The Salting

By Karen Giberson

When Michael Ward left his position as interim creative director of DVF in 2016, he took a deep breath and decided to reassess the direction of his career. He knew he loved fashion, but the churn of new designs, pressure for sales, and growing concerns about waste were troubling. Both Ward and his husband Manel Garcia Espejo had impressive backgrounds designing women’s clothing. Garcia Espejo had spent 16 years at Calvin Klein collection as the vice president of design for evening and celebrity. They loved the industry and felt it was a good time head out on their own.


“The Salting name was inspired by the natural element of salt,” Ward explained. “When the tide washes to the shore and recedes, it gently layers the earth with a coat of salt — it’s a timeless image we can all envision.” The nourishing element fit the vision perfectly, it became the ideal platform to offer newness and inspire creativity.

“We wanted to create a new brand and do things right from the beginning,” said Ward. “We wanted to be prudent about zero waste, high quality craftsmanship, strong design, and manufacturing in the USA. It was important that we evaluated the current needs of fashion and paid attention to the social conversations that were dominating the news.” In 2018, after a year of planning, The Salting was launched, a genderless line of beautifully crafted garments — all meant to be cherished and kept for years.

At the time, genderless design was relatively new in fashion and The Salting aimed to be a voice in the innovation and evolution of the category. The team spent a great deal of time designing and cutting garments to flatter everyone.

“We focused on pieces that were traditionally shared by all genders, including caftans, shirts, trousers, coats, and a best-selling tunic with a narrow cut that is perfect for travel and leisure,” Ward added. The team is committed to selecting quality fabrications and ensuring that an attention to detail is evident in each item, including careful stitching, bindings on seams, and the use of upcycled fabric.

The Salting puts a great deal of effort into selecting fabrics that have a beautiful hand, flattering drape, and offer a carefully selected mix of colors and stripes. Importantly, everything is manufactured in New York City. Hats, however, are made in the oldest millinery factory in the US in Adamstown, PA. “We worked very hard to find partners who understand our brand, have a superior needle, and high quality standards,” said Ward.

Garcia Espejo explained, “The idea of merchandising within fabric and color is important, we lay out fabrics to determine how they work together, and pattern is vital to selling online.”

Both Ward and Garcia Espejo spend a lot of time in store and at trunk shows, working with customers, getting feedback, and using the feedback they get on the ground to inspire future designs. They take great pride in helping to style their customers, maintaining their own identity and individuality. They often tell first-time clients, “You have been salted.”


In addition to beautiful clothes, it’s important to Ward and Garcia Espejo that they give back along the way, and to that end regularly donate a portion of sales to causes like Glam 4 Good, NAACP/Legal Defense Fund, and Maui Fire relief. They raised and donated funds for the Matthew Sheppard Foundation under their “Erase Hate” banner, creating a $40 t-shirt that was exclusively sold on The Salting website.

In the past year, The Salting debuted at New York Fashion Week in September and is getting ready for another showing in February. The company has focused on its own website, making upgrades, enhancing social media, and growing its database — all of which helped double e-commerce sales in only one year.

Founded in NoMad, Ward and Garcia Espejo started the business from their apartment and leased their first office above one of their favorite restaurants, La Pecora Bianca. The duo, who has been together for 11 years and married for six, told us, “We never thought we would be in business together, it wasn’t the plan, but we love it. When we have to work late or meet a deadline, we are in it together. We found our magic spot, we are dreaming, creating beauty, and have endless possibilities ahead.”