By Chere Di Boscio
Whether it’s as an entertainer, fashion designer or CEO, the normal recipe for fame involves: a) being born in a major city like London or Paris; b) having famous or well-connected relatives c) having loads of money to start up your business. Failing those three factors, it’s possible to reach the zenith of success by showing exceptional talent, but this normally requires slogging it out for years in your field before your brand catches fire. Unless you’re Maggie Marilyn Hewitt, that is.
Born in the tiny coastal town of Kerikeri, New Zealand, the designer was surrounded not by runways and trendy shops, but animals and open, natural spaces. But that provided enough inspiration for the young talent to create unique, sustainable fashion designs that are now favourites with the likes of Karlie Kloss and Kendall Jenner.
But how did the world about Maggie Marilyn’s work reach such huge influencers? It’s all mainly thanks to one lucky meeting big-time fashion buyer from major retailer (Net-a-Porter) at one of Maggie’s Sydney Fashion Week shows. Said buyer was so impressed, she picked up the label on the spot, and now Maggie Marilyn is being touted as “the next big thing” – though the brains behind the brand hasn’t even had her 25th birthday yet.
She describes her sudden fame as ‘pretty surreal’ and ‘a rollercoaster’, and says no matter how hungry you may be for fame and recognition, it’s hard to be prepared for it when it finally comes. But one thing’s for sure: the fine arts and fashion graduate has sharpened her focus. Based on the notion of ‘liveable, sustainable luxury, her brand is now defined by ethically executed clothes in sustainable fabrics that you can wear every day.
She uses organic cottons, ethically produced silks, and recycled metals that aren’t harmful to the environment to manufacture clothes with tiny twists: a ruffle here, a cut-out there, a nod to sportswear merged with Victoriana. All garments are made mainly in a factory in Auckland, just 10 minutes from her studio. There’ll be no Raf Simons-style burnout for this young woman; rather than work from a frenzied office in the heart of Paris or London, she dreams up her wearable, Instagram-friendly designs from her folk’s beach house. And a fast fashion model is definitely not on her agenda, either: from the start, she decided to do shows a mere two times a year “because it allows me more creative time.”
New Zealand boasts few notable sustainable fashion exports other than Kowtow, but Maggie Marilyn is set to supercede even this best-known ethical fashion label – and it seems to us that her world domination of the eco fashion world will come when and how she determines.
For more information or to see her latest collections, click here.