Designing Women


Mother and daughter fashion designers Darcy Cruz and Alexa Mordvinkin started their own clothing and accessories line—me&d—as a way to take their minds off their troubles.

At age 12, Mordvinkin was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and underwent two years of intense treatment, missing seventh and eighth grades. In remission for three years, she starting having symptoms again while a senior in high school. Doctors found a lesion on her brain. “Her motor skills weren’t working right,” says Cruz. “She could not knit, sew or draw. She couldn’t drive or work.”

At the time, the budding young designer—who learned her craft from watching her mom, a self-taught seamstress who often made clothes from her own patterns—was in the midst of making shirts, headbands, scarves and canvas bags for a school fashion show promoting cancer awareness as part of her senior project. Me&d was birthed to counter the depression they both felt about the lesion.

“It kinda kept us distracted and kept us motivated to do something good,” says Cruz. The Folsom-based pair put items on and soon had buyers from as far away as Canada and the Netherlands.

These days, Mordvinkin, now 20 and with a clean bill of health, runs the business side of me&d—she designed the logo and website, which includes photos of her modeling items from the clothing line—while Cruz concentrates on the sewing. Both women contribute to the design of clothing, handbags and, soon, belts. Clothing items, including their popular yoga wraps and kimono tops, are designed to be great layering pieces, providing soft, sculptural silhouettes in cotton, fleece and sweatshirt materials complete with raw edges. Their handmade clothing and one-of-a-kind leather handbags can be found locally at Uptown Girl in El Dorado Hills and online at

“It started out to be something for our sanity,” says Cruz, “and now it’s turning out to be something even bigger.”