As a local pioneer of sustainability, Maggie Hewitt is helping to shape a modern and empathetic view of fashion. The founder of brand Maggie Marilyn, who will show for the first time at NZ Fashion Week, reflects on the secrets of her success.
I think often when we hear the word “success” it’s linked to commercial prosperity, the “big number” that is reported on as a measure of accomplishment. The Cambridge Dictionary defines it as “the achieving of the results wanted or hoped for”. So writing a piece on success is not easy when my brand is still in its infancy – but I know unequivocally that the results I “want and hope for” go far beyond our bottom line.
The world is changing rapidly, people’s spending habits are shifting and, particularly amongst my own generation, I see a fierce sense of moral righteousness emerging as young people recognise the global challenges ahead. I believe it is our role to educate our customers, to show them that beautiful clothes can be made in an equally beautiful supply chain where every person is empowered. It is my mission to show people that, through our purchasing power, we have the opportunity to have a regenerative impact on our planet.
We have been privileged to grow exponentially over the three short years we have been in business, and being stocked in some of the world’s most premium department stores has been surreal for a girl from a small town with a big dream. It has given us the platform to project our mission further and faster, and become a valued voice in the sustainable fashion conversation globally. But I have come to realise the barrier to customer communication and education our wholesale partners pose. To truly have the power to educate and create change, we must be able to hold a direct line of communication with our customer, and eventually building our own bricks and mortar stores around the world is the best platform through which to tell our story; we want to redefine what luxury means in a modern world.
Optimism and integrity are two vital traits that have shaped Maggie Marilyn into what it is today and must continue to be entwined in our story as we grow and prosper. Our purpose as a business is to place people and the planet at the forefront of every decision. To uphold this, we live by two core values – the first being endless optimism: a relentless belief that anything is possible. The second is integrity: doing the right thing, at the right time, for the right reason, regardless of the consequences.
Success, to me, will always be measured by the positive impact Maggie Marilyn can have on our community and the fashion industry at large. I’m tremendously optimistic about the journey ahead and, with my amazing group of mentors, passionate community of manufacturers and suppliers, and my fiercely loyal team, I know Maggie Marilyn will help change the world as we know it. It can sometimes be difficult to maintain faith that the mountainous challenges ahead can be overcome, that they are but temporary setbacks on the path to an ethical and sustainable fashion industry. However, I like to remember that there was once a New Zealander who climbed a mountain seemingly too high to conquer.