ARTIST INTERVIEW: Misa Miyagawa of Botanica Workshop
Botanica Workshop is a lifestyle brand focusing on underwear and loungewear for women made of organic and sustainable materials. Established by Misa Miyagawa in 2014, their independent design studio was born from a need for responsibly produced intimates with a designer aesthetic and quality to match. They partner with local artisans and technicians to create small production runs of well crafted pieces a few times a year in Los Angeles, CA. We spoke with Misa about creativity and inspiration.
What is your background and how have your past experiences fed into your art?
I was born and raised in Silverlake, and the art/design world has intrigued me since childhood. A few years ago, I became fascinated with organic and biodynamic growing practices for vegetables and herbs, as well as the local distribution systems for agricultural crops. My lifestyle choices began to revolve around this fascination, as well as sustainability and recycled products. Although I studied fashion design at Parsons in NYC and Central St. Martins in London, I am new to the world of intimates. Each collection is approached with the sensibility of a ready-to-wear wardrobe, along with the handcrafted feel and technical construction of vintage undergarments.
Do you feel that your environment feeds into work and if so, what makes your work distinctively Californian?
Yes, I am greatly influenced by my current environment, as well as my past experiences- the fast paced world of the New York fashion industry, the youth culture and vintage fervor of London, and now the vast network of independent creatives in Los Angeles. I’m a fourth generation Japanese American- there are always guesses about my background but it’s very different than one might assume. Personally I identify most with being Californian- this is inherent in my work, which has evolved greatly over time. Living in any big city can feel competitive, but for me, working in LA allows a certain amount of risk taking and failure in my creative process that is important. It’s something that I have never felt comfortable with elsewhere. Somehow I feel that there’s more potential to create in this environment. I like to think that Botanica Workshop has a global style. It is greatly influenced by our customers, who come from all over the world.
What are your top 3 studio essentials?
– Organic looseleaf tea- hoji-cha and earl grey are in the current rotation
– Black canvas espadrilles- my studio slippers
– A German drafting brush inherited from my mother, to sweep away the debris on the cutting table
All photos by Ye Rin Mok