Kelly Bertrand speaks to Kiwi designer Maggie Hewitt about her new home away from home
If Maggie Hewitt could go back and call her clothing label something else, she would.
“If I knew what I knew now I definitely would have done things differently.”
Like everyone else, Maggie’s had an interesting few years navigating the pandemic – and while life slowed down a little and she faced the challenge of keeping a sense of normality throughout Covid, she says there’s been some silver linings to it all.
“I was travelling so much before the pandemic – it was New York, Paris – and we didn’t have as much time to connect. In the last two years, we’ve spent a lot of time with our growers on farm and on station, in Australia and New Zealand which has been amazing.”
But now, as we look for the light at the end of the tunnel, Maggie’s sure the world’s started spinning faster. Or, we’re just getting older. “Time is ridiculous right now,” she laughs. “It’s almost like, do we need to slow down?!”
It’s probably a product of the never-ending pivoting that we’re all a little battle weary – but what hasn’t slowed down is Maggie’s ambition to create a better world through her brand.
And now she’s expanding her planet and people-friendly empire to the South Island for the first time, with a pop-up opening in Wānaka between 30 June and 13 July.
“It’s so exciting, and Wānaka has such a special place in my heart,” tells Maggie. “I’ve really realised that over the last few years, since we’ve had to pivot online, how important these moments are to connect with people and with communities again, and to be able to slow the process of buying a garment right down.”
Indeed, buying a Maggie Marilyn piece deserves a moment of reverence – not only because most of Maggie’s garments definitely fall under the ‘save up and look forward to it’ category (although, from personal experience, you won’t regret owning a MM blazer, TRUST ME) – but because all of the pieces from her label are purpose-led and beautifully, consciously crafted.
“Hopefully people walk a little taller when they’re wearing a Maggie Marilyn blazer!” she says with a laugh.
“We’re trying to show that you can put people and the planet first, and still have a profitable business – and if anything, the last two years have only fuelled that ambition in me.”