In a world full of fast-fashion finds, it’s fun to find a local company that offers a way for people to stand out, sartorially speaking.
Vancouver-based brand Maggie May Jackets does just that through its custom-painted pieces. Jacqueline Holder, the founder and designer behind the brand, tailors and tweaks existing garments with her unique artwork, creating original designs she hopes each garment’s wearer will enjoy and love — for years to come.
We asked Holder to dish on what makes Maggie May different, what’s with the name, and what’s next. Here’s what she had to say.
Q. For those who aren’t familiar, what is Maggie May?
A. Maggie May is a custom-painted clothing company. It started two years ago with an old pleather jacket, something that had been a staple in my closet for ages but wasn’t hitting the mark anymore. I looked everywhere for a designer that could do something with it but couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for, so I decided to create something myself. I patched and studded the jacket, posted it on my social channels, and things spiralled from there.
Q. Is there a story behind the name?
A. Margaret’s my middle name, after my great aunt, and May is my mom’s name. My family encouraged me to pursue this passion project and while I’d love to also pay tribute to my dad, partner, etc., somehow Maggie Bill Travis May Jackets isn’t quite as catchy.
Q. What makes it different from other brands out there right now?
A. Maggie May stands out because the pieces are truly one of a kind. The exact combination of colours, design, and canvases are never recreated — unless someone has specifically requested a group order — so I know my clients are acquiring a piece that’s completely tailored to their style.
While fast fashion’s likely not going anywhere for a while, I love that the industry is starting to place more importance on upcycling. I’m a big believer that fashion should be fun, a reflection of what makes you unique, but should also place equal significance on sustainability. Maggie May was founded from a place of wanting to take existing pieces and make them more reflective of the wearer.
Q. What inspires the custom designs you create?
A. It’s cliché, but design inspiration can come from anywhere. I painted the Blue Jean Baby jacket while watching Almost Famous, whereas the Peacock silk jacket was inspired by some street graffiti. The Lady Luck jacket came from a spur-of-the-moment — albeit not so lucky — trip to Vegas, and so on.
When I receive custom orders I like to sit down with the client to get to know them, their preferences, likes/dislikes on colours and style, and collaborate with them on design. Alternatively, I’ve also worked with clients who know exactly what they want. In that case, it can simply be a matter of mocking up a design for their approval prior to painting. It’s really about whatever process works best for them.
Q. And can you customize any jacket, or are there limitations?
A. I’ll paint and occasionally stud just about anything! I’ve worked on leather/pleather, denim, suede, nylon, satin, cashmere, faux fur, etc. Painting isn’t exclusive to jackets, either. I’ve been commissioned to paint bags, shoes, scarves and pants. I’m about to start working on a “Champagne Puppy” dog outfit and just finished painting a full-length faux fur jacket for a client to take to New York Fashion Week.
If someone’s interested in having a piece painted, I’d recommend getting in touch to chat about it and going from there.
Q. What is the price range for one of your pieces?
A. It’s dependent on the job and whether or not someone’s providing their own jacket or piece. Fees tend to start at $60 for a simple paint job and go up from there depending on the complexity of design. Simpler or smaller designs would be less, for example, initials on a jacket or bag could start at $20. I’ve also done group rates, for example, bridal parties looking for customized jackets with their names or a catchphrase on the back.
Q. And where can people check them out?
Q. Lastly, what’s next for you/the brand?
A. The last rainbow jacket I painted was so well received that I’d love to do a Pride line with proceeds going toward the LGBTQ community. In addition, I’d love to continue working on different fabrics. I’ve got some ideas for classic, shoulder-padded blazers that I’d love to see play out. The wearable art trend has been amazing to be a part of so far — and I’m excited to see where it continues to go.