Capital Style Magazine
Posted on 06 January 2015
Thank you to Capital Style Magazine (Annapolis) for the profile!
Devon Mish, new Odenton designer, starts activewear brand
Polka dots, metallic colors and nautical flair — these are the styles of prints and patterns Devon Mish usually puts in her closet.
But when it comes to the clothes she used to wear to the gym, it was a different story.
After having three children, she was committed to getting back in shape. But that meant she was practically living in the same pair of black stretch pants.
Mish was bored.
"Everything I saw out there wasn't fun — it was black," Mish says. "None of the stuff really fit my style."
For a decade, Mish and her husband built a tech accessories business, but a little over a year ago, the Odenton resident was eager to branch out.
"I really couldn't stop thinking about how I wanted to start my own brand," she says. "I wanted to do something in fashion."
Without experience in the industry or much more than a vision to rework women's activewear, Mish began Devon Maryn, a girly, preppy and colorful fitness clothing brand. The company is a combination of the first names of Maryn and her 3 ½-year-old daughter.
The first collection includes yoga pants and running shorts but will be expanding to offer tops and jackets.
Mish grew up in Southern California and now lives near the Chesapeake Bay. She uses those bicoastal influences to inspire her beachy, nautical designs.
Her pieces are sold online for $55 to $85, and she's hoping Annapolis retailers will soon pick up her products.
Mish began sketching ideas about a year ago, then collaborated with a graphic designer to turn them into renderings. She works with a sample maker in Baltimore and has a contract with a Los Angeles factory to produce the clothing.
Some of her standout pieces are anchor-print shorts featuring an Americana style and black-and-gold confetti-printed yoga capris. Another pair of shorts has mini pastel lobsters.
"If Lilly Pulitzer and Kate Spade had an activewear baby, that's the aesthetic I have in my clothing," she says.
Whitney Nichols, a Denver-based fashion blogger, wrote a feature on the Devon Maryn line this fall. After discovering the brand through social media, Nichols, creator of Polished & Pink, says she reached out to Mish to do a collaboration.
The appeal was the preppiness, which fits her personal style, too. She featured the chevron capris on her blog but recently bought a pair of herringbone leggings for her mom for Christmas.
"I really like some of the prints that are more classic, but they're fun at the same time," Nichols says. "It's not Under Armour."
She also appreciates the functionality. The fabric is thick enough that it doesn't turn translucent when stretched.
"The quality is amazing," she says.
Perfecting her designs requires a lot of trial and error, Mish says. She'll develop a design, then test it on various fabrics before it is put into production.
"That's been an interesting learning curve," she says. "It took about a year to have inventory to launch."
Part of the development of her line involved constructing an athletic waistband that would both flatten a woman's stomach and not roll down.
The waistband of the running shorts can be flipped down to show off a complementary pop of color. Printed side panels on both the yoga pants and shorts are positioned to contour and slim waists.
Devon Maryn is just beginning to appear in a few stores. At Louella boutique in Wayne, Pa., general manager Jen Mihok says the yoga pants are selling well. The entire staff and a few guests attended a barre class together recently, all wearing something from the line.
Even the instructor wore Devon Maryn.
"We had so much fun doing it, and we were all dressed to the nines in our Devon Maryn," Mihok says.
Mihok, who helps store owner Maria Delaney source garments for the boutique, says Mish's line stood out to her for more than just its prints. She enjoys supporting young female entrepreneurs.
"As far as I'm concerned, they are our future," she says. "It's really important to invest in them when you can get them in their infancy."
Mish will continue growing her business in 2015 while working from her home office. It's not an ideal environment with kids around, but with the help of a nanny, she can manage to lock the door once in a while.
It's all for that priceless payoff.
"I can't wait for the day I actually see someone wearing my stuff in the gym," she says.