...fashion to empower women from generation to generation

by Mariel Reed
HEMYCA is a luxury womenswear label based in Chelsea, London. Founded by Helen Clinch and Myra Nigris four and a half years ago, HEMYCA has grown into a distinguished brand, recognised by its use of indulgent textures and colours. Both are trained tailors. Helen’s family worked in Saville Row, while Myra’s family from their atelier in Italy. Their garments are made to accentuate a woman’s confidence, while remaining comfortable and wearable throughout an entire day. Their vision of timeless elegance and modern luxury is evident in their collections. Structural silhouettes that mould and shape the body are created through complex cutting, precision tailoring with exceptional detailing and a distinctive edge.

Do you want to start off by telling a little bit about your history and how you started?
Helen: We met at University. We went to London College of Fashion and our tutors wanted to split us apart all the time because we had the same vision and brand identity. When we did our final collections, everybody said, ‘they’re amazing individually, but together, it would be one big collection. You only do six or seven pieces for a graduate show, but together it looked like one collection. Afterwards, we were just kind of like, ‘well, this makes absolute sense. Instead of competing against one another, we should join forces’. We’ve got the same ideas about what we want to do and what ideas we want to put out with our clothing. We started about 4 ½ years ago now and we’ve been going strong.

How has this season been so far?
Helen: We couldn’t have asked for a better fashion week. We were lucky enough to show right next to Tom Ford. We were on schedule with him and we had Anna Wintour pop in. She was the first one to arrive, so that threw us. She was incredible. She was very nice to us and just wanted to know a lot about us. She asked us a lot of questions about New York and where we will be showing, where we would like to be stocked in New York, and said that we could work with Vogue as well. Throughout the day, we had every major journalist come in.

Myra: All the major directors of all the top magazines in the UK and Italy, and quite a lot of international press as well. It was fantastic. We had a good turn out and it was actually quite fun to do something like what we did. We had an exhibition mixed with live models. It was much more interactive. People could talk and see and Helen and I were around to show people, especially the journalists, the story of every piece. It was much more intimate. Everybody seemed to enjoy that because normally everything is so quick with the shows, no one has time to look properly, and when they go, they don’t remember.

Helen: It was personal, and that’s what we’re about. It’s much nicer to meet people, spend time with them and go through the themes, what we’re trying to do and what the collection is about. After Anna had been, the space was just so electric. Everybody was tweeting. My god, I’ve never seen so many camera pops in our faces! The last few weeks have been amazing. We’ve just got so much press. Our feet haven’t touched the ground and it’s just been one thing after the other on all levels of our brand. We think ‘exciting times ahead’.

Would you like to describe the collection? What influenced it?
Myra: It’s called “The World of Glass”. It’s inspired by the sort of fragility of the world in which we are now living. Everything is uncertain and you need to be much stronger. Especially as a woman, you are pulled everywhere. We wanted to touch on that in the collection and show hugging and comfortable fabrics for women to wear to feel really confident and powerful. The silhouettes, fabrics and colours are very much inspired by art deco, simply because apart from being a beautiful era of art, it was also when the great depression happened. We thought it was actually quite similar to the time we live in at the moment. It all reflects through the jade, the purple, the colours that were very en vogue at that time.

Helen: Everything we do with Hemyca is very pro-‘The Girls’, so we just try to create clothing and a message that, if we’re going to stick together, we can achieve a lot in what we want to do. To empower women by suggesting that if you put on this great piece on a fragile day, or you’re not feeling like you can drop your children off at school and go and have that board meeting as well, you can just put on your favourite dress and you’ll feel like you can conquer the world that day and get through whatever you have to get through. You don’t need to worry about your clothing because it fits you beautifully. You’re covered in the places you want to be. You’re showing the bits you want to show and it works. It’s functional and it fits you absolutely beautifully. You can get on and do your job but feel really confident in what you are wearing as well.

Could you describe your ideal customer? Who wears your clothes?
Helen: We have 2 sides actually. We sell our ready to wear collection to stores, but we also do made-to-order from the studio, here in Chelsea. So we have every type of woman coming down. We’re not standard we’re very individual. From your shoulder length to your arm length to your waist, there are so many different points of measurement. Myra and I are both trained tailors so what we love doing is showing that no matter what size or shape you are, we can make you look really beautiful and feel really confident, whether you’re a really petite 6 or a 26, the styling and the shape is everything. I think the rest of the industry is so obsessed with size but that’s not us.

Myra: It’s the silhouette rather than size. What enhances what a person’s best feature? How de we hide certain others? The women who have come to our made-to-measured service have reached a really good point in their career. They know what they like; they know what they want. They don’t want to look like a secretary, so they want something that is a bit different. They are very supportive of new designers and it’s a pleasure to work with them because you can see, as soon as they put the clothes on, they stand in a different way. They get more and more confident. We do fittings as well so we can see the process and it’s really enjoyable. They are extraordinary women working hard in their careers.

We are working with Dame Kelly Holmes and people like that who have just achieved so much and have had to work so hard. Everyone always talks about those strong women. Those are the kinds of women that come to us. The ones that really appreciate hard work and what it takes to get to the next level, strive forward. She could be a lawyer, doctor, right through to a celebrity. We are working with some pretty interesting women at the moment who are all adding extra value into our brand as well and really supporting us. We’re not about fast fashion. It’s not about the latest trend, it’s about style and how you feel in the clothes. And hopefully when you buy, you’ll pass it on to the next generation. It will stay with you in your family.