Boston Designer Profile: Avra Myers
This is a new version of the wrap coat that really put me on the map,” Avra Myers says as she sweeps a long fleece prototype coat around her shoulders and slips into the kimono sleeves. I bite my tongue when I spot a major design flaw. “We loved the idea of pockets,” Myers says, reading my mind, “but we felt like these pockets were a little fattening. So we’ll be fixing that.” She nailed it.
It’s this eye for streamlined silhouettes that makes the Quincy-based Myers a designer women can count on for flattering basics. Myers boasts an impressive background as a VP for companies such as Club Monaco, Ralph Lauren, and the Limited. The fashion maven had most recently been brought in to rebrand and turn around J.Jill, making it more marketable to the women she now designs for.
Myers launched her line, A Ruby, in 2014, to address a gap in the market for chic necessary basics. “Women want essentials; just look at the way you’re dressed,” she says, referring to my J.Crew tissue turtleneck and black Theory blazer. “Getting dressed shouldn’t be difficult.” Her collection includes moto riding pants, a simple white button-up that can be dressed up or down, and a flattering V-neck sweater. Her business is mostly online, though she frequently sets up local pop-up shops at places such as Moxie and Michelle Willey.
Next to us in her Marina Bay office is a rack of versatile sweaters and jackets in neutral colors, chosen for their timeless style. A mood board shows photos of French girls wearing men’s shirts and leggings, Orlando Bloom in a gray tee, and JFK and Jackie—“real fashion icons,” she says.
This spring, Myers collaborated with Robert Page, Tory Burch’s VP of accessories design, to create a collection of athleisure clothing, the latest style craze. Her early designs include a sports bra and A-line racer-back tanks made of wicking fabric. The collection, which debuts online this month, was based on Page’s sketches. “We’re finding a balance— figuring out how to continue offering edited lines but still expand,” Myers says.
Next for this design duo is a beachwear collection of knit dresses, cover-ups, straw totes, and sandals. Their partnership seems more like a friendship; they inspire each other. “Robert had read that people are most creative when we’re walking, traveling, and drinking,” Myers says. “And so when we get together we do a lot of that—hanging out in restaurants…going into shops, seeing what people are wearing. We only have our eyes; that’s all that we have as merchants. You have to be able to see.”