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Meet Melissa Silva of Agraire in Long Beach

Today we’d like to introduce you to Melissa Silva.

Melissa, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I’ve studied Fashion Design since high school, but it was my passion long before that. In fact, I recently found sketches that I drew back when I was about eight years old while rummaging through a stack of my Dad’s keepsakes and was taken aback when I realized that I call out design details the same way that I did back then.

I went to FIDM and graduated with an A.A. in Fashion Design in 2012 but decided to continue my education at CSULB where I earned my B.A. in 2015. It was there, in my textiles class, where I first learned about natural dye.

I was intrigued by the process, and frankly the economic sense that it made, to start experimenting with it. I bought my first 25lb bag of onions, some muslin, a pack of rubber bands, and started experimenting.

Has it been a smooth road?
There have been smooth parts, but I’d say the majority has been pretty bumpy. Life provides those obstacles that make starting/running a business difficult.

I’ve had major highs like showing my collection at LA’s Art Heart’s Fashion Week and selling my garments at retail boutiques on both the west and east coast. To feel like I was neglecting my business completely because I was relocating two times in one year or just really needing to make money and had to get it another way.

But even in the times where I couldn’t physically produce a product, I was thinking about what to do next, how I could make my business better, and what my clients would like to see in my next collection, which may all be abstract, but definitely progress in their own ways.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Agraire – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Agraire is a women’s luxury clothing line specializing in all natural hand-dyed garments and accessories. That means that I use vegetables and spices like turmeric, onions, and black beans to dye our products. I research old-world dye techniques and take a strong influence from Japanese Shibori styles but enjoy manipulating the fabric to create new ones as well.

Because it is such a natural process, each piece is truly one of a kind and the dye results, though I try to control them as much as I can, are ultimately up to Mother Nature. I primarily use silk fabrics but am experimenting with cotton, wool, and hemp to create more versatility for different climates and times of the year.

It is the fabrics, the dye techniques, and the bold colors that set Agraire apart from other companies that are trying to make a difference in the fashion world, taking pride in creating clothing that is eco-conscious but doesn’t look it.

I try to be as eco-conscious as possible (inside and outside of the business), but to be honest, I have a long way to go and look forward to becoming more so as the days, months, and years go on.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
I love the diversity, the acceptance, and food. Each neighborhood has a different vibe, and we have so much to learn from each of them.

It amazes me how much culture is in this one city, and in many cases, shows how we can all live together. Coming from a fairly small town, I just can’t get enough of the food and the fact that I can walk two blocks to get tacos at 10 pm.

What I wish, is that I was breathing cleaner air. Our pollution is a problem and is easy to ignore until you leave it and see what the sky and horizon are really supposed to look like.

Contact Info:

  • Website:
  • Email:
  • Instagram: Agraire_Clothing

Image Credit:

Syldon Media

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