Founded in 2010, Myrrhia Fine Knitwear is a contemporary women’s knitwear company headquartered in Oakland, CA. We make clothes that are not costumes, not uniforms, but a form of self-expression. Our inspiration is self-actualization: to reach one’s full potential. We work only with yarns and fibers that are grown and spun in the USA, choosing local and organic whenever possible.
Designer Bio & Interview
Myrrhia Fine Knitwear is a continuation of a family tradition. Designer and entrepreneur Myrrhia Resneck’s maternal great-grandfather started out peddling clothes out of the trunk of a car. Her grandfather and great-uncle opened a chain of women’s clothing stores in the midwest. Myrrhia’s paternal grandmother taught her to knit at age 7. She designed and completed her first project herself the same week, a little pair of green slippers. Fast forward a couple decades and now Myrrhia produces a line of knits and accessories inspired by friends and family, technology, and space. Myrrhia also offers swatch and sample development for designers.
Where are you from?
I’m originally from Santa Cruz, CA. I was born in the mountains and moved into town when I was seven years old. Santa Cruz is a community that values healthy, local, organic food and there are lots of farms in the area. It is also a popular tourist destination for both surfing and hiking, so preserving the natural environment is another strong value of the region. Finally, it is a college town with strong programs in biology and agricultural ecology. During the dot com boom, when I started college, Santa Cruz became a bed-room community for the Silicon Valley.
I spent my high school and college years skateboarding, climbing trees, swimming in the ocean and going to beach-raves. I have a lot of treasured memories from those days, although I realize that that lifestyle can steal your ambition. To gain a new perspective, I moved to Minneapolis for law-school in 2004, then moved to Oakland, CA upon graduation to start my own business in 2007. Oakland is a town that can really challenge you, although there is a lot of opportunity here. I miss Santa Cruz almost every day, but when I was living in Santa Cruz, I wanted to be in the Bay Area where everything was happening.
I grew up watching MTV and drawing ladies in ball gowns and these really detailed geometric patterns that, in retrospect, looked like textiles. I never thought of being a fashion designer, and I don’t have a lot of dreamy feelings about being one. I’ve just always been into making things–all kinds of lanyards and peyote stitch earrings. My grandpa taught me to whittle and my grandma taught me to knit at a young age. My maternal grandfather also ran a women’s clothing store.
What are some things that inspire your designs?
With fashion, I love that I can make something useful and special that someone else can literally “get into.” Fashion is probably the most intimate art form. Style is self-expression. With knitting, I get to design the fabric and the garment, so it is extremely satisfying. I see so much untapped potential in humanity–potential for joy and connection, for scientific exploration, for spiritual exploration. My company isn’t just about pretty clothes, or just about me and my point of view stylistically, it’s about self-actualization for all of us. I hope to be part of the antidote to a culture who treats it’s people–and the environment that sustains them–as disposable.
What are some of your favorite fibers that you like to work with and why?
I prefer natural fibers like wool and cotton. I like that these organic fibers are available locally (USA) grown and milled. They are durable and feel great.
Who are some of your fashion icons and why?
I love the optimism of the early ’60’s mod and futuristic aesthetic. Paco Rabanne, Andre Courreges, and Pierre Cardin were such huge innovators. Alexander McQueen’s textiles, and in particular the way that he used patterns to enhance the body’s curves, are a huge influence. Jane Fonda as Barbarella and Tina Turner as Aunty Entity are totally iconic to me as strong women of the future. I can’t forget the glam rock space queens David Bowie and Joan Jett when she was in the Runaways.
Who do you see wearing your designs?
Professional women who are health-conscious and interested in art, technology and science. I like to think I have something for everyone.
What would you like people to think of when they see or hear “Myrrhia”?
Enduring strength and hope for the future
What are the future goals of Myrrhia Fine Knitwear?
To evolve beyond the barriers of trend. To grow my company so that we can serve the needs of the community in the form of livlihoods. Also, to continue to be able to utilize sustainable materials in a local supply chain with fiber from Northern California and wool and cotton that is grown and harvested in a sustainable way.