Quiksilver collaborates with artist Serena Mitnik-Miller for Fall line
In the quaint beachside community of Outer Sunset, San Francisco, Quiksilver discovered the new muse for its Fall collection: artist/designer Serena Mitnik-Miller.
After catching a glimpse of her artwork, John Moore, new head of the Quiksilver project design team, flew straight to San Francisco to proposition the artist. After sharing his vision, talks soon led to an agreement.
“I saw her world online and basically willed it to happen cosmically,” Moore said. “Actually, after stalking her through the World Wide Web, I flew up and begged her to do it!” With mutual excitement, the “perfect” partnership began.
Mitnik-Miller and the Quiksilver team worked hand in hand to turn her designs and artwork into the collection’s stunning, original prints and patterns. Her captivating luminous watercolors, household vintage treasures and personal wardrobe served as the foundation for the line of beach-inspired prints.
The basic formula is sticking to the classics: calm and collected fashions with a distinctive Mitnik-Miller flair. “It’s just the simple recipe of beautiful cloth adorned with original art in easy silhouettes that make women feel great,” Moore articulated.
Moore found inspiration by simply hanging out with the artist and seeing her in her natural habitat. Taking turns flying back and forth between LA and San Fran, the two developed a trusting bond. Mitnik-Miller’s easy and comfortable style, inspired by daily life in the sand dunes of Outer Sunset, proved to be an excellent match with Quiksilver.
“I am a purist and I love the classics, lots of denim, but I like to add a little flair with vintage or handmade,” she said. “My art is an abstract interpretation of my impression of the natural world.”
Now more than a year and a half in duration, the collaboration has not only borne fruit as a Fall 2011 line, but will continue through 2012, with three more Serena-inspired collections coming down the pipeline.
“I have always had respect for Quiksilver and their acknowledgment and support of the female surfer,” Mitnik-Miller said. “My personal bond with the ocean has been a constant inspiration and this is something that has held strong through my life and work.”
Although new to much of the process, Mitnik-Miller was a force to be reckoned with in creating the collection. Moore said she was “always inspiring and delightfully stubborn – I mean that in the best possible way. She always pushes us forward, never wanting to do the same thing twice.”
It was Mitnik-Miller’s “water and color” he initially found attractive. “Water and Color. Just like life. What more is there?” he explained.
Each side brought new life to the designs, resulting in an explosion of artistic energy. “(Serena offered) her amazing talent, incredible taste level and her closet. Hopefully, we brought the vision to do something that was not currently in the marketplace and the platform to make it happen,” Moore said.
The collaboration, which Mitnik-Miller terms “easy breezy,” was practically pulled off without a hitch. The greatest challenge, according to the artist, was grasping all the production processes and lingo.
“It is amazing how much work goes into one design. I have never been formally trained in clothing design, so it has been very educational,” the new painter-turned-designer said.
With two artists for parents and creativity running through her veins, Mitnik-Miller has always used her art to express herself. “I guess it was just bound to happen,” she said of her artistic career.
Her real passion has become combining the two parallel worlds of art and fashion. “I like the simplicity in each medium, but also how fashion can be functional art,” she explained.
As an artist, Mitnik-Miller focuses her watercolors on geometric and ocean themes, influenced by the beach at her doorstep, which she fashions into patterns of color and concentric shapes. The unmistakable influence of the Outer Sunset community and her art is exhibited in pieces from the Indian Summer linen dress to the soft Neighborhood cardigan.
Beyond the mark of her brush, Mitnik-Miller literally left her mark on the pieces with the handtag that accompanies each item, which Moore describes as a “little Serena painting.” The words on the tag tell all about the designs: “water and color collide in a transparent and organic form that mimics the elusive boundary at the edge of the sea.”
In the end, both sides walked away pleased. “It’s a new beginning for both of us,” Moore said.