I’ve always thought nothing is random in this life. Not the people I meet and nor the things I see. So, no wonder when, just one week after I read in Vogue about a fresh young designer from New Zealand (her first collection ever was sold entirely on www.net-a-porter.com), I met Maggie Marilyn in a lovely villa in Paris. “I produce every item in local factories, I oversee each detail and ensure it’s all done in a sustainable way”, said to me Maggie, while I was looking to her ruffled skirts, oversize denim jackets and dresses with bursts of 3-D floral appliqués. “It’s about building a brand that enriches everyone’s lives”, she said.
Therefore, I talked with Maggie Marilyn (a very young designer – she just graduated from a fine arts university in Auckland) about her first encounters with the fashion world, about sustainability and her next collections to come. (www.maggiemarilyn.com)
When was your first encounter with fashion? How did you know that this is the thing you want to do as your job/ business?
When I was 13 I went to boarding school and I was extremely homesick, almost everyday after school I would walk to the newsstand and buy a fashion magazine weather is was Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, Elle, Glamour. Reading these magazines was an amazing escape for me, this was when my true love affair with fashion and luxury fashion houses started. Apparently it was obvious to everyone around me, my obsession with clothes and collaging magazine covers and building of mood boards started when I was very young.
Your first collection was sold on Net-A-Porter. A big achievement for a first collection. How did that happen?
When I graduated university at the end of 2015 I knew I wanted to start my own label. I knew exactly where I wanted to go as a brand I just didn’t know all the roads to lead me there. So I started my label and built my first collection at the beginning of this year, as building a collection was something I knew how to do. Then, well I like to call her my Knight in Shining Armour. I was introduced to Jo Knight through a mutual friend of ours. Jo was the MD of the incredibly beautiful London label Richard Nicoll. Jo and I have an amazing chemistry and she believed in me and the brand and for that I will be eternally grateful. Jo has since come on as the MD for Maggie Marilyn. However our big break came when Jo decided we should go to Sydney fashion week and reached out to her old colleagues at Net A Porter. The buying team in London loved it and so Lisa Akin from Net a Porter came to visit us in a hotel in Sydney and she feel in love. That was so incredible for me as that’s all you want for your brand is for people to fall in love and for it to be a total love affair.
How does the second collection look like? You told me that you try to be also trendy and luxurious, but eco-concious at the same time.
Having this sense of freeness and playfulness in my clothing is very important. As much as I want to build a brand that is luxurious, it is all about livable luxury being able to really live and wear pieces from the Maggie Marilyn collections everyday. That luxury means beautiful fabrics and beautiful garment execution but that it still is something people can afford, that it can be attainable. Also luxury to me means having a brand that is transparent that it is about making the right choices we all live in this world and have the power to impact this world in a positive way.
Where do you find the fabrics, the garments?
Fabrics in the Maggie Marilyn collections come from all over the world, but what is important to me is to have a transparent supply chain to know where the fabrics come from and that they are ethically produced.
What is the piece-signature for Maggie Marilyn? What we will always find in your collections?
I think the George Denim jacket is something that will continually be reinvented in the Maggie Marilyn collections as it is something I would throw on every day, named after my mum, loyal, dependable, strong, gets better with age, put her in any occasion and she will let you shine. The Maggie Marilyn Denim jackets I think evoke the true meaning of liveable luxury.
What inspires you when you think to design a new piece / a new collection?
I have such a connection to the ocean as I grew up by the water, a place at the top of the North Island in New Zealand called the Bay of Islands, we have a family home where the property is called “Somewhere”.