Heidi Merrick’s first dress design was an important one. In fact, it may have been the most important dress of her life. It was, after all, her wedding gown. Crafted with the help of her mother, a woman Merrick credits as her muse, the dress debuted a fashion point of view that would soon be worn by women around the world.

Growing up in creative environment, Merrick’s mother was a seamstress, her father a surfboard designer and her grandmother a swami artist. She did not wear a piece of store-bought clothing until 4th grade. Add to those credentials that she is an art and fashion school graduate and it becomes crystal clear why Merrick would radiate originality and creativity.

She created the Heidi Merrick clothing label in the fall of 2006 to simplify fashion for women. “Kids in fashion school would wear 60 things [at once]. My dresses are complete. You put one on and you’re done,”says Merrick.

Merrick accomplishes her goal by avoiding trendy colors and silhouettes not befitting of the women, ranging in age from late 20s to early 40s, who represent her target demographic. In other words, you will find no baby doll dresses in her collections.

Merrick also believes in clothes that last. She uses high quality fabrics and adheres to a standard for flawless, durable construction. “I try to make dresses and coats that are the best, most beautiful quality that you can think of and still afford,” she says.

For spring 2008, Merrick has expanded her collection from dresses to jackets and other separates inspired by her recent vacation to Israel and her love of desert fashion. Of the flowing caftans, breezy tunics and effortless party dresses, she says, “I wanted [the line] to look like a modern, glamorous vacation in Morocco.”

Heidi Merrick designs can be found at Bijou in Scottsdale.