BEHIND THE BRAND: MADEMESeptember 16, 2015
Erin Magee is the designer of MadeMe, Director of Development and Production for Lafayette St. legends Supreme, and ultimate girl boss. We can’t get enough of the autumn/winter 15 collection, which is all plaid plaid and more plaid, but with a twist of 70s punk. Because what outfit is complete without a bucket load of sass? We especially love the ‘Touch Me and Die’ patches. We caught up with Erin to talk about women kicking ass, the Virgin Mary and Johnny Rotten.
UO: What’s the story behind MadeMe? Where did the idea come from and how did you make it happen?
I started MadeMe about 7 years ago. It’s somewhat a reaction to my day job in menswear. There’s this whole other side of me that’s interested in all of these other things for women. During the day I don’t have a chance to get it out. So in 2007 I sold my car on Craigslist, got a check and started MadeMe.
UO: How much does your personal style influence your designs for MadeMe?
A lot. Most of the time the collection consists of pieces I personally want to wear, but don’t seem to be able to find. Or things I can find, but in my eye need some improvement or need to be more interesting. Once in a while I’ll make something that I’d never wear but still admire and like on someone else.
UO: Can you tell us a little about the shoot for the LookBook? Inspirations, locations and models?
Natalia Mantini shot the first lookbook. It was shot in a studio in NYC with two of my favorite downtown girls, Manon Macasaet and Alexandra Marzella. I love all three of them so much, they’re intelligent, cool, artistic women. I feel lucky to work with them. For the second book, I shot with photographer Jason Rodgers. We were set with the task to shoot interesting photos that captured the feeling of the Urban Outfitters x MadeMe tees. We shot Canadian cutie Alana Derksen on a NYC rooftop with a fisheye lens. The feeling was very early 90’s skate.
UO: Can you talk us through the design process for this collection – from initial idea to finished product?
I always start with a central piece, it’s usually outerwear then I build around it. I will say to myself, ok what would the girl want to wear with this jacket? A kilt? A turtleneck? I tend to go from there.
UO: What are some of the influences or moods inspiring this collection?
It’s inspired by the fantasy of a Catholic schoolgirl falling in love with Johnny Rotten. The use of authentic plaids throughout the collection is equally a nod to catholic school uniforms as they are to late 70′s British Punk. The recurring use of the word “Immaculate” is meant as an ironic contradiction, as you can clearly see this girl is anything but the Virgin Mary.
UO: What / who inspires you?
Women kicking ass inspires me. No matter the field, I am truly inspired by a woman who’s not afraid to put herself into the world and go for it.
UO: What has been the most important lesson you’ve learnt in fashion? Any wise words to pass on to women seeking a career in the industry?
Talent and taste are important, but running your own brand has more to do with business than creativity. I think a lot of very talented artistic people get lost in the business of fashion. My advice to younger woman would be to get out there and give it a try. But be smart about your business.
Also, the coolest thing you can ever do as a young woman is put your art into the world and feel strongly about it and be proud of it. To any girl who wants to make an impact, just do it. Don’t feel shy about it or care what your boyfriend, what your guy friends, or what any other girl thinks — just put it out there.
UO: What was the biggest challenge pulling the collection together?
Time is my biggest challenge. The timelines are short, and MadeMe isn’t the only thing I do for a living. So finding the right amount of time to turn ideas into reality is a constant struggle. Not only do we have to execute the ideas, but also they have to be good. So there’s a lot of editing and improvements that need to be made along the way. Time is always tight, but it seems to always get done in the end. I keep my collection fairly small for this reason. So that everything we make is really good. Less is always more and restraint is very important.
UO: Do you have a favourite piece from the collection?
My favorite piece from the Fall 2015 MadeMe collection is the Immaculate Two-Tone Kilt.
UO: How do you seek to empower women through your designs / how do you think fashion can empower women?
Working in fashion, and owning a company is empowering in itself. Fashion is a business. It’s not easy and any woman that can make it happen is truly empowered and empowering. And of course dressing well makes it all just look better.
UO: You’ve mentioned the importance of versatility in fashion, so what’s next for MadeMe in 2016?
I hope MadeMe can keep getting better season after season. Better clothes, better price points, and a bigger reach to more super cool girls.