We caught up with rising ethical designer Maggie Marilyn, whose contemporary designs are now stocked by Net A Porter and praised worldwide.
Hi Maggie, when you last spoke to us (almost two years ago), you were part of our ‘up & coming designers’ feature. What can you tell us has changed since then?
I graduated from Whitecliffe on December 2015 and started working on my own label at the beginning of 2016.
You’ve had an amazing start to your career with Net A Porter being your stockists, how does it feel to have your designs sold on one of the most well known online luxury websites?
I am so incredibly grateful to Lisa Aitken, Flo Campbell and Sarah Ruston for believing in me.
What is so great about our partnership with Net A Porter is that even though we are based in New Zealand we are now a global brand; we are accessible to everyone and that is something I’ve always wanted. For this to happen in the brands first season is truly a dream come true.
Last time we talked to you, you vocalized your aim to create awareness on ethical and stainable fashion; you said “I will seek to change the current fast fashion cycle, to a slow, sustainable and ethical approach…
I can create contemporary fashion forward collections that do not have a negative impact on the environment for the men and women involved in the creation…” do you still feel strongly about this issue?
I want to build a beautiful and luxurious brand, but luxury to us also means having a brand that is transparent, so knowing where our fabrics come from, and where our garments are produced is extremely important. It is important that these beautiful people who are involved in the production of MM garments are treated with respect and paid a fair living wage. It is all about making the right choices.
We all live in this world and have the power to impact it in a positive way. That is my mission – to build a beautiful and commercially successful brand that enriches the lives of everyone involved, from the customer right through to the creators.
I personally really love your designs, how would you describe the aesthetic of your label?
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 MM collections everyday.
That luxury means beautiful fabrics and beautiful garment execution whilst still being something people can afford and that it can be attainable.
It seems as though you’ve had an eventful year; what are you looking forward to in the New Year?
We will be going live with our own e-commerce website very soon. The ability to build relationships and to sell direct to the MM customer will be so amazing. This will then evolve into having our own MM stores for our customers to have the true shopping experience of what the brand has to offer.
I imagine the stores will be in all major cities. Entrepreneurs like my mum, dad and Jo Knight surround me and we have a clear goal of establishing our own stores as quickly as the brand growth will allow.
It’s hard to put an exact time on it with only my launch collection out in the world but I hope to have my first store within the next 2 years. I just have such a strong drive and passion for this brand, I literally live and breath it! I don’t want the brand to just plod along, I want women to fall in love and for it to be a totally love affair.
More Maggie Marilyn here
Interview by Leena Park
Photos courtesy of Maggie Marilyn