Meet Maggie Marilyn, The New Zealand Designer Breaking Barriers

Meet Maggie Marilyn, The New Zealand Designer Breaking Barriers

Meet Maggie Marilyn, The New Zealand Designer Breaking Barriers

At only 23 years old, the burgeoning New Zealand designer is already on a path to success.

At only 23 years old, the burgeoning New Zealand designer is already on a path to success.

Text: Danielle Combs

Reaching the heights of the fashion industry as a designer is a tough path to forge, but New Zealand-based designer Maggie Marilyn has managed to carve out her own niche with her eponymous sustainable luxury clothing line. At only 23 years old, Maggie is making her mark on the face of fashion with her clean, structured designs and her commitment to empowering women and using an ethical manufacturing process. With just one year out of design school, Maggie has taken her line to the next level by partnering with megawatt e-commerce brand Net-a-Porter, who stocked her very first collection consisting of rosy-hued and white minimalist garments. Today, the rising designer has expanded her stockist lineup to include 35 retail partners and 70 doors internationally consisting of: Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Shopbop, INTERMIX and Moda Operandi to name a few.

Each piece from her line, many of which are made of more conscious materials like denim and silk, possesses an air of coolness and a sense of understated glamour, making her ethical and sustainable luxury line an instant hit among a wide array of women. In an exclusive interview with V, Maggie sat down with us to discuss her rise to success and future plans for her environmentally conscious line.

When did you realize you wanted to become a fashion designer? Do you ever imagine yourself following this path? 

To be honest I don’t remember ever not wanting to be in fashion or to have my own brand. I come from an entrepreneurial family, so I always knew I wanted to work for myself. I am a dreamer. I really want to make a difference in our world through creating an ethically and sustainably conscious brand.

Maggie Marilyn is manufactured in New Zealand and I feel really passionate about contributing to my community, the relationship we have with all of our wonderful makers is extremely special, they are like an extended family. Growing Maggie Marilyn means so much more to me than just making beautiful clothes. I want to empower women and enrich the lives of the incredible people who contribute to making our garments. You only get one life—why not contribute to making your world a place you are proud to live in.

How did growing up in New Zealand enhance or shape the way you perceive fashion? 

I think growing up in New Zealand has had a huge effect on the aesthetic of the brand and how I design. There is this real sense of livability and wearability in the clothes that I think comes from the more laidback lifestyle we have as Kiwis. However, I have always had a yearning for beautiful and luxurious things so I think from this comes the idea of livable Luxury. Clothes that are beautifully made using quality fabrics but garments our customer feels she can really wear everyday and can dress up or down.

What was design school like for you and how did that experience shape you as a designer? 

Design school [allowed me] to hone in on my technical skills as a designer by helping my ability to understand pattern cutting and garment construction. I believe this is so integral—not only to be a good designer but to understand production and how to run a clothing manufacturing company. Design school is also where I grew a greater understanding and awareness for the negative effect the fashion industry can have on the environment and also the people involved in the supply chain.

This is when I really decided that if I was going to have my own label, and contribute more clothing to an already saturated market, I was going to be a brand that was a vehicle for change. To be a brand that had a completely transparent supply chain to ensure that everyone involved in the creation of Maggie Marilyn garments is treated with the love and respect they deserve and to make clothing with true heart and integrity.

When was your line conceived? 

I started building my first collection once I graduated university, so the beginning of 2016.

How would you describe your design aesthetic? 

I would describe my line as optimistic, feminine and playful. I want to empower our Maggie Marilyn women.

What is your design process like?

It is really organic to be honest, I love going to my parent’s summerhouse in the Bay of Islands in New Zealand to design. It is so serene and quiet—it’s where I truly feel at peace.

I admired your usage of color and stripes in your most recent collection. What was the inspiration behind Season 4?

Thank you! Yes, season 4 was inspired by the last days of summer when you have a few more freckles, you are feeling sun-kissed, strong and optimistic about the world. So there is a lot of color, sunshine yellows, fuchsia, and warm reds.

What’s the best part about your partnership with Net-a-Porter? What has that relationship meant to you?

I feel truly honored for the belief Lisa Aiken and Net-a-Porter had for my brand from my very first collection. You cannot underestimate the power of a brand like Net-a-Porter launching you to the world. I was a global brand straight away. This was extremely exciting [for me], as I knew I wanted Maggie Marilyn to be a brand for women in all regions around the world.

Do you plan to expand into accessories next?

Definitely! I feel really passionate about Maggie Marilyn eventually being a lifestyle brand. However for right now, I want to grow our ready-to-wear and have strong brand awareness before expanding into accessories.

Being so young, what advice would you offer others who want to follow the same path? 

Know that the world is filled with so many incredible possibilities and you have the power to conquer your greatest dreams. If you have determination, resilience and a true love and passion for what you do the world is your oyster. Go out there and change your world!

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