From Concept to Reality: The Inspiring Story of Mien as a Sustainable Brand

Wearwell's Co-Founder, Emily Kenney, chats with the Founder + Creative Director at Mien, Lisa Hsieh, based in Long Beach, CA. Lisa talks about how she’s inspired by fine art and film, why she stopped designing for other brands and decided to start her own, and her favorite Mien styles.

Emily: I’m so excited to be chatting with you, Lisa! Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Lisa: Hello, I'm the founder and creative director of Mien, a sustainability-focused womenswear line based in California. I design the entire collection then we cut, sew, and dye in small batches here in L.A. by our small factory partners. I live in Long Beach, which is just about 20 minutes outside of Downtown L.A. with my husband, our two young children, and our very old but sweet west highland terrier named Winston.

Mien | Wearwell Sustainable, Ethical Clothing and Accessories

Emily: What motivated you to start Mien?

Lisa: I've been an apparel designer for nearly 15 years now. After designing for other clothing brands for over a decade, it was time to create a brand of my own, where I can design at my own pace and create styles that I wish I could find on the market. I was also pregnant when I started Mien and saw a severe lack of quality-made clothing for pregnancy wear. I set out to find a local fabric mill to create a luxurious certified organic cotton fabric and designed an initial capsule collection of four styles that could be worn from pre-, during, and post-pregnancy, with coordinating childrenswear as well. My brand took off from there.

Emily: How did your interest in sustainable fashion begin?

Lisa: When I started Mien almost 9 years ago, sustainable fashion wasn't prevalent or even top of mind for consumers at all. Organic foods were just beginning to show up in supermarkets and I saw an ever increasing awareness for putting better quality foods into our bodies and made the connection that we should be wearing better quality garments as well – not just for our physical health, but also that of the planet.

Lakeside Wide Leg Jumpsuit | Wearwell Sustainable, Ethical Clothing and Accessories

Lakeside Wide Leg Jumpsuit, Antique Bronze

Emily: What are your must-have styles from Mien’s collection?

Lisa: The Lakeside Wide Leg Jumpsuit is my brand's signature style so that’s first on the list. Then the Painters Oversized Shirt Jacket, which is timeless and versatile.

Emily: I love those two styles! The Cruise Midi Dress is a personal favorite of mine, it’s so soft and flattering. What inspires you when designing for Mien?

Lisa: Mien's styles are made to fit our ever-changing bodies, and many styles are also pregnancy- and nursing-friendly. I have a degree in fine art so my line has an artistic bent with interesting silhouettes and subtle details that are unexpected while still offering effortless style – that the wearer makes entirely their own – ease, and elegant versatility.

I love art history so I enjoy watching lush period films with spectacular sets and costume designs. I'm also inspired to design clothes to complement the lives of busy parents like myself and my community of friends and customers who are artists, makers, and designers since many of our customers are creative souls themselves.

Painters Oversized Shirt Jacket | Wearwell Sustainable, Ethical Clothing and Accessories

Painters Oversized Shirt Jacket, Rich Teal

Emily: Love the versatility and inclusivity in your designs! In three words, how do you describe your brand’s aesthetic?

Lisa: Artistic, distinctive, effortless.

Emily: What’s next for Mien – any exciting initiatives or growth that you’re looking forward to?

Lisa: I'm soon introducing Mien's first soirée-ready style in a gorgeous, elegant fabric that is new to the brand. The brand has comfort down pat. This new style will be the start of a cocktail attire appropriate, celebration-centered collection with our signature artistic touch. We're very excited to share it soon!

Emily: Wow, we can’t wait to see the new collection – it sounds gorgeous! Thrilled to have Mien part of wearwell.

Shop the Mien Collection on wearwell.

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