From a table set up in SoHo, NY, Pamela Mayer launched her first line in 1998 of handcrafted, goatskin leather goods. As a recent college grad, Mayer began with a simple business model. She would drive down to the city in the morning, set up shop on Mercer Street, make some cash and drive back at night. In essence, Mayer was able to design and produce her own creations with utmost freedom. Those were the days before kids and her Narrowsburg boutique, Mayer Wasner. Her path to the present was an organic evolution towards owning the blossoming business she stewards today.
As a Fashion Design major at Pratt, Pamela landed a coveted internship with conceptual artist and clothing designer J. Morgan Puett. It was there that Pamela learned the fundamentals of fashion design and production – sourcing materials, dying textiles, pattern making and tailoring. She became enamored with textiles and understood the importance of working with skilled artisans. Pamela’s talent and eye for textiles was undeniable; upon graduation, she was hired as a pattern maker and worked under the tutelage of Gary Graham, a designer whose pieces can now be found hanging in Mayer Wasner.
In a move that would heavily influence Mayer’s future, J. Morgan Puett eventually established an artist colony upstate, saying goodbye to her New York City studio. Prior to this, Morgan made weekend excursions to the country accompanied by other artists and colleagues, among them Pamela. Though she had no ties to the region, like her mentor, Pamela began shifting her gaze toward the country. “I loved nature and the space. I was looking for a lifestyle change—to be able to breath and reconnect.”
Pamela sought a space to create and found it in a lofty studio on Main Street in Narrowsburg. And timing so had it that the designer was ready to transition from leather goods to her own clothing line. Cognizant of lessons learned while working with Morgan and Gary, Pamela dedicated herself to maintaining her brand small-scale and exquisite. She selects top quality fabric producers and collaborates with local artisans—her fabric dyer is in Ellenville and pattern maker in Equinunk. And while she began with a no-frills wholesale business, a few sold-out trunk shows inspired Pamela to open her own retail space.
Mayer describes her collection as “avant simple.” Her pieces are signature, dramatic silhouettes that appear both edgy and feminine—the kind of garment you could throw on for any occasion. “I wear my clothing and I want to feel pulled together, but be able to throw them in the washer and travel with them. I’m very active so they have to be functional.”
Active indeed. This month, Pamela is preparing for a busy Christmas season—and a bold selection of her goods can be found at the Narrowsburg Indie Mart. Though far from the SoHo sidewalk where she began, her upstate surroundings lend her the space and flexibility to continue to realize her passion for creating and offering customers unique clothing that endures through the cycles.