An Interview with Dyanne McGrath, M. MAC Founder
I recently had the pleasure of chatting with Dyanne McGrath, the founder and creative fashion genius behind the M. MAC line of comfortable clothing for women. She and her husband Ed started their small, family-owned and operated business in 1991, in California, where they are still located and where all of their garments are made.
Here are a few highlights of my conversation with Dyanne.
Theresa: What is your ultimate apparel design goal?
Dyanne: My goal is to create feel-good clothing for women of all ages and sizes.
Theresa: Well, you certainly have achieved your goal, and more! Your dresses offer everything a woman looks for in their clothing: figure flattery, easy fit, beauty, versatility and uniqueness. What is it in you background that enables you to pull all of these elements together in each and every style you create?
Dyanne: I have always had a passion for fabric prints, from the time I was in college and worked in a fabric store to developing the M. MAC clothing line as it is today. I feel that my prints have a “graphic” feel about them and that stems from an art class that I took in college, which started me on this path. I believe that our silhouettes are the perfect canvases for our prints. That is the reason we keep our styles simple and fluid. Our garments are easy fit and flattering to all figure types.
Theresa: Speaking of prints, I understand that you design all M. MAC prints. What influences and inspires you?
Dyanne: Taking elements from nature and interpreting them as a fluid design is what I enjoy doing the best. Although inspiration is everywhere, nature is only part of what turns me on for a print idea. For example, a piece of ancient jewelry in a museum can be one element in a fish or turtle print.
Theresa: Each dress is individually hand printed, and thus a unique work of art. What can you tell us about your creative process?
Dyanne: I still create the art for my prints in the old fashioned way; pen, brush, ink on paper, although I use the computer for the other technical aspects of creating a print.
Theresa: Please tell us about the actual dressmaking process. How many hands are involved?
Dyanne: M. MAC has 12 employees. Just as in the days when women made their own clothing with patterns, the pattern for each individual order is marked or traced on the fabric. Our expert cutters, using professional scissors, hand cut them. Scissors must be sharpened frequently to maintain their consistency. Roberto is our most experienced cutter and has been working for us for over 18 years.
Once a pattern and size is cut, it is then marked and sent to the printing department, where one of our hand-screened printing experts applies the print to the garment. Only environmentally-friendly water-based inks are used on M. MAC clothing. By squeegeeing the ink across the silkscreen, the image of the art remains. Once printed, they are left to air dry overnight before being sent to our sewing experts. And finally, after being sewn, each garment is hand pressed and inspected.
Theresa: Fascinating! At The Vermont Country Store, we love that all of your apparel are made in the USA.
Dyanne: Yes, we take pride in the fact that our garments are made in the USA, and also that all the cotton for our knit is grown here as well.
Theresa: You mentioned that the Rock Fish print dress is the very first piece of artwork you created when you started M. MAC, and it’s still one of the your most popular designs. In fact, there are customers that have one in every available color. What do you attribute that kind of customer loyalty to?
Dyanne: Because we are a small, family-owned, hands-on business, we are extremely quality conscious. And our quality awareness is obvious to M. MAC customers, who know they can rely on the fact that the garment they bought last time will be of the same quality and sizing as the one they want to purchase next.
Theresa: It’s been a pleasure talking with you, Dyanne, and learning the story behind your gorgeous designs!
Experience the beauty, comfort and ease of M. MAC; shop The Vermont Country Store’s M. MAC Collection.