TASTEMAKER: Pamela Mayer, Clothing designer and retailer
Text | Mary Greene
OCH: What is the meaning of the name of your store, Enochian, in Narrowsburg, NY?
Enochian means “the language of the angels.” When I started the company, I wanted the clothes to encompass something ethereal and otherworldly, so I researched a lot of H.R, Giger’s work, which then led to H.P. Lovecraft and Philip K. Dick, which then led to “Bladerunner.” As I’ve matured, my work has become less avant garde and more wearable. It’s about making women feel good.
OCH: How did you get your start in clothing design?
I started sewing when I was 10 years old. I loved the idea that you would start with a two-dimensional pattern and create this three-dimensional garment. I studied at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and got an internship with J. Morgan Puett, and I was offered a full time position as assistant patternmaker under the guidance of Gary Graham. I sourced the materials and trims and eventually became the production manager.
OCH: What do you look for in a well designed article of clothing?
I start with the fabric and then I look at the pattern. I’m much more interested in how the pattern was designed than the embellishments. Also, I look for color. It can be subtle or really rich and give the garment more texture. And, how a piece of clothing is constructed says a lot about the design. The person wearing the garment should feel comfortable—even in the most extraordinary garments. When a person feels comfortable they exude a certain confidence and nonchalance. Like they’ve been wearing that particular piece forever.
OCH: What brands do you carry, and why do you like them?
Gary Graham is our most avant garde line. Clu is a Los Angeles line that uses interesting knits mixed with wovens; all the pieces are garment dyed to give them a softness. Alternative Apparel is a staple line for us. The majority of the line is manufactured in the U.S. They pride themselves on ethical work conditions and fair wages. R13 is an Italian jean line that produces its own fabric and manufactures in Italy. Pip-squeak chapeau is designed and manufactured in Brooklyn. Sveta uses a mix of felting, silks and hand knit alpaca to construct her garments. Madame Fortuna is a jewelry line designed and manufactured by local artisan Alison Ward. Melissa Easton is another jewelry line designed and manufactured in NYC.
These are just some of the designers we feature. I curate the pieces so that they can all work together.
OCH: Can you tell me about your own line?
All of the Enochian clothing line is manufactured in the U.S. Also, we try to buy material from small fabric mills around the world. Our fabric comes from Italy, France, Ireland and some of our organic cotton and wool knits domestically. We believe in ethical work practices; the people who work with us have been with us for the last eight to 10 years. I can tell people when they buy one of our pieces that four people have touched that garment: the cutter, seamstress, dyer and the shop girls.
OCH: What do you enjoy most about being part of Narrowsburg’s Main Street?
It’s my family! When I wholesaled across the U.S. I had no idea who bought our pieces, what they thought of them and how they held up. By being in this beautiful town full of talented people, I have access to customers’ likes and dislikes, where they wore our pieces and who complimented them. I love when people come in the store and tell me they bought an Enochian dress three years ago and it’s still a favorite.