Luxury eco label designer Maggie Hewitt addresses fashion week with an inspirational speech ahead of her debut show.
By Carolyn Enting
It is the accepted norm for fashion designers to take a bow at the end of their catwalk collection presentation but Maggie Hewitt of New Zealand sustainable luxury wear brand Maggie Marilyn turned that on it’s head at her debut New Zealand Fashion Week show.
Instead she addressed the fashionable crowd, amassed in her honour at the Glasshouse in Morningside which had been converted into a earthy paradise with a real grass runway, fresh fruit and flowers, and clothes lines hanging with Maggie Marilyn designs.
Her speech, preceded a stunning collection of garments made from fabrics such as rose petals, and bias cuts to swoon for. The models were also beautifully diverse.
Hewitt shared that a couple of months ago she was asked to write a piece on success. “It came at an interesting moment. We had probably had one of our toughest months since launching Maggie Marilyn. The problems seemed endless and I simply wasn’t feeling successful. I think often when we hear the word success, it’s linked to financial prosperity. I had to ask myself, what does success mean to me?”
So like any millennial Hewitt googled the definition of success. The Cambridge dictionary defines it as ‘the achieving of results wanted or hoped for’.
“I know the results I want and hope and want go far beyond our bottom line. It’s our role at Maggie Marilyn to educate our customer. To show them that beautiful clothing can be made from supply chain where every single person is empowered. It is my mission to show people that through their purchasing power it is possible to actually have regenerative impact on our planet. We cannot continue to pillage our land, litter our seas, pollute our atmosphere and exploit fellow human beings all in the name of fashion,” said Hewitt.
“Design, in its purest, is supposed to be a problem solver so it’s time that we redesigned, rebuilt and problem-solved our way to an industry that puts people and the planet at the forefront of every decision. The health, or dare I say it, the survival of our planet is dependent on us realising that everyone and everything is inextricably connected. Some of the mountains we face today can seem almost too large to climb but what the earth looks like 50 years, 100 years from now will be entirely a reflection of our actions today. We have one generation to save our planet.
“Through history all societal changes have started at a grass roots level. Revolution starts small and grows. We all have the power to create change and my internal optimist believes we can do it.”
Hewitt said ‘optimism’, where anything is possible and ‘integrity’, doing the right thing at the right time for the right reasons, were the two vital values that have shaped Maggie Marilyn to where it is today.
“They drive our purpose, protect our mission and will continue to be our guiding light as we grow and prosper. So, what is the secret to success at Maggie Marilyn? Well I’m 25 and still trying to figure that out. We have had extraordinary highs and some extraordinary lows but success to me will always be measured by the positive impact Maggie Marilyn has on our community, environment and the fashion industry at large,” she said. “I’m optimistic about the journey ahead because I’m surrounded by an amazing community of change-makers with fire in the belly … while the road to success at times seems unrelenting, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that what we are doing here at Maggie Marilyn is for the better. I may be a small time girl at heart but with all of you by my side the journey to achieving all that I want and hope for feels hopeful.”