Meet the Maker: Jackie Maguire
Welcome to Hope and Story's Meet the Maker Series, where we chat to some of the people behind our favourite independent British brands.
We are thrilled to announce that Jackie Maguire has partnered exclusively with Hope and Story to launch a small collection of seasonal dresses that are just perfect for the festive season.
We caught up with Jackie to understand where her love of clothes started and what's kept that fire burning in her to keep creating such wonderful work.
Jackie, can you explain for anyone not lucky enough to have come across your brand before what it is that you do?
'We create forever fashion, timeless women’s coats and dresses in beautiful heritage tweeds and statement prints. The outerwear pieces comfortably bridge the transition between town and country, and our dresses are cleverly cut to create flattering unique designs which transcend the seasons.'
A real slow fashion ethos. So all your designs are as relevant today as they were when you first made them?
'Yes, our aim is to design clothes that are beautiful, and that truly stand the test of time. Clothes with genuine inherent quality and longevity through great design and authenticity.
The Belted Cape Coat which I designed for our debut collection has become our most loved style, which has led us to carry this through the seasons in every collection in a new cloth or colourway. The Cape Coat has become a signature style that our customers recognise us for, which is down it’s unique design and gorgeous fit which works so well on all body shapes.'
The Cape Coat is the mainstay style for Jackie Maguire
‘The belted cape coat is a perfect statement look and transition style for town or country’
We love the tailoring. Why did you start with coats?
'I was an absolute coat obsessive long before I started designing the collections for world renowned designer brands in Italy and London. The designer brand I designed for in Italy is synonymous with some of the most sought-after coats, really solidified my passion for pushing the boundaries to design beautiful coats. I believe that a beautifully made coat has the power to make the person wearing it feel extra special and has the power to transform an entire outfit.
Throughout my career in fashion design, I have worked with huge tailoring manufacturers across Italy, China, and Romania, where garments were more often than not air freighted to the UK. When I was setting up Jackie Maguire, I was determined to do things more sustainably, so sought out a UK manufacturing partner who would have the skills to produce my designs. I found that UK manufacturers were initially very challenged by the cuts involved in my contemporary designs, in comparison to the standard country fashion shapes they were used to working with, but we worked together to perfect the product, and they found working with my modern styling refreshing.'
You grew up in Yorkshire. Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself and how your upbringing has inspired you.
'I was really creative growing up and was always making something. Growing up in North Yorkshire close to the moors, I spent a lot of time outdoors exploring, with a lot of opportunity to explore my creativity. I think this is why I grew up with a love of the earthly colours and textures of the surrounding hills. My grandmother was a machinist, I loved picking through her sewing box and all the threads and buttons within.'
It must be wonderful that your passion has become your career...
'I consider myself very lucky. It was only when I started my diploma at Art College that I realised there might be a career for me in fashion design. That year opened a whole new world of possibilities for me, the same year I started selling my clothes through a local boutique. I worked extremely hard through my degree course and through the start of my fashion career, I was hungry to gain as much experience as possible and work my way up to senior design level, to enjoy the far-reaching career I have.'
Tell us a little bit more about the process from designing a product through to the finished garment.
'For me, often the fabric is the starting point, from which an idea for a new design will come. I have always been a very fabric-lead designer, I love working with beautiful quality fabrics with real depth of colour and texture. From this initial idea I will spend loads of time sketching quick designs, until I get to a design I am really happy with. I still like to be very hands on, so from this point I still create all my own technical garment patterns for every piece in the collection. From this pattern, I will cut a first toile, which is a 3D garment made in a sub-fabric, will be fitted and then altered many times until I am satisfied the shape, fit and details are 100% perfect. From there the pattern is graded to produce all the sizes required, then passed onto my maker ready for production.
I enjoy working closely with my manufacturing partners, there is often a huge amount of problem solving involved in order to produce the best finished product possible and working with local makers who I can go and visit makes this whole process smoother.'
How important is sustainability to you?
'When I started Jackie Maguire, I wanted to be part of the solution rather than adding to the detrimental environmental impact fashion currently has on the environment. My industry experience had exposed me, not only to the astonishing amount of waste produced by the fashion industry, but I was dismayed by the generic look of the British High Street, caused by a lot of our well-known brands buying their fashion collections from the same factories in China. This lack of unique design combined with my passion to create a brand which left a lighter footprint on the planet became the blueprint for the brand. I passionately wanted to create clothes that were beautiful, unique and importantly, had longevity in women’s wardrobes.'
You launched in 2018. What advice would you give to yourself before launching, knowing what you do now?
'I think to some extent if I had known all the complexities and day to day juggling involved in being a small business today, I would most likely have thrown the towel in right away! But honestly, I think spending lots of time planning helps so much in the long run.'
Do you have a favourite garment in your collection?
'Ooh, that’s difficult to choose! At the moment it has to be the blanket coat in cream check, because the thick, pure wool makes it so fabulously warm and cosy, and the contemporary shape goes with every outfit I wear it with. I also love the new Ava Dress, it has a vintage-inspired design, with a super flattering nipped in waist and pretty frill cuffs. The Liberty Stately Bouquet print we used for the Ava dress is just amazing.
If I am looking for a statement look, I’ll reach for the Belted Cape Coat because it is great for dressing up or down whether I am out and about in the Cotswolds or taking a trip to London’s West End.
The Blanket Coat in pure wool is contemporary style coat for any occasion.
What brands have influenced your overall style for Jackie Maguire?
'When I moved to London I spent time working for Maria Grachvogel, who is an absolute master in the cut and fit of a garment on the body, and is known for her amazing bias cut pieces. Relocating to live in Italy and designing for MaxMara definitely has influenced my design style, I spent my weekends strolling around the vintage markets and stunning architecture of Florence, and generally immersing myself in Italian culture. I admire Vivienne Westwood as she has always been completely un-compromising in everything she creates and stands for.'
You have just launched an exclusive collection with Hope and Story. Can you tell us a bit about it?
'I am thrilled to have been invited to design a capsule dress collection exclusively for Hope and Story. I have created four stunning easy to wear dresses perfect for the festive season ahead. Featuring a very festive richly coloured tartan-inspired dress with a generous sash belt, which also comes in a gorgeous classic black and white gingham colourway. There’s also a beautiful fine needlecord dress in a vintage rose print, finished with a pretty trimmed collar and puff sleeves, which also comes in a chic all black version with contrast trimmed collar detail. I hope there’s something there for everyone!
Finally, what attracted you to work with Hope and Story?
'Hope + Story is a real community of small British creatives and makers who have come together to showcase all the best of great British creative talent in one place, I love that. I partnered up with Hope + Story because they represent the ethics and values that Jackie Maguire also stand for. For customers who are looking to shop more sustainably, it is a great platform for real quality products to be showcased in the UK.'
Jackie, thank you - it has been a real pleasure chatting with you. You can find out more about Jackie Maguire and shop her exclusive collection with Hope and Story here.
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