“When we were young, our family didn’t have much money and our parents couldn’t afford to buy us a Barbie doll. My sister Peggy and I would improvise by drawing dolls on paper and designing little paper dresses for them,” says Maggie, co-founder of women’s fashion label MOSSÉE.
Now, Maggie and her sister/business partner Peggy are busy finalising “real” dresses for their label’s overseas debut at Fashion Palette in New York this month.
“We are very excited about Fashion Palette New York and hope this will be the first of many overseas showings!”
The MOSSÉE brand operates with an eco-conscious ethic and utilises a high quality European mico-modal textile in the formation of many of its design creations.
Editor, Michelle Larin, caught up with Maggie to talk about her label, Fashion Palette and other things fashion related.
Q: Tell me what encouraged you and your sister to start your own label?
A: Members of our family have a background in fashion. Our grandfather was a tailor and our aunt is a fashion manufacturer, so we have always been drawn towards clothing and textiles. Our family has always encouraged us to pursue our dreams and what we are doing now is just that.
Q: Why the name MOSSÉE?
A: I wanted the name to begin with an “M” for my name Maggie and, since Australia has been my family’s home for a good portion of time, I also wanted it to have an Australian flavour. Hence the name MOSSÉE came about; as some people pronounce it as Maussie (however we pronounce it Mo-say).
Q: I want to know about the two women behind the label. Tell me about you and your sister, Peggy.
A: I have a Bachelor of Arts in design, majoring in textile costume design, jewellery design and computer graphic design, whilst Peggy studied accounting at Sydney University. After 7 years of working for others, Peggy decided to quit her job to start working on our fashion label. Fashion is much more interesting than punching numbers and this has given Peggy an outlet to express her creative side.
We both love everything to do with fashion – clothes, handbags, shoes, make-up, etc. We also love to travel and enjoy seeing and experiencing other cultures.
Q: How do you conceptualise your designs?
A: I draw my designs on paper in order to conceptualise them. Then, I shortlist my designs by selecting what I think will be fashionable next season. I also put the designs onto my computer and pick the colours and patterns that would best suit the design style. My standard is high and I discard a design if I don't like the way the garment turns out as a sample.
Q: What elements influence your designs?
A: I travel about four to five times per year and travelling generally inspires my designs. I can be influenced by anything from a pattern on a tea-cup, the interior design of a restaurant or simply by seeing what and how other people from different cultures are wearing their clothing out on the streets!
Q: Where are your garments made and what types of fabrics do you use?
A: Our garments are made in China (using sustainable practices) and our core fabric is micro-modal. The micro-modal we use is of a high quality yarn; this is the first fabric we chose when we founded our label in 2008.
Q: What's your opinion on eco-fashion?
A: Eco-fashion is not only about the end fabric being used, but also the complete process in the manufacture of garments. Our garments are quite durable and made to last a few seasons without discolouration. We try to minimise our carbon footprint where possible.
Q: Tell me about your latest collection.
A: Our MOSSÉE spring summer 2013/14 collection features a selection of warm, lush colours and eye-catching, contemporary styles, using daring cut-outs, sheer fabric, laces, floral prints and more. The inspiration for this collection is derived from our recent travels throughout Europe, in particular the Mediterranean coastline.
Q: What are the biggest challenges you face as a fashion designer?
A: Three things:
1. Managing time – It is mandatory to meet deadlines and sometimes it feels like I have no time to rest. As the garments are being made, I am constantly making decisions to keep production flowing.
2. Achieving the minimum – A minimum quantity needs to be reached in order to make the whole design process cost effective.
3. Effective utilisation – It is important to think about how to utilise all of your fabric when designing garments in order to keep wastage (and costs) to a minimum.
Q: Tell me about your recent showing at Fashion Palette in Sydney earlier this year?
A: It was the second time we have participated at a Fashion Palette event and we all had a fabulous time. It is always thrilling to see your designs on a catwalk, receiving applause from the audience. It was a great venue and the people we were surrounded by made it a wonderful night.
Q: You're showing at the Fashion Palette show in New York this month - can you tell me more about that?
A: We are very excited about showing at Fashion Palette in New York, as it will be MOSSÉE’s first international show and in one of the world's fashion capitals! We hope it will lead to many more opportunities to show overseas.
Q: What do you think are the biggest strengths of Australian fashion designers?
A: The biggest strengths Australian designers possess would have to be their creativity, talent and passion. The passion they have for fashion is admirable. I find many Australian designers make great use of colours and most will design their clothes in harmony with the natural environment.
Q: Which celebrities would you love to dress?
A: There are plenty of celebrities I would love to dress! To name a few: Kate Middleton, Miranda Kerr and Angelina Jolie.
Q: What's next for your brand?
A: We hope to begin selling in the US and continue to expand our business internationally. Our main goal is to see MOSSÉE stocked in stores in North America, Europe and parts of Asia within the next three years.
MOSSÉE clothing is available to purchase from its online store.
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