When a fashion brand has a social mission, that mission often overshadows the actual clothes being designed. Since its founding in 2010, Maiyet—the New York-based luxury line that taps artisans from across the globe to build its ready-to-wear, handbags, shoes and jewelry—has been determined to make sure it did not suffer a similar fate.
This season, under the creative direction of cofounder Kristy Caylor, the line finally feels like a quiet contender. The bags, jewelry and shoes were already a hit—for Spring 2014, a clear square-heel sandal will surely sell well—but now the clothes are equally as appealing.
Caylor spent several years running Band of Outsiders, and you could see remnants of her time there in the white shirt dresses with asymmetrical hems as well as the sheer organza t-shirt dresses in periwinkle and raspberry. But where Band of Outsiders’ woman veers toward 1970s prep, Maiyet’s is much more comfortable in the here and now. The floral slip dresses and a metallic tank-and-trouser set looked decidedly contemporary instead of a throwback to another era. Caylor is also smart about when and where to show off the work of her artisans. A navy blue slip dress, for instance, had a hand stitch running down the center, giving it a crafted feel. A simple white dress, printed with the phrase “No Goats on the Loom,” might’ve taken the idea a bit too far, but it got the point across. Maiyet wants to change fashion, and look good doing it.