In Conversation with Heidi Merrick

August 25, 2021

Both my long-time inspiration and creative muse, Heidi Merrick is a renowned designer that has captured the West Coast’s highly-sought-after “California minimalism.” The epitome of cool, she balances refined femininity with laid-back glamour for a timeless style inspired by surf culture’s most iconic clean lines and silhouettes. 

Trading her small-town roots in Carpinteria for Los Angeles, her name continues as a trailblazer in one of the nation’s most popular design scenes. But look a little closer, and you’ll find her story starts a lot closer to home.

How has your upbringing in Carpinteria affected your work?

Carpinteria is such a gorgeous treasure of a town, and a perfect dock from which to explore the world.  Growing up here has defined the woman I design for.  It’s always the woman who has surfer girl roots but has grown with a strong sense of curiosity and a cosmopolitan bend to their stylings.  The only negative impact of growing up in Carpinteria is that fact that I call everyone ‘dude’ and if you were to read a transcript of my average dialogue you might think I was a very enthusiastic 12 year old boy.

What is your meaning of “home?”

Home is where my garden is… which is why I’ve been struggling recently because we’re renting a house while we build on our land and the garden is not mine.  Maybe I need to redefine that.  It would probably make me very happy to search out a different truth there.  Ok, home is where my art is.  I’m writing this from my house in LA and am going to take my last great art pieces back to Carpinteria.  That will help.  Family is the obvious answer but you don’t need that.

Who is the biggest influence in your work, and why?

Undoubtedly, my mom.  She has really taught me to dress, she’s such a lady, and she’s cool.  In my work, you will always see the effort to elevate my peers, to get them to truly dress.  My goal is to help women honor themselves and the lives they’ve built, by dressing for it.  This mission is inspired by my mom and her natural elegance.

Growing up in Santa Barbara surf culture and then moving to LA’s design scene, what does community mean to you? Are these places as different as they seem?

Not at all.  I think surfers are a good core of the bohemians that occupy the world and wherever in the world that I am, I find my people.  Most often they surf, but more importantly they like people, cultures, and they know the world is bigger than we are.  Those are my people, and they are everywhere. Right now,  I have a strong affinity for the working mom, who is both head of household and a career woman.  That’s the woman my heart wants to exhort.  I want her to never downplay herself, I want her to stop fussing over what doesn’t matter and, in that, to not forget herself.  I want her to embrace being a woman: powerful, well loved, and I want her to embody her best self when she gets dressed.  That customer, friend, is exactly the same in LA as it is in Carpinteria.  Those women have my heart and are the purpose of my work, because I know when they feel beautiful their impact is more powerful.

Not only has she been a source of inspiration for my work, but also an exemplary model of a working woman recklessly pursuing her dreams without ever losing the core of who she is. Cheers to you, Heidi!



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