We talk to Maggie Hewitt of Maggie Marilyn about her namesake brand’s partnership with Mercedes-Benz.
It’s long been a tradition for luxury fashion labels to partner with automobile manufacturers, blending shared design and lifestyle values.
Conscious luxury brand Maggie Marilyn recently announced its partnership with Mercedes-Benz. Designer Maggie Hewitt describes the collaboration as one between brands that are both “championing change, with bold intention and innovation”.
When Mercedes-Benz initially approached Maggie Marilyn, Hewitt conducted lengthy research to decide if the opportunity was aligned. She explains, “I think it is such an interesting time to partner with Mercedes-Benz as we are both redefining what it means to be luxury brands in this moment in history. I believe the ‘new’ luxury is using technology and innovation to find solutions to the current climate crisis. Both brands are committed to bold and courageous action.”
Hewitt is a known champion of conscious fashion. Her clothing is intended to be purchased with intention and loved for a lifetime. Committed to a softer footprint on our planet, each piece is crafted from traceable and organic or repurposed fibres, responsibly made in New Zealand and always produced in limited runs.
When asked whether she considers Maggie Marilyn to be one of the most sustainable apparel brands in the world, she aptly responds: “we are careful when using the word sustainability as it has become such an umbrella term for greenwashing. We prefer to use words such as transparent, circular, regenerative and inclusive. I don’t think the goal is to be the most sustainable brand in the world. The goal is to change the game so it is fairer and kinder for everyone involved. We want to rebuild an industry that empowers everyone in the supply chain and ultimately has a regenerative impact on the environment. It is not enough to just sustain.”
And Hewitt is doing just this, audaciously closing Maggie Marilyn’s wholesale business to focus on direct to consumer and amending inventory ratios to help influence textile growers’ transitions to regenerative fibres.
“We’re putting all resources into creating seasonless offerings that are traceable, organic, recycled or repurposed. This was a values-based decision and for us was the only answer to furthering our progress around transparency, circularity, inclusivity and regeneration”, says Hewitt.
Similarly, Mercedes-Benz, via its Ambition 2039 program, strives for a holistic approach to sustainability. This approach includes investing in creating a circular economy via closed material cycles, more efficient processes and an increased share of recycled materials across the entire product portfolio.
It aims to create a fully networked and completely CO2-neutral vehicle fleet by 2039 and for plug-in hybrids or all-electric vehicles to make up more than 50% of its sales by 2030.
General Manager of Mercedes-Benz, Lance Bennett, says: “as a producer of vehicles that are innovative, technologically driven and beautiful to use, we always want to work with brands who share our values, and are honoured to announce our partnership with Maggie Marilyn,” he said.
Bennett cites the example of the all-electric EQC, 2020 New Zealand Car of the Year, which enables locally emission-free driving and includes almost 100 components produced from renewable sources such as hemp, kenaf, wool, cotton, paper and natural rubber.
“As more consumers become aware of their own impact on the environment and shift their mindset, this leaves a space in the market for brands with a conscience whose products are seen as an investment.”
Hewitt also points to the Mercedes-Benz brand’s longevity, being founded in 1926, almost 100 years ago.
“I want Maggie Marilyn to be here 100 years from now and with that as our northern star it reminds me that building a brand and business that can weather many storms requires focus on designing for the long term, not cutting corners but instead designing something that is meant to last”, says Hewitt.
Together, Mercedes-Benz and Maggie Marilyn will create events and content designed to build community and foster connection through the brands’ shared dedication towards mindful and sustainable business practices.