Machteld Schrameijer grew up in a family of artists - her father a painter and her mother an actress/director - in the city of Amsterdam.
Recalling a childhood spent painting, drawing and making clothes for herself and her friends, she was never one to be afraid to cut into a piece of cloth and learn by doing and re-doing, inspired by the unpredictable process of confronting surprises along the way. After high school, it was not hard to chose the Ecole de Couture de Charles Montaigne, as the next step.
The Ecole de Couture emphasized the techniques that went into the making of a couture garment. Machteld's teachers had worked at venerated French couture houses such as Chanel, Balenciaga and Lanvin. Supporting herself working in the cinema after school and modeling on the side for the avant-garde boutiques in Amsterdam, spending week-ends in London - only a hop-scotch away - the culture of the sixties and early seventies was brimming with excitement. In 1969, diploma in hand, modeling became a full time vocation, enabling her to fund the costs of a teaching certification in Dutch and English. Working in educational television paved the way for a move to New York in 1977 where she worked for the director Emile Fallaux. Together with Coosje van Bruggen,she co-produced and directed the Claes Oldenburg documentary, 'Schoolbus Yellow, Adirondack Green'. Coosje's admiration for the Machteld's eye for fashion and styling rekindled the desire to create clothing for women.
In 1981, Machteld Schrameijer's IOTA debuted in New York and sold all over the US. At the end of the nineteen eighties, the fashion world was turned upside down, by the recession and the next logical step would be to go into larger and less expensive production overseas. Instead, she moved to San Francisco in 1992, adopted a smaller production model favoring contemporary juried craft and design venues and abandoned the wholesale business in favor of the creative freedom possible with a smaller footprint. With a collection of recycled sweaters, hemp and her signature wool knit from Jasco, solo production brought Machteld back to the roots of her creative endeavors instilled by the artistic milieu of her childhood.
In 1997, she introduced her leather and shearling collection and has developed this line into a group of one of a kind and limited production pieces. Using the finest European skins, in her designs, she developed a flowing, light and natural style, embellished with fabrics collected on her travels. Her sensual and tactile designs, that are not only beautiful to look at but feel great on the skin. Luxurious textures and colours in unusual patterns and forms evoke far away cultures and places, but remain elegant, comfortable and modern.
Working directly with her clientele, from the New York artworld to the equestrian arena in Kentucky, has given Machteld the experience to sculpt and construct individual pieces for a variety of body types , in the finest luxurious materials.
Ecological issues also factor into Machteld's work. Working with shearling allows her to express great creativity with a natural resource. The skins that she uses are all by-products of the food market. They are durable, renewable, recyclable, bio-digradable. The chemical alternatives like fake fur, to real leather and shearling are not as effective nor environment friendly.
For her, a product made out of animal skin, ties into a very old feeling of luxury, adornment and protection.