FashioNXT kicked off last night, with three more night to go. Tonight is the fullest, featuring the UpNXT Accelerator competition, a wearable technology competition, and new collection from designers including last year’s UpNXT winner and Mercury favorite Myriam Dyer of Myriam Marcela. Best known for renewing garments and transforming them into unique, one-of-a-kind pieces, unconventional prints and patterns add to the complexity of her work, and Dyer should be given credit as one of Portland’s most innovative apparel designers.

I recently caught up with Myriam at her studio about what she has planned for tonight’s presentation and beyond.

Myriam Marcela
  • Jeff Wong
  • Myriam Marcela

MERCURY—What do you have planned for FashioNXT 2015?
I immediately thought of a safari when developing this collection in my head. I can see buttons. I can see trench coats and tunics and bell-bottom pants. There are about eight looks, but each look includes three pieces. I’m going to incorporate two vintage pieces made from silks and cottons. I’m doing simple but very cool fabrics, and will of course incorporate prints.

Do you have plans to expand?
Absolutely. My vision is to have my clothes sold in Italy, France, Mexico and London. I don’t wish to have my own store, but rather have my clothes sold in local boutiques. My label is very exclusive. I don’t want to expand in a way where I need to produce in the thousands. That’s not in my interest. My idea is to produce a minimum of 15-20 pieces of one design in order to give my customer a more exclusive, limited-edition experience, which is why I love vintage renewal.

  • Myriam Marcela

You seem to have a distinct vision that ties in to your roots, and contemporary culture. Can you talk more about this?
I’ll be honest. As a mother, wife, and interpreter, I encounter many challenges that often make me question myself, and my work. At the same time, I know that I have this incredible passion to design. I focus on creating a balance, which thankfully comes from the support of my family. Making money isn’t the focus for me, but I think about how I can use my passion and creativity to help my family and community. As a designer, I want to do my part, which involves having the means to support others, like my assistant. I look forward to the day when I can give her more hours and when she can become more of a resource for me while traveling to buy fabrics. I want to create a team that can help me better develop all these ideas. I don’t want to add to the landfill of all those minimum wage jobs that exist in China and even Mexico, where you can get very good prices on manufacturing.

In order for me to be a designer, I have to think about creating art that can benefit everybody, not just myself. Although there are times when I just want to walk away, because it’s a challenging business, I know I can’t quit. Fashion has its ups and downs, but there’s always light at the end of the tunnel. I just have to be patient.

FashioNXT runs through Saturday, full schedule and tickets here.