Meet the Austin fashion designer whose brand walked Paris Fashion Week

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin might not be known as a major fashion city, but that didn’t stop one designer from bringing the city’s eclectic style to the international stage.

Madi Meserole, a 22 year-old Austin native, unveiled her avant garde fashion designs at Paris Fashion Week Sept. 28-Oct. 6. Her custom fit label, MEZ Atelier, includes streetwear, couture, avant garde and vintage collections.

The opportunity to walk Paris Fashion Week came through a New York-based company that helps discover and promote emerging designers. Less than a year after she first received the email about participating in Paris Fashion Week, she was displaying her looks at one of fashion’s premiere shows.

“As a designer, you get to watch what you’re creating come to life through, not only sewing it, but putting it on an actual human, and watching them be able to put it on and see how they feel and their original reaction to wearing one of your pieces,” Meserole said. “The one true goal of the designer is to make their customer feel confident and good in what they’re wearing. And so whenever someone puts on a piece and you see that in their eyes, on their face, you know you’ve accomplished that goal.”

Meserole’s love of fashion is an extension of her family’s propensity for sewing. Growing up, she said her grandmother, mom and her younger sister all knew how to sew.

When Meserole was younger, she said clothes never fit her the way she’d like. While preparing for her freshman year Homecoming dance, her mom offered to make her a dress from scratch. It was the spark that inspired her to pick up sewing, major in it in college and build her own label.

“You can take a piece of flat fabric and make it into basically anything you could possibly come up with,” she said, adding: “I love being able to sketch the crazy ideas in my head, and have them come out in real life and be able to walk down the runway.”

Fashion, Meserole said, is a silent offering of a piece of a person’s personality. She said its creativity and nuance can speak to the unique attributes of the person wearing it. With her label — designs that blend delicate, feminine touches with bold features — she sees it as a reflection of her own shyness paired with a creative, adventurous spirit.

“I think clothes make a statement,” she said. “Whenever you wear them, it’s like your silent statement to the world.”

While Austin might not be listed alongside New York, Paris, Milan and London as fashion hubs, Meserole said the city is still molding its image. She praised the eclectic nature of Austin’s various neighborhoods and how they’ve blended to form a quintessentially ‘Austin’ fashion scene.

“My stuff is very out there and very different. But I think that speaks to one of Austin’s true mottos: Keep Austin Weird. And so we were keeping it weird in Paris, and it was great.”

madi meserole, designer, mez Atelier

From traditional hippie-inspired pieces to a westside preppiness and an emerging edginess, she said Austin’s creative identity isn’t black and white, but ever evolving along with its growing population.

She also credited the many creatives who are expanding Austin’s fashion blueprint with their own collections. This December, the annual Austin Fashion Week will assist with promoting local designers through biannual runway events.

But for now, Meserole said she’s loved using her brand to represent Austin on an international stage — with a bit of avant garde to pay tribute to the “weirdness” that Austin is known and beloved for.

“It was an honor to be able to represent Austin on an international level. I mean, my stuff is very out there and very different,” she said, laughing. “But I think that speaks to one of Austin’s true mottos: Keep Austin Weird. And so we were keeping it weird in Paris, and it was great.”