Atlanta-based designer Megan Huntz talks ethical fashion, minimalism and the future of her growing brand
STORY: Caroline Cox
PHOTO: Stephen Payne
Slowly but surely, the fashion industry at-large appears to be in the midst of a sea change. As reported by outlets from the New York Times to the BBC, more consumers have started to shun “fast fashion” (think: cheaply priced—and made—garments that barely last a season’s worth of washes before falling apart) and are opting for quality, sustainably made clothing instead. “I think we’re just at the beginning of this ethical fashion revolution,” says local designer Megan Huntz. “I think it will catch on more and more.”
This is a welcome shift for Huntz, a Poncey-Highland native who has prioritized sustainable and ethical manufacturing practices with her line since launching it in 2010. After leaving Atlanta to study industrial design at the Pratt Institute, she cut her teeth internationally by living and working in Spain and Italy, where she studied fashion at the Domus Academy in Milan. “I have a work history in the denim industry,” she explains. “Jeans and denim are a market based on trend. I saw mass manufacturing on a certain level and decided to do the opposite of that for myself because I have different values.” Huntz returned to her Southern roots, and her eponymous line was born.
Huntz’s designs have always been created locally. Once the brand grew to the point at which making each item herself was impossible, she began working with local manufacturers. Her pieces are currently made at a mom-and-pop factory in Doraville, and Huntz works directly with the seamstresses, whom she describes as “truly craftspeople—their work is amazing.” For the past several months, she and her team have been hard at work on her fall collection, which launched in full this month. The line includes a pant, skirt, shirtdress, pullover T-shirt dress, blazer and one size fits most kimono-style dress.
This collection also features a twist: Each piece was designed to be worn in every season. “It was inspired by this movement of people paring down their closets,” the designer says. “There’s this minimalism theme where you only have your favorite things, so every piece is meant to be year-round.”
Huntz isn’t designing for the person who doesn’t care about the quality of the garments, where they came from or whether workers were paid fairly to make them. She’s designing, she says, for the creative, eco-conscious, modern woman who wants transitional, functional and chic clothing—the woman who wants to invest in a brand with a message she can stand behind.
When describing the type of woman she designs for, it’s based on her firsthand experience of surrounding herself with artists, creatives, designers, photographers, shop owners and the like. “I’m just blown away by all the amazing women I meet all the time,” she says.
While Huntz loves being an Atlanta based designer, she wishes the city did more to foster community and nurture its fashion scene. “As far as sharing resources or being able to network in that way, that’s really not here,” she says. “I would call a friend in Nashville or Portland before there’s anybody remotely available to talk to in Atlanta. We really don’t have that network.” Despite this, she feels lucky to have found a tribe of creative, supportive women who provide her with inspiration.
With her latest line on the web as well as on racks in her pop-up boutique in Poncey-Highland and at the Westside’s Brick+Mortar, Huntz is toying with where to expand next. She’s been hand-pouring a line of candles, and she recently added a handful of roll-on signature scents to her inventory. No matter what lies ahead, Huntz says she’ll stick to the values that have helped shape her brand into what she hopes her customers see as eco-minded style that remains elegant, timeless and chic.
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