A conversation with Merida’s new creative director, Roxanne Hanna, as she shares her inspiration for the Tailormade Collection.
Q: What was the initial inspiration for the Tailormade Collection?
RH: Initially the concept was developed around menswear, and as it evolved we were drawn to sartorial detailing. I realized that there was so much to explore and get inspired by. Our lead designer Martin Emlein and I were in New York over the summer and met with luxury bespoke tailor Miller’s Oath. We also visited the flagship store of menswear designer Thom Browne and the exhibit “Artist/Rebel/Dandy” at the RISD Museum. That triggered a lot of ideas that led to Tailormade.
Q: What was your creative process like, working one-on-one with Martin?
RH: Tailormade was our first collaboration together and it worked beautifully. Martin is an incredibly talented textile designer and really translated our ideas into stunning textiles. We wanted Tailormade to reflect a true “capsule” collection, where there was one design that acts as a foundation—Harris—and the other design elements work with each other. These are rugs that can live in the same space and transition well, yet they each have a distinct personality. We did a lot of refining of scale, color and design along the way and I think it paid off.
Q: How does the new Tailormade Collection build on Merida’s legacy of product development?
RH: We wanted to create a collection that evolves on our heritage of innovative craftsmanship; Tailormade reflects the high standard of quality that Merida is known for. Using undyed wool yarns and constructions that mimic our plant fiber rugs creates depth and character, which makes each rug unique.
Merida is also known for having the best quality edge finishes in the US, so we brought some new finishing concepts to the artisans in our workroom. One idea was inspired by leather elbow patches on men’s sweaters and blazers. Within weeks we had innovated an entirely new finishing technique.
Q: What do you attribute your love of textiles to?
RH: I have always been fascinated by textiles and how they are constructed. I started knitting when I was 6 and by the time I was 8 I was deconstructing and reconstructing clothing by hand stitching. I sewed clothing and accessories through high school… as an undergrad I took a textile history course and it changed my life. I wasn’t sure where my career path would take me but I knew that I needed to be around textiles.
Q: Has anyone else in your family inspired you creatively?
RH: I draw a lot of inspiration from strong women. My grandmother had a successful career in technology and was also a talented painter so I’d like to think I inherited some of her left-brain/right-brain balance. My husband’s grandmother, who’s 94, was a studio director for a New York luxury linens company. Her embroidery work is museum-worthy. She inspires me because she’s sharp-witted, extremely creative, and very strong willed.
Q: What creative influences do you draw inspiration from?
RH: Travel feeds my soul and opens me creatively. Sometimes I need the space to observe the interactions between people, places and things. Designers inspire me, too, and I’m lucky that at Merida we get to collaborate with so many talented designers and creative thinkers who appreciate the possibilities of textiles as much as I do.