Local Legend: MIRI's Chic Design Pro Shows Off Her Winter Style



One of the top reasons we love where we live (#DCpride) is that we have no shortage of multi-talented, world-traveling creative types who make their mark on the city and represent the District wherever they go (like this biking babe). Our latest It Girl obsession? Mera Anwar, an Olney-based designer whose clothing line, MIRI, epitomizes the intersection of global influences: flawless European tailoring, exotic Asian embroidery, and edgy detailing inspired by American urban hubs.

We've been stalking following Anwar's adventures since her impeccable style stopped us in our tracks at our launch party last year, and finally caught up with the self-described nomad for a quick photo sesh. Click through to find out where this up-and-coming design pro shops, the celeb she'd love to outfit, and where you can buy her gorgeous designs. Get to know her now, because — and you heard it here first —this gal is goin' places.

mera1-slideTell us a little bit about yourself. What are your passions outside of fashion?
"For most of my life, I’ve lived in the suburbs of Washington. I have been lucky enough to live and work in a few amazing cities, including D.C., New York, Paris, and LA. Living in different places has cultured me and played a huge part in building my design identity — travel is key to getting inspired! I started my career in fashion while living in Paris and working for designer Jasmin Santenen. Shortly after, I moved to New York City to attend Parsons. Currently, I have two studios, one in D.C. where I design the collection, and one in New York where we do production.

Aside from fashion, I’ve become extremely passionate and cautious about what I eat. This stemmed from my time in Paris — organic produce and whole foods are readily available there, while in the U.S., GMO’s are the norm. Most Americans have no clue about the toxins they eat on a daily basis...although it is great to see the progress that our country has made towards living healthier lifestyles.

Tell us about your clothing line.
"MIRI is a contemporary women’s clothing label. Inspired by my travels, I have infused inspirations from different corners of the world."

How and when did you know this was something you wanted to do? Have you always been into fashion?
"I’ve always had a knack for design, and I knew that fashion would be the medium."

What was it like getting started?
"Hands down, the decision to start my own line has been the most challenging, yet rewarding venture of my life. It all started when I was given the opportunity of a lifetime to present my first collection during NYFW. It was a great stepping-stone into the industry, and I learned so much in the process."

Mera wears a Stella lace peplum top, MIRI neoprene skirt, LaRok vest, BCBG coat, Prada shoes, Michele watch, and bracelets from Hermes, Tai and ASOS.
mera2slide
What challenges have you encountered while launching your own line?
"One of my challenges has been to learn the business side of things. (Business plans, contracts, taxes, payroll…eek)."

What's been the best part so far?
"Receiving recognition for my work is what makes it worth it at the end of the day. As if designing weren’t rewarding enough, it’s great to know that people appreciate my collection."

What's the defining concept behind MIRI? What is the line all about?
"It is a fun and free-spirited label modeled around luxe fabrics and modern silhouettes. My line is all about making women feel comfortable, while providing them with high-quality clothing. This is why I pay close attention to detail, fit, and tailoring."

Where can we shop your line?
"The collection is currently available at ILWYW, Dia Boutique, and will soon be available at Runway2Street, LABELS, and Mademoiselle Catwalk in Paris."

Who would be your dream celeb client?
"Mira Duma! I love her eclectic style, and she’d be the perfect reflection of our aesthetic."

Dolce & Gabbana bag.
mera-3-slideHow would you describe your personal style? Is it reflected in your line, or are they different?
"It’s definitely a reflection of my personal style ­— I see the MIRI girl maturing and experimenting with silhouettes and styles just as I do."

What's your favorite thing to wear for a casual day? A night out?
"You can’t go wrong with a tie-dye t-shirt dress! It’s become a wardrobe staple of mine, making it casual with a pair of flat booties, or throwing on some heels and a statement necklace for a night out."

Who are your style icons/inspirations?
"Daphne Guinness has extraordinary style. I would love to raid her closet."

What's one thing every girl should invest in?
"A pair of statement shoes, a classic leather handbag, a perfectly tailored blazer!"

What's your single favorite piece in your whole wardrobe?
"Oh gosh, that’s a hard one! I really love my Byte by Teso leopard fur cape for the winter."

Mera wears a MIRI Amelia drop-waist dress, fur cape from Byte by Teso, Alexander McQueen clutch, Michele watch, Tai bracelet, and Walter Steiger booties.
mera4-slide
What are your favorite places to shop in D.C.? Elsewhere in the world?
"The shops at Friendship Heights in D.C. — Santa Maria Novella is the highlight. My favorite stores in NYC are Barney’s, Opening Ceremony, and Kirna Zabete (a personal favorite). And L’eclaireur in Paris, a concept store that carries pieces that will make your jaw drop."

Favorite thing about D.C.?
"The museums and monuments!"

What's your ideal way to spend a day?
"A day that involves work and play — a work day that involves being creative (sketching, designing prints, and draping), along with working on the business side of things (meetings, emails, pricing collection, etc.) As much as I would love to design all day, spending some time on the numbers is vital. Ideally, I like to end the day with a nice dinner with family or friends."

What looks/trends/elements are you most excited about for Spring/Summer '13?
"I am really looking forward to wearing light, airy, iridescent fabrics, like the MIRI button-down oxfords, destroyed denim, and the baroque pencil skirt from our current collection."

Tell us your fashion Don't.
"Never wear anything that doesn’t fit your personality. Trendy doesn’t necessarily mean stylish."

A close-up of those Walter Steiger beauties.


Photographed by