Meet the KC designers behind luxury fashion brand MERSEA

Our Q+A with Lina Dickinson and Melanie Bolin.

KCFW Designers Lina and Melanie KCtoday

Cheers to Melanie (left) and Lina (right).

Photo via Blish Connor

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Lina Dickinson and Melanie Bolin are the powerhouse duo behind the luxury, travel-inspired brand, MERSEA. The two have combined their passion for traveling with their admiration of fashion, hoping to tell stories and share memories through the collections.

Let’s learn a little more about the partnership heading into a weekend full of Kansas City Fashion Week runway shows.

Mersea | Amalfi Coast

Two girls with one dream.

Photo by Raisa Zwart Photography

What is your connection to Kansas City?

Although we’re both West Coast transplants, we actually didn’t meet until about 20 years ago, when we were both living in Kansas City, minutes apart. Still, it wasn’t until our young children attended school together and became friends that we discovered that we shared not only the same entrepreneurial spirit but also a wanderlust for travel.

How has KC shaped your brand?

Our brand, MERSEA, has always been heavily rooted in Kansas City. Our first product was a candle in a bag — we found a woman who made feed bags for horses about an hour away on the outskirts of St. Joseph, Missouri, and convinced her to make our bags! We started in our kitchens, washing labels off of glass and packaging them in these little canvas bags. We made scents that reminded us of our favorite spots to travel, mostly by the ocean.

We’ve also collaborated with multiple local brands, like Made in KC, to create limited-edition items that are special to Kansas Citians. We are even sold in the brand-new Made in KC Marketplace at the Kansas City Airport as both an introduction to the brand for visitors and an ode to our incredible connection to this city.

What are you most excited about for KCFW?

This is our first year, as we launched RTW (ready to wear) just last week. We are so excited about everything and feel like we were welcomed into this community with open arms.

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A look into the catalogue.

Photo via MERSEA

Where did your love for fashion come from?

TRAVEL, TRAVEL, and TRAVEL. We love seeing the sites, meeting artisans worldwide, and seeing where their creativity takes them.

If you could style/design for one Kansas Citian (think: athletes, actors, influencers) who would it be?

We are in love with so many Kansas City women — this is tough. We met with influencer Becky Hillyard (@cellajaneblog) in the fall, and she just sets the bar for style. We also cannot get enough from Kansas City Comedian Taylor Kay Phillips. She is hilarious, and our “fun at all moments” vibe fits hers.

We ADORE Tammy Reid. She is fiercely competitive and inspires others to do their best. Anna Petrow is TALENTED. She is one of our photographers. She also shoots for the NYT. Janelle Monae would be a dream. She is beyond gorgeous, and her voice is classic and perfect. Ellie Kemper would be amazing. Ashley Baker, a former Kansas Citian who is now the editor at Air Mail by Graydon Carter. Misty Copeland! How could she not look amazing in anything? We love authors Gillian Flynn and Candace Uhlig. They both are brilliant writers but totally different genres. Catherine McNamara…the list of possibilities goes on and on for this city!

We also have our favorite “regulars,” like our friend and intuitive shaman, Phoenix, our fellow French-obsessed influencer and friend, Noelani, and all of our loyal, local retailers. It’s hard to pick one, but we know that there’s no place like home.

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