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Spring/Summer 2019 Inspiration

by Emily Rowe | 25 June 19

Margu's seventh collection is the first collection to be released in our new studio in New York. Though it was released in New York, the creation of the collection actually spanned three different settings, from its inspiration and inception on my trip to Japan in the spring of 2018, to the collection being designed and halfway completed in Arkansas in 2018, to the eventual completion of the collection in New York the following year.

I originally set out to create a collection that encapsulated the mood of my trip to Japan: grey skies, simple beauty, boundless optimism. I named the collection Hanami, after the Japanese word that refers to the annual tradition of cherry-blossom viewing in the spring. I wasn't expecting to be so touched by the concept of hanami, and I don't think I truly understood spring until I visited Japan — the ephemeral nature of cherry-blossom season is so tightly wound with the ephemeral nature of life itself, and I found myself marveling at the majesty and the miracle of my surroundings and my place among them during my trip.

When I came back to Arkansas in late April, I immediately began working on this collection (while also working on Fall/Winter 2018, but that was already well underway at that point and thus not as influenced by my trip). Choosing a color palette came very easily (soft, muted colors), and I knew I wanted the bulk of the fabrics to be sourced from Japan.

As far as the pieces themselves went, I knew I wanted the designs to reflect some of the many things that inspired me sartorially while on my trip. Everyone in Japan was dressed so well and with such creativity, it was impossible not to step outside and find a new piece of street-style inspiration. (If only I had taken pictures!)

I knew that this collection had to include a trench coat, and I also knew I wanted to play with longer skirt hemlines and over-the-top volume, all three things I saw (and loved!) a lot of in Japan. At the same time, I wanted to design pieces that reflected the simple and serene beauty I encountered in so many different places on my trip.

Throughout 2018, I was hard at work designing, patterning, and sampling much of our Spring/Summer 2019 collection when we made the move to NYC. I packed up my entire studio, including the partially completed collection that was SS19, into boxes and left them in Arkansas for months while my husband and I searched for a permanent home. When I finally was reunited with all my boxes in April, I was overjoyed (not only to be reunited with my studio stuff, but also with all my pots and pans and clothes and shoes that I hadn't seen in months; living out of a carry-on suitcase for months was a challenge, to say the least!). I eagerly unpacked my half-finished SS19 collection and realized ... it needed a lot of work.

I'm not sure if my few months living in NYC changed me, or if my Japan trip was simply less in the forefront of my memory at that point, or if I really did just have some not-great ideas that needed to be culled, but I looked back at what I had planned in Arkansas for SS19 and was happy with only about half of it. Rather than release a collection I half-disliked, I decided it was worth it to delay launch and make some changes. The clothing became less frilly and ruffly than I originally had planned in favor of simpler, more organic shapes. I started to begin designing every piece by asking myself, "What clothing do I want to make? What clothing do I want to wear?" and creating accordingly.

In the end, Spring/Summer 2019 is a collection of twelve pieces whose inspiration is difficult to pin down. Designing over such a long period of time, with so many external forces at play, created, in some ways, a not-very-cohesive collection, but in other ways, a very focused one. At any rate, I think it's the perfect collection with which to introduce myself and Margu to my new city.