD: I’d love to keep growing! We add new styles and fabrics every season, and I’d love to branch out into more accessories – maybe even shoes and handbags! – and add a retail component to our workshop. We always want to remain super close to and transparent to our customers, so I imagine walking into the Kit workshop and being able to see a seamstress working on your dress.
To learn more information about Kit and to schedule a consultation, email us and we’ll be sure to put you in touch!