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Photos by Joy Chen, Creative Director

Written by Tiffany Hue, Editor-in-Chief

Featuring an exclusive interview with Emma Gage, Founder & Designer of MELKE

Sustainability has long been a subject of interest in the fashion space, and New York-based designer Emma Gage is introducing her own unique take on integrating climate-friendly options with her gender-neutral fashion label, MELKE. Coupled with her extravagant looks of the label launched in 2020, Gage also works with nonprofits that fight against human trafficking and child abuse. Together, she uses her platform and her clothing to cultivate an intersection between art and activism. 


Inspired by her family trips to Ireland’s Ashford Castle, MELKE’s A/W ‘22 collection: Falcon’s Fame is an homage to the nature of the world that reminds us of the simplicity of our planet. Decorated with intricate stitching that comes together to exhibit different farm animals found in the expansive fields of Galway, the collection is doused in deep velvets, cotton fleece, and even authentic animal hair, sustainably sourced.

While the pieces came together to create an assemblage of that which represented a forest, the complexity of stitching is what truly helped the collection come to life. From purposeful tears of deep green fabrics mimicking the look of leaves to Jacobian-inspired prints of falcons on suits and dresses, Gage cites her inspiration as “a fun way to learn about the relationship and balance of man and nature working together.” 


Accompanying the array of fleece tops and skirts, animal motifs were uniquely stitched onto knit sweaters displayed on mannequins. The simplicity of placing rough embroidery atop a solid color creates a standout design that draws attention to the significance of having a lone ewe on clothing. “My parents had seen sheep herding at the castle, so I wanted to bring in some sheep embroidery with the designs,” tells Gage, who notes the contrasting thread colors of the stitching. The collection’s knitwear was handcrafted in partnership with Knit One, Change One (KOCO), a community of artisans that provide financial and educational independence for women in India.

Alongside the collection of embroidered sheep is an arrangement of eye-catching Jacobian falcon print that is hard to miss. The designer shared that falconry was historically used for hunting purposes, and this history with birds inspired her collection’s name and main print that represents the amalgamation of human versus nature influences in the world.

Photo Courtesy of MELKE

Along with the collection came a crowd of viewers, including SNL cast member Heidi Gardner and TikTok host Davis Burleson, who both sported greenery-inspired outfits according to MELKE’s collection. Given these incredible talents, however, it seemed that the leading star of the show was Gage’s favorite piece herself: Look 13 featured a fantastical skirt made from cotton fleece and genuine horse hair sourced in California. Horse hair tassels are traditionally used as tools for Western horseback riders, and Gage drew inspiration from her own experiences horseback riding in Ashford Castle. 


All in all, MELKE’s A/W ‘22: Falcon’s Fame explores what it means to be human in grand landscape of nature, and strikes up a kinship amongst man, woman, and Mother Nature. 

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