It is possible to own fewer, but better products. Marie Hell garments are created to last, and made to love. The founder reveals what makes her brand a mission to change the way we think about fashion and style.
S: What inspired you to create an ethical and sustainable clothing brand?
Marie Hell: I was introduced to shopping by my grandmother at a young age, and have since enjoyed designing, sewing, and reinventing apparel. The necessity of simple, figure flattering layering pieces that can also be worn on their own has inspired me to make my designs accessible to all women. It is important for me to manufacture Marie Hell garments exclusively in the USA, right down to the hangtags, to ensure that there are no unethical labor practices. The fabric is made from wood pulp milled in California using the Bluesign-certified fabric dyeing process, and the manufacturing is done in New York City, where we monitor production constantly. My hope is for women to experience a fashion-altering feeling while wearing my garments.
S: How did you firstly go about setting up your company and what problems did you encounter in the beginning, if any?
MH: I researched until I found a company in the USA that produced top quality fabrics, and then I worked with a NY manufacturer for two years to get the fit just right. The fit/sample process was slower than I had anticipated, but it was imperative that the fit be perfect, and the outcome was worth it.
S: You focus on the idea of a capsule closet and the minimalistic approach to fashion. What are the reasons behind this?
MH: Marie Hell garments are the foundational pieces that give your existing wardrobe new life. Marie Hell empowers women with confidence, and we believe that all women can benefit from wardrobe pieces that are effortless. The line is a study in essential component-pieces that are beautiful enough to stand alone, but most importantly, add a degree of utility to an existing wardrobe. Maries are versatile enough for every stop on life’s journey.
S: Could you tell us a little bit more about the ‘Slow Fashion Movement’?
MH: Marie Hell is part of a movement called Slow Fashion – a transparency in where our clothes come from, a renewed connection with the environment, and an awareness of the impact our choices have on the world we live in. We want our customers to understand the process of how, where, and by whom our products are made.
S: How does this movement contribute to a more sustainable future?
MH: If we can slow down consumption and fashion production, we can allow for the earth to regenerate its natural resources. We can also eliminate the massive amounts of fashion waste by producing well-made garments that are made with longevity in mind. They are manufactured with high quality standards. Not only are they seasonless, simply beautiful and amazingly comfortable, but Maries are machine washable – they are designed to last a lifetime, with every double stitched seam.
S: What would you say some of your favourite natural fabrics are?
MH: We purchase our Classic jersey and ponte fabrics from a third-generation family owned and operated mill, one of the few remaining mills in the United States. They have made it their mission to stand by their superior quality fabrics – they are milled to last! Our jerseys are made from natural fibers dyed with the most eco-friendly dyes on the market and are completely biodegradable.
S: In your opinion, what are the advantages and disadvantages of making a collection with natural fabrics?
MH: There are many advantages in producing our superior garments with natural fabrics. Our fabrics are biodegradable and better for the environment, the fabrics hold their shape/don’t stretch or sag, they are machine washable, and they are extremely comfortable. The only disadvantage is that our natural fabrics cost more than synthetic fabrics, but I think that all the positives definitely outweigh the one negative when it comes to having a staple garment that will last a lifetime.
S: Have you considered designing a collection for men?
MH: Right now our focus is on women; empowering women with self-confidence and helping women to feel and look good in something beautiful, classic and timeless.
S: Finally, what is the secret behind having the perfect capsule closet?
MH: The perfect capsule wardrobe begins with essential pieces that can go from day to night and from brunch to the ballet by simply changing your accessories. Every capsule closet should have versatile pieces that make comfort and elegance effortless.
S: Do you see the concept of ethical clothing gaining more recognition in the fashion industry?
MH: Sustainable Fashion/Slow Fashion consciousness is on the rise, and we are excited to be a part of it. Educating the customers to purchase sustainable products is the key to preserving a healthy planet. Advocating and promoting the importance of investing in quality, not quantity, is the mission. Like all movements, it takes word of mouth and grassroots work to evoke change.