It’s always a nice surprise to come across something fresh in your inbox. That’s why when Brooklyn-based designer Margarita Saplala sent over her F/W ‘13 lookbook to me, I was more than happy to cover her clothing line. With a love of drawing and painting, Manila-born Saplala completed her degree in Fashion Design at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago. Since then she handmade a ten-piece T-shirt collection that developed into a line of individualist womenswear with a customer base that reached the U.S. and Japan. This designer has a serious knack for fabric and cool prints. If you’re interested in pursuing a career in fashion design, I highly recommend reading the interview below!
Do you have any favorite bloggers?
How would you describe your own style?
“Modern, feminine, and comfortable. I wear a lot of printed pieces from my collection, which are very floaty and elegant. I like to mix it with opposing elements like chunky knits, sweatshirts, and sneakers. I find balance when mixing elements that don’t necessarily go together, but somehow it works.”
Where can we find your line in stores?
“In New York I am sold at Sucre and Dearfieldbinder, but it is in several select boutiques throughout the US. My widest customer base is actually in Japan. There it is sold to department stores such as Beams and Tomorrowland.”
How long have you been in the biz and how did your line get its start?
“I have been in the fashion industry for 10 years. I started my collection 5 years ago. I bought a roll of jersey fabric and hand made T-shirts myself. It was a 10 piece high-end T-shirt collection with interesting cuts, drapes, and prints. Some downtown New York boutiques immediately picked it up. I always loved creating my own prints so I further expanded it into printed silk dresses, tops, etc..
Tell us about yourself. What did you do prior to starting your own line?
“I worked as a designer for bigger brands such as Halston Coats, Gap and Banana Republic. I learned a lot there, but I was always yearning to create something authentic and that can relate to women that want to express their individuality.”
What would be your advice to someone studying at a fashion school? What can they expect?
“It’s a lot of work! There are a lot of late nights in the studio, but enjoy that time. That is the time you discover who you are as a designer. If you choose this path, make sure it’s because you love creating and fashion is the thing you choose to create. I think some kids get into fashion design because they like fashion, but they don’t necessarily enjoy creating something. Or they like creating but maybe fashion is not the right medium for them.”
That’s really wise advice! Can you tell us any tips on how to start a career as a fashion designer?
“Get as much exposure you can in the industry by doing internships and working at fashion shows. The work can be boring and feel beneath your capabilities, but that is how you get your foot in the door.”
Do you have any designs that have a cool story behind them?
“Well, I found myself inspired by really regular every day fashion like denims, stripes, and plaids. This surprised me, but I thought there must just be such an overwhelming amount of fashion out there, that is exposed in magazines, blogs, TV, and on the street that the simple things are what inspire me now. So, for Fall ’13 I returned to classic Americana, but of course I had to put a modern twist to it. I mashed up textures, created plaids that are blown up, abstracted, mixed together to create a look that is classic, yet new.”
We can definitely see and feel that when looking at your Fall ’13 collection. What’s your favorite piece from the collection at the moment?
“My favorite piece from Fall ’13 is the Mash Up Jacket and Vest. It’s exciting for me because it is a departure from my signature printed silk pieces. It still has the graphic nature of the rest of the collection, but it is more playing with textures rather than prints. This is something I want to work more with in the future.”
What are the most rewarding and challenging aspects of starting a line?
“The most rewarding is having your vision actualized from beginning to end with no compromise. The most challenging is the business aspect. As a designer being good with business is not in my nature, but I knew if I want to make this work I have to take on that challenge. It has come with achievements and some downfalls, but being a business owner is a learning process.”
Have any tips of the trade for people looking to start their own line?
“Know who your customer is. When I first started, I was only interested in the aesthetic of design. I guess I was sort of a purist. But, now that I have identified my girl and her lifestyle I can better connect with her. This has really given my collection more dimensions and has greatly strengthened me as a designer.”
If your store could be described through a play list, what songs would be on it?
“Free Will – Chain & The Gang
Feel it all Around – Washed Out
The Hours – Beach House
Wild Peace – Echo Lake”
Have anything exciting planned with your line?
“For Fall ’13 I started collaborating with weavers from India to create original textures and colors for the collection. I am excited to expand the collaboration even further for seasons to come.”