By Lauren Lippert
In the past few years, the fashion world has seen a surplus of student designers and an ASU student is one of many to emerge hoping to encourage girls to stand out.
Inspired by moon and astrology, ASU student designer and Drip by Mewn creator, Megan Barbera, 20, created her brand just a few months ago combining her fascination and personal experience to create the name.
“I’ve always been obsessed with the moon and astrology,” Barbera said. “Freshman year, I would joke with my friends that if I ever became a rapper my name would be ‘Lil Mewn’, and then it just stuck so I decided to make it my brand.”
Barbera created her clothing brand for girls that want to “stand out.” Her demographic is directed more towards college students between the ages of 18-25 but she would love to eventually broaden that. She gets her inspiration from the ’60s and ‘70s “disco” era as well as the party scene and social atmospheres, more of a “lively personality.”
For model and customer Brianna Ungaro, Drip by Mewn is more than just a brand but represents “authentic, hand-sewn works of art.”
“You can see the time and effort she puts into her craft based on the way it’s sewn,” Ungaro said. “These pieces are made out of materials that are hand-picked with a vision in mind.”
Ungaro has been modeling with Barbera since the beginning. As a student herself, Ungaro admires Barbera’s passion to create something unique.
“There are not many young designers who want to custom fit something on someone because at the beginning it’s a grind to get your name out there and you just need the money to supply your needs,” Ungaro said. “But I have never felt like my pieces are storage room or back-stocked items, they always seem tailored to me and represent who I am internally.”
As someone who models her own clothes as well and often wears it, Barbera’s own personal style is that of Drip by Mewn. It’s street style mixed with club life with a dash of a skater girl, something completely unique and abstract.
Barbera usually sells a set piece for $20-25 and it takes her about an hour to create. One of the biggest obstacles for her is buying fabric due to the high cost. Her solution is buying bulk fabric in Mexico or shopping at Saz in Tempe, a “cheap wholesale fabric” store.
Another obstacle for Barbera is balancing school and designing. Though she says, “It’s a lot on top of school and work” it’s something that she enjoys doing and is often a reward for her once she finishes her school work.
“Since sewing and making stuff is like a release for me, it’s like a muse I always try to save it for the end of the day,” Barbera said. “Right now I’m treating it as a reward to myself for getting through all of the work.”
Her process often begins with a sketch inspired by something she saw on Instagram or what someone was wearing on the streets. She then finds clothes she owns that can be “manipulated” to look like it. From there she traces her sketch out with the fabric and then sews it together. Barbera hopes that once she sells more and is able to get more materials, the process will be faster.
“Right now, I put a lot of care and time into one single piece,” Barbera said.
Barbera wants to one day open her boutique in either Los Angeles or Miami.
“I would love to open up my own boutique somewhere that matches my brand’s lively nightlife and just a very social atmosphere,” Barbera said.
As of now, Barbera is in the works of partnering with the Dalton England of the Tie-Dye Company, a local designer who participated in designer of the year competition during Phoenix Fashion Week.
“I have an idea that I could make some plain white pieces for them and they could tie-dye it and sell it as a collaboration,” Barbera said.
England is a fan of Barbera’s work and says that it’s something he’s never seen before.
“I love Megan’s designs,” England said. “Her style has a voice that speaks a language I haven’t heard before and that’s what draws my attention to it.”
Aside from England, Barbera hopes to also collaborate with local designer KS Garner.
“She has a similar vibe as me, she’s very fun and her style is very ‘70s and ‘60s so I would love to collaborate with her,” Barbera said. “I really want to get out more into Phoenix and explore the creative community.”
Barbera also plans to have a booth set up at First Friday in order to help with “networking.”
As for her end of the year goal, she hopes to have a more established brand and a stronger sewing process.