Meet the 24-Year-Old Designer Behind New York's Latest 'It Girl' Uniform
It seems as though everyone these days is starting their own company – especially their own fashion line. From eco-friendly sunglasses to stylish yoga wear, the number of creative millennials new to the fashion world is ever-growing. And though I get as excited about the latest trend as anybody else (one look at my closet and you’ll see I was really into the neon thing …) sometimes it seems unnecessary or even irresponsible to buy into every up and coming fashion statement.
Then there are the occasional newcomers that seem to be here to stay. Ralph Lauren was 24 once upon a time too, right?
Meet Maggy Schultz, the visionary and designer behind Maggy Frances, the chic, New York-based company churning out cheerful cherry print blouses and Cher-inspired plaid skirts (I’m talking Clueless Cher, of course, not the Sonny one – as if!) The 24-year-old native New Yorker launched her eponymous line – Frances is her middle name – last season, and the newly available SS13 collection reiterates Schultz's inherent sense of originality and classic style.
As Schultz explained in an interview, the idea for the company came from her personal “frustration with shopping the contemporary market. At the time, everything affordable seemed to lack a degree of elegance or sophistication, looking either miss-y or very trendy.” The country was also just starting to come out of the recession, when, says the designer, “being too trend-driven felt not only impractical but in poor taste, and I wanted pieces that were beautiful and wearable that I wouldn’t tire of so quickly. I basically set out to make investment pieces without the investment.”
Though Schultz officially launched her line just last year, she certainly is not new to fashion. Both of her parents were deeply involved in the fashion world, and they influenced her career mainly through “access and exposure,” which Schultz believes is more a result of the city in which she was raised. “Growing up [in New York], you’re exposed to the best and worst of everything from a really young age, especially fashion, which is visible at all times.” As a child, Schultz always took note of what women were wearing on the street, which, unsurprisingly, she notes, informed many of her fashion opinions and preferences. For instance, Schultz vividly recalls seeing Sarah Jessica Parker walking down Madison Avenue carrying a blue Hermès Birkin bag. Maggy, then 7-years-old, had no idea who the actress was or how coveted that particular handbag might be, but the “whole image made a lasting impression” on the future designer.
Schultz's collections are also inspired by time periods and style icons outside of '90's New York. She cites the Rolling Stones as “pretty consistent inspirations” due to their mix of made-to-measure Savile Row pieces and more eclectic textures and prints. “The look was simultaneously classic and irreverent,” she says. She also looks to classic bombshells, particularly Brigitte Bardot and Marilyn Monroe, “for an injection of sex appeal.”
“My silhouettes refer to classic British tailoring for ease and versatility, and maintain an overall polish,” says the designer. “And my prints are inspired by all kinds of vintage and antique references.” While the concept of iconic, whimsical pieces may not seem new, Schultz’s clothes feel simultaneously classic and fresh. Though she has been thrilled that her wardrobe staples have been able to reach many different types of consumers, her branding specifically targets “someone a bit more like me,” she says. And what type of girl is that, exactly? “[She is] in her twenties or thirties,” explains Schultz. “She has a fast-paced lifestyle, with places to go and Instagram photos to take there, so she wants to look good. She enjoys fashion, but is on a somewhat limited budget, so she is resourceful and sensible in her choices and tries not to buy into fads too much.”
What’s that, you say? You’re chic, busy, budget-conscious, social, and Instagram-obsessed? Me too … or so I’d like to think. And now, thanks to Schultz, we know what to wear.
Maggy Frances is sold exclusively on www.maggyfrances.com and at private sales events in London, New York, and Los Angeles.