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Megan Huntz

April 30, 2013

Image: Courtesy of Alissa Guterman

Years ago on Project Runway, they had a designer named Uli and I adored her amazingly simple, gorgeous beachy cocktail dresses. Then, I met Megan Huntz and fell instantly in love with her collection for the same reason I was drawn to the similar aesthetic of Uli’s—effortless elegance all wrapped up in beautiful dresses, tunics, tanks, and stylish pants.

The Atlanta-based designer and I met while I was editor at DailyCandy and I profiled one of my favorite collections in a short piece. Ever since, her style stuck has with me. She recently launched a line of dapper ties for men under Huntz & White, so it was the perfect excuse to see what else she has up her gorgeous sleeve.

danapop: Silk is a notoriously difficult fabric to work with – why did you choose it for almost all of your pieces?

Megan Huntz: When I started my dress line, I had been working in the Italian denim industry for about 5 years, specifically working a lot on the development of washings and distress treatments for jeans. After working on jeans for such a long time, I felt the need for dresses – the dress being the quintessential piece of a woman’s wardrobe. I chose silk because it’s delicate but also very resistant. I began experimenting with dye and washing to distress it, and loved the results. The destruction of something luxurious to render it completely unique fascinated me.


Image of mountain puddles: Courtesy of Jamie Hopper

dp: When I met you back in 2010, you were dying fabrics in the ocean which I found so interesting both in terms of the amount of time it took, but also in the effect it had on the garment – does water still play into your work?

MH: In my latest collection, I have experimented with stone washing silk in nature. I had these huge pieces of fabric rolling around in puddles on a mountain. I photographed them, catching the reflection of the sky and the trees in the surface of the water, and developed a series of digital prints on silk from them. So, I continue to work on the textile enrichment in a physical way, but I’ve also taken it a step further making it into something conceptual as well.

I also did a fashion-art show in a multi media installation presentation last November called Souvenir. It was base around a piece of pink shantung silk that I took on an Italian journey; it joined me on my adventures and has the scars to prove it. It was documented then made into a 10 piece collection and was presented in a multimedia installation, featuring a special guest appearance by performance artist, Kiki Blood, at Space 2 in Atlanta, GA.

My next show will be on June 8th during Modern Atlanta. Keep in touch for more details about this upcoming show.

dp: You lived in Europe for a while … how did living in Spain and Italy influence your creative process? How does your hometown of Atlanta play into things today?


Image: Courtesy of David Smith

MH: My formation as a fashion designer happened completely in Italy, from studying and working there, and as a result I focus on the fit, quality of fabrics and try to make wearable yet unique pieces with a strong concept backing it all up. Italian style is all about elegance with ease, and personal style coming through in subtle ways. One of the strongest ideas that I took away from living in Italy is using local resources, perfecting craft and harnessing local genius; so it’s a dream of mine to work more with luxurious cottons and cotton-silk blends. We have some amazing cotton here but unfortunately the textile industry has been whittled down mostly to jersey for mens undershirts … and I’d love to see more higher end textiles and apparel manufacturing developed here. All of the skeletons of these old factories are around us, and hopefully as the demand for local and US manufacturing grows, we will see a renaissance in the apparel industry here in the Southeast.

I love living and working in Atlanta. I feel a kinship with many other artists, musicians, photographers and graphic designers here. There is a warmth to things here, and a lot of creative space here for me to grow, and do my businesses and my art on my own terms. I also see people craving style and culture here, ready to be introduced to new things from a global perspective and embracing the great creative things that are happening on a local level as well.

dp: Tell me about Huntz & White and how the collaboration with Trevor works.

MH: Trevor inspired me to act on this project, and his own personal style and flair have a big influence on our product. Now that I am working on a menswear accessory, I feel like a whole new world has opened up for me as a designer. Menswear is completely different from womenswear. It sounds obvious, but where womenswear is full of fantasy, the shapes and styles are limitless, menswear is much more so about nuance, detail and small twists and tweaks on basics. People had asked me to do mens ties for as long as I can remember, applying the same techniques I have been working on with the dresses. So, we took that concept and began over-dyeing linens and raw silks and hand picking special dead stock fabrics from Italy to create this limited edition of mens neckwear. It has the same nonchalance and ease (exclusive yet accessible) as my dresses do. Dresses for the ladies, ties for the gentleman. I think that creates a very nice symmetry!

dp: You hand-sew everything out of your Atlanta studio, how do you keep up with the demand, especially in today’s realm of marketing and global production?

MH: I make all of my own patterns and prototypes and do quite a bit of sewing on custom pieces myself, but I also outsource sewing for larger orders to a small factory outside of Atlanta. Production is always a challenge, especially if you’re talking about manufacturing in the US. Keeping everything close and nearby is something that I am passionate about though, for many reasons: quality control over my product, stimulating my local economy and trying to grow the fashion industry here in Atlanta, which is also a HUGE challenge. That said, I am always looking to grow my network of people working in apparel manufacturing and textiles.

dp: Who is the Megan Huntz woman and do you have a style icons?

MH: The Megan Huntz woman is someone who loves to be elegant yet unique, like the best, absolutely effortless version of themselves. True beauty comes from the inside out, and my dresses sparks a feeling in the woman who wears them.

Can I touch on one more thing? For as much as I love my country for it’s risk takers, free thinkers, our diversity and innovation that inspires the whole world – I’d like to talk for just a second about style icons in the American fashion industry and how, for the most part, it completely grosses me out. The obsession with celebrity and the flamboyance and ostentation associated with it, has skewed values (or is a reflection on our skewed values here in the States. Either/or, maybe it’s a combination of both). The focus of American fashion design is attached to a prescribed (and dated) “image” fueled by bling, a false sense of wealth and superficiality, encourages a lack of intellect and celebrates bad taste. There is very little value put into intelligence, real design, quality of craft, concept, and creative integrity in the fashion industry in the US. The anti-dote? I don’t pretend to have all of the answers to this dilemma, but turning off the reality TV shows and putting models back on the cover of American Vogue might be a good place to start.