Designer Meredith Lockhart
When I was a child, I could hardly wait for Christmas too see what kind of clothes my mother had made for my dolls. I think that was the beginning of my interest in sewing and design. I played with an amazing set of paper dolls that my aunt and mother had made when they were teenagers. These were beautifully hand water colored dolls with these wonderful dresses that dated from the late 1800's thru the 30's. When I was in the seventh grade, I made my first dress that I could wear to school, and my teachers complimented me on it and I was hooked! Coming from a family of talented artists and musicians probably sealed my destiny. After many years of work in interior design and art related work, in 1989, I created Thistles West to produce and market high end western and crossover fashions.
In 1997, I decided to give something back to the community and went to work for an arts organization in Kansas City, Missouri that did programs for inner city, at-risk and adjudicated youth. During that time, we continued to make clothing for major country music artists for TV award shows, videos and CD covers. I was drawn back into the fashion business because of so many requests for my fashions, thus the Merezia Custom label was created for the designs made and worn by rodeo queens for state and national pageants.
Inspiration for my designs comes from the love of the western culture. I have had horses since I was a teenager. I married a farmer and live where I am surrounded by horses, cattle and beautiful countryside. Yes, Kansas is not all flat with wheat fields for miles and miles.
Embellishment ideas come from the rodeo queen wear and she adds them to the accessories. I strive to make a high quality product and likes creating things that women feel good about wearing. My love of the western way of life has driven me to design bags, belts and fashions with western flair.