It’s difficult to build a luxury brand from scratch. Especially in this decade, when conglomerates rely on century-old names to plump their bottom lines, and out-of-the-box talents like Nicolas Ghesquiere and Christian Lacroix are seen as challenges to retailers rather than blessings.
But after two years and six seasons, socially conscious luxury label Maiyet is carving out a commendable niche for itself in the crazy world of fashion and retail. With the support of Barneys New York and Net-a-Porter, Maiyet’s story—a human rights lawyer aims to bring work to artisans the world over, creating jobs and luxury goods in the process—is now fairly well known. But what’s important about the clothes is that they stand on their own without the backing of that harrowing bio. And that’s especially true of fall 2013.
Creative director Gabriella Zanzani leans toward the gypset look, and in the past it could look generic. This season, however, she took more of a stance and put more personality into the clothes. The collection was inspired by a journey through the Himalayas, and those references were obvious in the oversize parkas and loose skirts in muted, subtly printed fabrics.
Where Maiyet stands to really succeed, though, is in the accessories. The shoes, bags and jewelry—all boho-but-not-too-boho—have a certain It-factor. And when that It-moment happens, it means your brand has really arrived.