By: Jordan Ross
The essence of fashion has always been prominent in the life of designer Alyssa Fumento. Her desire to emerge into fashion set about from a very young age, and assuredly never took a ‘pause’. Her habits have always focused on maintaining a wardrobe that candidly stands out, while staying true to herself. This 21-year old fashion designer has proven to be one to watch, all while transferring her stylish ways into a successful modern RTW clothing brand that we can all agree should be added to our closets.
Best known as MIUSA (an acronym for Made in the United States of America), Fumentos brand has skyrocketed since launching last August. Going to show, passion and dedication goes a long way, both of which she possesses substantially. “It all originated just from believing in a product that would 1. Show quality and 2. Be so versatile” she shares. “Having that staple piece is truly where it came from”.
Like so many others, Fumento questioned her ability to succeed in the fashion industry. The fear of the unknown came undone before broadcasting her now successful clothing line. “I always loved fashion, but never went with it because there’s this idea behind it that they don’t really make money in the fashion industry,” she shares. “ So having a passion and then knowing the possibility of making nothing is kind of what tore me apart”
Similar to many other designers’ history too, she gave in to attempting an alternative career, straying away from what would eventually become destined to be. “I went into International politics because I also do have a passion for that. And if you truly don’t have a strong passion for it, then it’s not for you” Fumento adds. “So, that’s when I came back, and I realized that I have such a strong passion for fashion, and if I don’t pursue this route, then I don’t think that I’ll be happy”. Which evidently, became the best decision for her. Counting in that “When you subtract money from the equation, it becomes all about passion.”
Along with passion, is of course the distinguished trait that so many designers like Fumento carry, – ‘being born with it’. “Growing up, my mom always dressed me very nice, and she’d let me pick out my own clothes,” she shares. “but, I’ve always had kind of an eye and really tried to wear things that I loved”. Humorously adding in that during her younger years, some items significantly stood out more than others. “When I think I was about 3 or 4, and I remember this perfectly, I would only go-to school if I had my ruffle socks on.” she says. And who knows, these infamous ruffle socks may make their debut on MIUSA someday.
Despite having the stylish touch within her, Fumento has proudly shared that the majority of her inspiration for MIUSA, (outside of her own ideas) comes from European fashion and less trendy ideas. “I think focusing on pieces that stay in the closet forever is very important, of course they have to have their own twist to them because then how would you separate yourself from other brands” she says.
Having spent time living and studying abroad in Italy, this constant absorption of European culture allowed for Fumento to truly grasp on to the everyday lifestyle overseas. “It truly changed my perspective of fashion, because there, they take fashion very seriously”.
And soon enough, she rationed this into MIUSA. “I would say European fashion pushes more through and shines a light on my inspiration more than anything else”. However, she also admits that New York has created a great presence in MIUSA’s ‘vibe’. “So the design aspect, European fashion, but also the vibe and where you would wear it would definitely be NY ” She adds.
Joining in on Fumento’s gracious design aesthetic is her commitment to produce “more than just a garment”. Engrossing in the idea that every piece tells a story, and better yet, is sustainable too. “MIUSA’s main focus is not money, it’s about being able to protect the people and the planet at the same time.” she says. “But also, give the advantage of people putting something on and saying ‘wow, I can feel the quality in this’ and ‘I love the way I look in this”. For Alyssa, her participation in sustainability has risen above the ‘social trends’ of caring for Mother Earth. Her duties in-front and behind screens continuously resembles who and what the fashion industry needs – ethics. “I focus on ethical labor and pay, and it shines through”. Fumento states.
What’s most revealing of Fumentos work ethic is the quality of each and every garment in her clothing collections. Taking her time to decipher proper fabrics, colors, sizing, and most importantly, maintaining luxury with comfort. “I think that trying to incorporate comfort with style is very important, and that’s something I’ve always believed in” she shares. While also offering made-to-order pieces. “I really have no inventory, I think that has also inspired me when creating collections” she says. Adding that extra special element to MIUSA.
“I think the garment tells the story,” Fumento states. Whether it be the hardships or successes, MIUSA gracefully embodies what their founder strives for. Going to show this designer’s infatuations to become something new and different are in no-way failing, or going anywhere any time soon.