The sisters behind MIRTH caftans have officially dipped their toes in the ever-popular "designer collab" waters—pun intended—thanks to a new collection with Everything But Water, the nationally known resort-wear retailer.
The collection, released earlier this month, includes two new tunics—the Sydney and Amsterdam (both $270)—made of MIRTH-designed, hand-loomed jamdani fabric, plus a relaunch of a prior, sold-out style, the Amagansett, in two colors ($220). All are available online and in select Everything But Water stores around the country including major markets like Miami, New York, and Santa Monica.
MIRTH had already counted Everything But Water among its stockists, which is how Katie McClure and Erin Breen came to know the retailer's co-owner and creative director, Sabra Krock.
"She really tries very hard to find new brands and to keep a really interesting, curated selection of brands at the store," McClure said. "She puts a lot of care into her relationships with her brands, which makes a difference in the product that she has."
After Everything But Water placed several orders with MIRTH, an easy synergy between the brand founders became apparent—plus, Everything But Water customers loved the MIRTH caftan fabric—and a collaboration unfolded naturally. Together, the women brainstormed changes in length and style to already-existing MIRTH designs to create new versions without reinventing the wheel.
The collaborative process "was pretty seamless," McClure said, thanks to a mutual understanding of each others' brands and aesthetics. "I wish we could do [collaborations] all the time because they're fun and creative," she said. "As we grow, we have more and more capabilities to do this kind of thing."
In fact, the process has inspired MIRTH to pursue more collabs—there are some in the works, though, for now, McClure is mum on with whom.
It wasn't all easy, though—because MIRTH uses only high-quality, hand-spun fabrics from actual Indian artisans, production is a more complex (and time-consuming) beast. Part of the collaboration's success is owed to Krock's flexibility and understanding of that fact, McClure said.
"It's not like you can just call someone be like, 'we want to change this tunic and make it shorter,'" she explained. "I can't just snap my fingers and shoot you a sample. We both have to give and take a little bit and understand the nuances of an artisan in his village taking many, many, many, many hours just to set up a loom."
Beyond an understanding of the craft (and an appreciation for travel and the products it inspires), there's also a mutual respect for each business's ethics. Both prioritize social and environmental causes: A portion of MIRTH sales proceeds go toward child welfare and education initiatives in Jaipur, India; and Everything But Water recently launched its own sustainability effort dedicated to ocean conservation.
"I love that they have this underlying mindset of, it's great to do all of this, but let's do something else to help the world or people or the environment—let's focus some energy there, too," McClure said.
And then there's the fact of name recognition: Everything But Water has a reputation, and a design partnership is likely to elevate the MIRTH brand, too.
"It's an incredible opportunity to get to work with such an established brand. It's been around for a very long time. My 14-year-old niece freaked out," McClure said. "The more important thing, though, is that it's not just placing an order—it's that we got to collaborate. We got to share social media; we have a story together, communicating the same things to both of our customers. I think that side of it is just as important."