Redefining Curves: An Interview With Miriam Baker

We recently spoke with Miriam Baker, an award-winning Canadian fashion designer whose line of bust-friendly women’s wear was featured at this year’s Toronto Women’s Fashion Week

How did winning the TFI New Labels Competition back in 2014 change your career path? Looking back, do you view that as your “big break”, or have there been pivotal achievements since that you would identify as career altering?

Winning the TFI New Labels Competition in 2014 was my big break. A few months after graduating from Ryerson University, I entered with the feeling I would be accepted, but never expected to make it through three rounds of judging. The competition culminated in a fashion show where I presented my first collection in front of Toronto’s fashion elite and I received a cash prize to start my clothing line.

Your line is specifically tailored to be bust-friendly. What clothing did you turn to, as a self-professed busty woman, in your early adult years? What adjustments and ingenuity did it take to make clothing work for you?

There are lots of tricks. As a teenager I’d often wear a zip-up sweater, but only zipped it up to below the bust. If you forced the zipper all the way up, your chest would be flattened.

Another thing I did in my early adult years was wear shirtwaist dresses. To make them work, I’d buy a camisole for underneath and then only button up the dress to below the bust. A nice sash would define my waist. But with bust friendly fashion, none of these little tricks are required as pieces are specifically designed with room for larger busts.

Which decade (or decades) of the twentieth century would you describe as having the most accommodating styles for busty women, and do you look to these vintage trends for inspiration?

Believe it or not, it’s the decades that required the use of the corset to achieve the desired silhouette. There’s nothing more supportive than a corset. The waist is defined and the bust is hoisted up where it belongs.

Congratulations on your recent show at Toronto Women’s Fashion Week! Can you share what inspired the new line and what trends are currently on your radar for next fall/winter?

The Fall 2017 collection highlights my dedication to creating timeless pieces for full-chested women, while still touching on modern trends.

For this specific collection, I was inspired by an art nouveaux fashion plate I purchased in Paris by Gereda Wegener a Danish artist and the wife of Einar Wegener, who would go on to transition into “the Danish Girl”, Lili Elbe. The collection consists of watercolour brush strokes and subtle hand-painted florals that are tailored to fit the delicate curves of the female form.

What is your personal design process — do you sketch, collect images, travel for inspiration…?

Each and every season we begin the design process with a fresh inspiration and put our thoughts on a mood board — we use the mood board to collect new fabrics, ideas, colours, etc.

We create our prints and our finished artwork is printed on silk. Then we illustrate potential looks, select our favourites, and begin the technical design process.

What are the staples of your own wardrobe?

My dresses, of course! The Jennifer Dress and Clara Dress are my go to’s season after season. They are so comfortable, you may as well be wearing yoga gear.

Photos: Lawrence Cortez

Do you ever see yourself branching into curvy-friendly lingerie design? 

No, because there are so many brands that have already mastered it. My personal favourite brand is Prima Donna. Why would I want to compete with the greatest lingerie brand out there?

If you could dress any curvy celebrity, who would be your dream woman to work with?

There are many celebs who are fuller chested, such as Sofia Vergara, Kate Upton, Lara Stone, and Kim Kardashian. But I would most like to see Chelsea Handler wearing my collection. She is such an inspiration and I would love the opportunity to dress her.