Exclusive Q&A with MARGE Clothing Founder & CEO, Kaersten Cooper

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 Today’s launch of MARGE clothing is my most highly-anticipated brand unveiling of the year. As someone who has seen, lived, and worked in the ever-nascent industry of tall women’s fashion, I’ve noticed a market gap as I’ve gotten older—namely, that there simply hasn’t been a ready-to-wear designer line dedicated to us. While I am an avid lover and wearer of designs from Armani to Erdem, I know I am ready for staples that are made with willowy lines in mind; not just those that happen to fit by chance. I’m ready for classic pieces that are refined enough to let the woman—and women—wearing them come through as the strongest notes. I am ready for female designers who understand the historical pain points of life up here, so they are designing to ameliorate and celebrate. But most of all, I am ready for variety in this market. A different point of view that doesn’t just fill a gap, but builds a new bridge to design possibilities, and expects that in spite of—or because of—being tall, we desire both singularity and choice. It is for these reasons that I am most delighted to share a Height of Style exclusive interview with the 6’1″ Principal Designer, Founder, and CEO of MARGE Clothing, Kaersten Cooper. Kaersten has professionally pursued verticals from wealth management to advertising and marketing to design for 15 years, before returning to her first love: fashion design. Started in 2014, MARGE is her passion project made refreshing reality—and with the launch of the F/W 2015 collection, she pays homage to a family history ripe with generations of creativity, vision, and celebrations of beauty—and defines her uniquely modern sensibility. Without further ado, please welcome the wonderfully talented and eloquent Kaersten!

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Kaersten Cooper, Principal Designer, Founder and CEO of MARGE Clothing

Kaersten Cooper, Principal Designer, Founder, and CEO of MARGE Clothing

Kaersten Cooper, Principal Designer, Founder, and CEO of MARGE Clothing

Kaersten, thank you so much for joining us and telling our readers your story. Would you mind starting by sharing with us the events that led up to your founding of MARGE?

KC: Thank you, The Height of Style, for profiling MARGE. Our team is thrilled to have you join us on our journey towards encouraging and empowering tall women to embrace their height and their naturally elevated perspectives. It’s a state of mind we call, “Life Up Here.”I always knew I would have a career in fashion, and luckily throughout my career, I have had the good fortune of getting a “taste” for the industry, be it directly or indirectly. However, I never actually found that one position that fully immersed me into the inner workings of the industry and at the same time, motivated me on a deeper level, until now. This is not to say that I am not proud of the career I have built—over 15 years of design and marketing experience which I heavily leverage to this day.

But in late 2013, I made a decision to stop looking for the right position and instead, create my own. So, in 2014, I decided to create MARGE and share with fellow tall women a nostalgic love story and a passion for fashion that has been years in the making.

That’s beautifully inspiring! Speaking of, would you mind talking a bit about your grandmother, and how her influence and vision has come to life in the MARGE collection?

KC: The Fall/Winter 2015 collection is really a result of my grandmother’s influence and my vision for the company. It is true that my grandmother, Marjorie was my muse—she was a talented fashion illustrator and designer in the 1930s and 1940s. But she was also a woman of process and principle. So, the design practices she imparted to me early on, I have applied and evolved into what is now the foundation of MARGE’s design philosophy: a holistic approach to design that is infused into every garment we create.

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Kaersten with her grandmother Marjorie Boldt’s designs

I love that rumination on creativity as the product of both process and principle as well as imagination. How would you describe where you fit among brands in this category? What’s the MARGE aesthetic?

KC: MARGE is establishing a niche all its own. No other brands that solely cater to the tall women’s category exist in the upscale space. So, MARGE is very proud to be the first and only upscale brand that is revolutionizing fit for tall, designing luxurious collections that fit elongated frames, complement lifestyles and earn trust.

Our designs are classically inspired—influenced by my grandmother’s sense of nostalgia paired with an urbane sensibility. Authentic, accessible and luxurious, we believe that MARGE is the answer for real tall women looking to curate a wardrobe for life. Our aesthetic is classic elegance—feminine yet strong.

Model Bree Smith wears the Lisbet Virgin Boiled Wool Coat, a style that is “Chic. Enveloping. Self lined and draped to move with you. Self-lined sash.”

Lovely. And who is your core client?

KC: The MARGE client is urban, fashion-forward, and investment-oriented when making wardrobe purchases. The MARGE woman wants to wear clothes that move with her lifestyle. This is not the restrictive luxury of haute couture. It’s a luxurious feeling that soothes the hectic pace of modern life. Our clients are seeking timeless, upscale, curated pieces designed to fit real women who perhaps define themselves by being tall and yet are comfortable in their own skin.

The MARGE woman recognizes that she makes an impact wherever she goes and in whatever she does. Perhaps once questioned, uncertain of external perceptions of her physical build she now—given her life experiences—embraces and enjoys introducing every aspect of her being to new acquaintances, environments. She bears a duality: refined and sophisticated, yet easygoing in her approach to life.

Everything with taste, as only the best will do (“Life Up Here”), but she is flexible and curious about what life brings. Forever creative in her appearance, her way of thinking, her approach to new, or to the nurturing of ongoing relationships, the MARGE woman is spontaneous yet a planner, thoughtful, an investor, demure. She owns her unique qualities, quietly so. It’s never arrogance, rather it is sumptuous and delightful to her that she is beautifully different, stands out, and by simply existing, makes an unforgettable statement.

Model Bree Smith wears the Nina Crepe Blouse in ivory and the Naja Crepe Pleated Skirt in ivory.

I love how you’ve brought the notion of duality, contrast, and juxtaposition to life. Would you expand a bit on the colors, places, and/or time periods that inspired the F/W 2015 launch collection?

KC: The Fall/Winter season itself was our inspiration for the launch collection. When colder months approach, we find that the season lends itself to a time of reflection amidst the perpetual motion of modern life. Our launch collection acknowledges the transition that this time represents, and with beautifully wearable pieces, keeps peaceful pace with it all.

Aesthetically, the collection expresses this duality and reflects the opposing energies of nature and modern society. Rich urban colors are contrasted by soothing daylight softness. Bold textured prints are delivered by way of delicate silk. Strong, yet soft, our distinctive silhouettes savor the beauty of life’s contradictions.

Model Bree Smith wears the Amalie Silk V-Neck Camisole and the Elise Jacquard Skirt

Model Bree Smith wears the Amalie Silk V-Neck Camisole and the Elise Jacquard Skirt

What staple item/s from the MARGE line do you recommend for a tall slim woman? Or a tall curvy woman? Or a tall woman in her 20s, versus a tall woman in her 40s?

KC: When clients arrive at our e-commerce boutique on July 15 (today!), they will find a wonderful balance of staple and signature pieces that are sure to complement any frame—any size and for any range. Since we are reinventing fit for tall, clients can trust that our clothes have been meticulously designed to complement any number of elongated frames and lifestyles. Curating a wardrobe, no matter if you are slim, curvy or in between—in your 20s, 30s or 40s or more mature—will be fun and exciting again.

Kaersten at the design table

Kaersten at the design table

What are the designs from MARGE that you most frequently wear?

KC: I honestly wear them all! What is so wonderful about this Fall/Winter collection is that it is extremely versatile. All of the pieces pair, or interchange beautifully with one another, and can be easily dressed up or dressed down.

The collection invites the wearer to adorn herself in real-life luxury: luxury that fits, feels amazing and moves at the pace of her life. For instance, I wear the Elin textured jacquard jacket with the Amalie silk v-neck camisole and Esther pants for a sophisticated look when headed out for an evening on the town. The entire outfit is so incredibly unique. Just like the experience of being tall.

It’s wonderful to be invited in! Not to get ahead of ourselves, but what’s coming next for MARGE?

KC: Today is the formal introduction of the MARGE brand and the premier collection for the Fall/Winter season. Our e-commerce boutique is now open for all to see and to shop, which is extremely exciting. The collection is limited in quantity, so if clients fall in love with something, we recommend purchasing right away before it sells out!

Looking ahead, MARGE will be focused on delivering an exceptional customer experience—with our clothing and support we are determined to exceed our clients’ elevated expectations. As we grow, the number of styles and sizes will too. It is a very exciting time for MARGE and for tall women everywhere! Many developments are in the works, which we are eager to reveal, when the time is right. We invite everyone to sign up for our newsletter to learn more about the MARGE brand or to be the first to know about new collections, and company happenings. And, we are active on social, so we invite you to connect with us to keep the conversation flowing.

Thank you, Kaersten for sharing your vision and the story of the tall luxury brand that I have no doubt will change the industry.

 


 

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About the MARGE Fall/Winter 2015 Collection:

The Fall/Winter 14-piece collection is a blend of staple and statement pieces in unique jacquards, silks, satins, crepe blends and wools. The collection also features an exclusive custom print, designed in-house by the MARGE team. The color story for this line is delicately balanced and elegantly plays with the duality between nature and city. Beautifully proportioned crop and straight leg pants; a variety of tops; pencil and midi-skirts; a dress, jacket and overcoat marry for an elegantly urbane story. The collection will range in price from around $300 to $1,500. The collection is proudly made in the U.S.A.

Please find MARGE on the following channels:


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