A few weeks ago, Maggie Marilyn staged her first runway show at New Zealand Fashion Week. While the designer normally presents during the pre-season calendar in New York, she felt it was important for those involved in helping her namesake brand flourish to see the designs come to life on her home turf; Marilyn’s manufacturers and suppliers sat front row.
Back in New York for the September market, she was asked if she would ever consider hosting a runway show here. She responded with an excited “yes,” but qualified it by adding, only at the right time with the right message.
One of the sustainability maven’s goals for her company, which is turning three years old later this week, has been to become a circular brand, as in reusing prior collections, recycling dead-stock and consumer-waste fabrics to design new ensembles. The designer hoped to achieve 50 percent circularity by the end of 2020, but was impressively able to do so ahead of schedule with her latest lineup.
“That was a big milestone for us,” Marilyn said. “I think [I’m] always trying to find the balance of producing new seasons and new collections with commercial viability as a brand, but then the role to have a good impact on the environment and give back what we take away in an industry that’s so inherently not like that.”
Marilyn’s success resides in her ability to design aspirational clothing that can also make a positive difference, for instance, an easy shift dress made from consumer-waste polyester or a sweet all-black safari shirt with ribbed pants, both made of recycled fabrics. Aside from the circular fabrics, Marilyn uses natural, sustainable options throughout her collections.
This season, Marilyn also brought back a number of customer favorites — her Dreamer dress from season one and her best-selling blazer with ruffle and button-up godet details in a palette that was more neutral and grounded than recent seasons. There were still beautiful sky-blue, salmon-orange and baby-pink color offerings, but Marilyn also made way for a wider selection of black, dark green, deep blue and new linen pieces in a creamy hue. There was even a black and white abstract floral print.
Outside of fan favorites, the lineup included a mix of flirty little tops and skirts, billowing open-back dresses, tailored separates and a new, welcomed selection of more cocktail offerings. Marilyn explained that having a show pushed her to design the more evening options, like a hand-embroidered black crop top with slim floor-length skirt or strapless gown with hand-tucked details at the hips.