Maggie Marilyn is a brand on a mission to change how we think about sustainable fashion. The company’s ethos of ‘livable luxury’ begins with designer Maggie Hewitt’s inspiration to create clothes that are sustainable, ethical and beautiful.
Not content with building an international client base that includes Kendall Jenner, or setting records at Net-a-Porter, the company has opened its doors to introduce us to the people in the production line as part of its sustainability strategy.
The brand’s committed to using local manufacturers, from pattern cutters to seamstresses to screen printers, is highlighted in the ‘Meet the Makers’ video that showcases the talent New Zealand has in the garment industry and their connection with the people involved.
The Last Fashion Bible spoke to Hewitt again recently about the video and how she hopes it will inspire others to be more transparent in their practices.
Tell us about the inspiration behind your ‘Meet the Makers’ video.
We produced this video back in February 2018. However, it is still very relevant and most of our manufacturers have stayed the same. The relationships we have with our makers are an integral part of our business and a story we felt was important to share.
How was it received?
It was received really well. We always have really positivity feedback with any behind the scenes we show, people want to know the process of how their clothes are made and we love being able to share this. It creates a greater connection and value to the items you buy.
Historically, designers have kept their makers under wraps, keeping their ‘trade secrets’ to themselves. Why did you decide to be transparent with your supply chain?
We think transparency should be how all businesses operate. We are very open with sharing all our makers and suppliers on our website. We strongly believe that in order to create positive change in the fashion industry we need to be sharing our process and supporting other designers in adopting ethical and sustainable supply chains.
Tell us about the goals of your 2020 ‘Sustainability Strategy’?
In 2020 we will review our strategy and set new targets. We will always continue to question and challenge the best way forward where people and the planet are given equal importance to the bottom line.
You are renowned for your message of conscious luxury. Do you have any tips for people who want to be more conscientious with their fashion choices but don’t know where to start?
The most sustainable thing is to hold onto the clothes that you already have. When they break, fix them. Wash them gently to help them last longer. Do everything you can to love your clothing for as long as possible. If you are looking to buy new, invest in conscious brands with sustainable values. If you love brands that don’t have these values — ask them why. The more you question and challenge the brands you love, the more they will change.
As we know, sustainable and ethically produced items tend to cost more than their fast-fashion counterparts. What advice can you give to those who are style conscious and feel they may not be able to afford conscious luxury?
Buy less, buy quality, mend more, wash less and love longer.
Embrace second hand and clothing swaps with friends! If you are looking to buy something new, try to save your money and invest in a company whose values align with your own. This may mean buying two new items are year instead of 20, but you will value these items more and keep them so much longer.
Learn more about Maggie Marilyn, Meet the Makers and the brand’s sustainability strategy at maggiemarilyn.com.