Austin's cult-favorite clothing brand seamlessly expands to first brick-and-mortar shop
Miranda Bennett Studio is a refreshing reminder that a company can both do good and look good doing it. Since its launch five years ago, the Austin-based apparel line has operated as a women-led, inclusive, sustainably sourced, and ethically manufactured clothing line. With a mission such as this, MBS's effortlessly chic pieces are merely an added bonus.
Led by Miranda Bennett, the company's owner, designer, and namesake, MBS is expanding from online and pop-up shops to a brick-and-mortar at 1211 E. 11th St., Ste. 101, beginning November 17, a move Bennett says is about more than expanding retail access.
"It will serve as a sanctuary," she says. "Our store will exist as a place of discovery, where we can educate our customer about our process and where they can see and feel the entire MBS collection, as well as the artisans whose work we wish to highlight."
The same aesthetic and penchant for thoughtfulness that has turned MBS into a cult favorite among fans and fashion houses alike will extend to the new brick-and-mortar.
MBS tapped local architecture firm Side Angle Side to design the space while KKDW, the Texas Hill Country design and fabricator shop, handcrafted the millwork from local pecan. True to form, the MBS team will create the store's upholstery using KKDW's leftover pecan shavings to dye the fabric.
"The second you walk through our doors, you will know where you are," says Bennett. "[The space] will be a floor-to-ceiling tribute to our story, our apparel, and our partnerships."
The culture created outside of those doors, however, is what ultimately led the company to this milestone. Virtually from its first collection, MBS has used a variety of models — ranging in age, ethnicity, gender, and body type — in its marketing. Earlier this year, the company launched an entire series modeled by breastfeeding mothers. Rather than feeling exploitative of a moment, the choices seem inclusive, an extension of a brand that simply exists this way inside the community.
That also means working to ensure the pieces are made in an inclusive way. MBS clothing is crafted by local women as part of an ongoing partnership with Multicultural Refugee Coalition, an Austin-based nonprofit that connects refugees with fair-wage work. The company also works with New Leaf Agriculture, the agricultural arm of the Multicultural Refugee Coalition, to source plants for natural dye from the organization's nearby farm.
Bennett says partnerships like these, as well as collaborations with brands like Eileen Fisher and The Line, are the results of thoughtful growth. "The journey has felt both slow and organic and lightning fast, all at the same time," she says. "All of the decisions that have led to our growth and some of the wonderful partnerships ... come from a place of saying yes to what feels right, and constantly checking in with what our goals and mission are."