Podcast 81, MAGGIE MARILYN, THE EMERGING SUSTAINABLE FASHION NAME TO KNOW
EPISODE 81 FEATURES MAGGIE MARILYN
Meet the millennial behind cult New Zealand label Maggie Marilyn. We hear a lot about how the Gens Y and Z are more woke, more into sustainability and of course more worried about climate change and the environment - why wouldn’t they be? These are the generations that are going to inherit the mess that’s been made. They are already inheriting it.
Find out why designer Maggie Hewitt is determined to do fashion differently, how she sold her very first collection to Net-A-Porter and gets most excited about seeing her clothes worn by women she doesn’t know in the street. Yep, even though Megan Markle, Kendall Jenner and Rose McGowan are fans.
The Maggie Marilyn brand launched in 2016, and is Made in New Zealand. Big on pink, but never simply pretty, these clothes evoke a sense of feminine strength and speak to the designer’s passion for sustainable production and materials.
“A lot of designers hesitate to get into the nitty-gritty of all that, because they worry it will make their brand seem preachy, or will somehow create an impression that they don’t prioritize great design,” wrote US Vogue’s Emily Farra in June 2018. “Six seasons in, [Hewitt] is feeling more confident about her ethics and her aesthetics than ever.”
Hear how Maggie got ahead, exactly what she does in terms of sustainability and how she built her strategy - because stuff doesn’t just happen. Hint, it takes a village, and Instagram helps.
“THE WHY IS EVERYTHING. BUSINESS IS HARD, WHETHER YOU HAVE A SUSTAINABILITY MISSION OR NOT. IT TESTS EVERY FIBRE OF YOUR BEING. IT’S THE HARDEST THING I’VE EVER DONE, AND ‘THE WHY’ IS WHAT GETS ME OUT OF BED IN THE MORNING. IT’S BUILDING A BRAND THAT IS TRANSPARENT, AND THAT’S ACCOUNTABLE, AND HOPEFULLY CIRCULAR ONE DAY, AND EMPOWERING TO EVERYONE INVOLVED IN THE SUPPLY CHAIN.” - Maggie Hewitt
WHAT WE TALK ABOUT…
WHITECLIFFE COLLEGE OF FASHION AND SUSTAINABILITY is an art school in Auckland.
A NET-A-PORTER can make a brand? It’s the world's largest global luxury retailer, and carries mega-big names like Gucci and Balenciaga, Chloe and Balmain, so for emerging brands it’s the dream to win their approval. But Net-A-Porter also knows the value of acquiring cool new talents. Last year, they launched The Vanguard mentorship scheme for emerging brands. Check out the selection here & discover names like Souliers Martinez and Les Revieres. You heard it here (well, actually, there) first.
THE ICONIC‘s new Considered platform allows customers to search the site according to their values, including: sustainable materials, eco production, fair production, animal friendly, and community engagement. They say: “Our Considered edit consists of products made using a material or process that is better for humans, animals or the environment, or made by a brand that is positively contributing to the community around us. Being included in our Considered edit means they have at least one sustainability credential, highlighted on the product page.”
Clare mentions FARFETCH. They’ve just launched a new sustainability category called Positively Conscious. Farfetch asked her to choose some of her favourite sustainable looks she actually wears. She included Maggie Marilyn, as well as Nobody Denim, KitX, Nagnata, Ginger and Smart, Stella McCartney and Bianca Spender. See the full edit here.
You can read all about Maggie’s SUSTAINABILITY strategy here. Including the stuff about the bioplastic packaging. “We wanted to make it really clear to our customers so we put it online, and that was also to hold ourselves accountable,” she says.
SIMON SINEK. He’s the Why guy. Watch his TED talk here. This is the quote Clare reads to Maggie: “A good leader must provide vision: why are we doing this, why are we in business in the first place - what is the point? What are your values, what’s the purpose? What do you want to leave behind when you are gone?”
“OUR MISSION IS TO DO BETTER THAN THOSE BEFORE US.” MAGGIE HEWITT
GENERATIONAL SHIFT. According to Nielsen, 72% millennials are willing pay more for products and brands committed to more social & eco responsibility. BoF says it’s 66% Either way - do they just say it, or actually do it? The Forbes story Clare mentions is called, “Greener Than You: Boomers, Gen X & Millennials Score Themselves on The Environment” - read it here. Maggie thinks each generation has its activist core. The difference today, she says, is that the issue is climate change. “Fear can either cripple you or it can empower you to act,” says Maggie. Oh, and you can read about the word Youthquake being the Oxford Dictionaries word of the year for 2017, here.
GRETA THUNBERG is our actual hero. Bow down. Now watch her TED talk. Be warned YOU WILL NEED TISSUES.
READING LIST The book Maggie mentions is The Uninhabitable World by DAVID WALLACE-WELLS. You might also want to order your copy of Rise and Resist, How to change the world, to get your climate activism fix.
IS CLIMATE LABELLING ON FOOD THE FUTURE?
Trust the Danes. They’re so good at eco firsts. In October 2018, TIME reported Denmark planned to label food according to its environmental impact. “We want to give consumers the means to assess in supermarkets the environmental impact of products,” said Minister for the Environment Lars Christian Lilleholt.
“It might be necessary to weigh up the environmental impact against the nutritional value of the product. A bottle of soda may have a low environmental impact, but it is not a product you can live on,” said Danish Agriculture & Food Council director Morten Høyer said in a press statement.
Now they’re actually doing it. Read more here.
ROYAL TICK OF APPROVAL. The Duchess of Sussex wore Maggie’s “Leap of Faith” blazer dress on her NZ tour with Prince Harry in October 2018. “It was definitely an amazing moment for the brand,” says Maggie. But? “Still, when I see someone that I don’t know walking down the street in Maggie Marilyn it literally makes my heart flutter. There is nothing that gives me more happiness.”
Clare mentions Outland Denim, the social enterprise based between Australia and Cambodia, and how the Markle Sparkle had real, and quantifiable impact on their business - when the Duchess wore their jeans, they got so many new orders they were able to hire 36 more women in need. Listen to Episode 55 with Outland’s founder, James Bartle here.
A NOTE ON OUR MUSIC: IT IS BY OUR FRIEND MONTAIGNE, WHO SANG A SPECIAL ACOUSTIC VERSION OF "BECAUSE I LOVE YOU" JUST FOR US. IT'S FROM HER ALBUM GLORIOUS HEIGHTS.
THANK YOU FOR JOINING THE WARDROBE CRISIS CONVERSATION. WE'LL HAVE A NEW EPISODE FOR YOU EVERY WEDNESDAY. CAN YOU HELP US SPREAD THE WORD? WE'D LOVE YOU TO TELL YOUR FRIENDS & LEAVE A REVIEW IN iTUNES.
Until next time,