A Spoonful of Sustainable Fashion at Mary Poppins Returns Premiere

Livia and Colin Firth at the premiere of Mary Poppins Returns in London. Livia wears a cape passed down from Colin’s grandmother, a silk dress made by New Zealand designer Maggie Marilyn, and jewellery from Chopard as part of The Journey To Sustainable Luxury. Image Credit: Getty Images.

Tonight at the premiere of Mary Poppins Returns in London, Livia Firth stepped out on the red carpet wearing a beautiful ethical silk dress by New Zealand designer Maggie Marilyn. Here’s everything you need to know about this young brand taking the sustainable fashion world by storm.

The 24-year-old designer Maggie Marilyn first hit our radars when she dressed the Duchess of Sussex earlier this year and is burgeoning a reputation as a leading light in sustainable fashion with her New Zealand-made collections and commitment to an ethical supply chain. 

During the Royal Tour, Duchess Meghan appeared at a function in Wellington wearing a white customised tuxedo dress that had been made ethically in New Zealand – one of numerous sustainable fashion choices the Duchess made during her visit Down Under.  The dress, it transpired, was by local designer Maggie Marilyn Hewitt, who had founded her eponymous luxury fashion label Maggie Marilyn in September 2016.  Describing the royal’s decision to wear the dress as ‘an honour’, Maggie says: “It had an amazing effect for us, but more importantly, her commitment to supporting sustainability in fashion really highlights the positive impact someone in her position can make.”

Having a positive impact is at the heart of Maggie Marilyn’s brand vision and sustainability commitments, which span people, planet and prosperity. “Our vision statement is to turn the fashion industry around to become circular, transparent, accountable, and empowering. We will leave the world a better place than we found it,” says Maggie.

For Maggie, building a sustainable fashion brand is “the only way forward”. “To morally want to be a part of this industry it is the only way forward and commercially I think it is the only way forward. If we can build fashion from a linear economy into a circular economy like our beautiful living world’s circular model, there is so much opportunity for innovation and commercial prosperity.”

It is with this ethos that Maggie has built her label. “At Maggie Marilyn we are acutely aware of the huge social, economic, and environmental challenges facing humanity,” Maggie explains.  “We are equally aware of the alarming impact the fashion industry is having on our planet and its people. Since our inception, we have been committed to doing all we can to ensure our environmental impact is as small as possible, and that the people employed in our supply chain are respected and well cared for. As we grow we pledge to stay true to these founding values and to use our growth to have an even greater impact on our industry.

“Quite simply we all have to make changes. Changes to how we do business, changes to how we consume and changes to how we care for each other and our planet. At Maggie Marilyn, we are committed to driving that change and showing the fashion industry (and other industries) that you can wear beautiful clothes without exploiting people or the planet.

“We know achieving our objectives will require a lot of hard work, collaboration, trial and error, and risk-taking, but we are willing and committed to taking those challenges head-on. We are still in our infancy and have much to learn but we are here to do things differently. We hope every time our customer puts on a piece from Maggie Marilyn they feel beautiful, optimistic, and proud. That they know their small contribution is actually a great contribution to the future of our planet and its people.”

That sense of optimism and ease of wear infuses everything that Maggie designs, including the playful ‘Get ‘Em Girl’ navy and pink striped silk dress worn by Livia Firthat the European premiere of Mary Poppins Returns in London tonight. “We have customers from 18 years’ old to 60 who have bought and loved wearing this dress. That, to me, is a successful design – something that can appeal to a wide demographic and feel really of the moment, but also incredibly timeless, to be loved in our customer’s wardrobes for years to come.”

The dress is from Maggie Marilyn’s latest collection, which like the collections before it offers a combination of strong tailoring and youthful charm. Season six was “inspired by a personal sense of freedom and growth, with a strong focus on my love and determination for building a community of makers, suppliers and customers who equally share in our vision for wanting to change our world for the better.” 

“As we enter into our sixth season and start to truly establish ourselves as a global fashion brand. I needed to step back and ask myself, what is it that we want to represent, what do we want to do with our platform?” says Maggie. “Yes, we want to empower our customers and make beautiful garments, but to build a modern brand in the year 2018 I believe you have to do more than this if you want to survive. Our customers are intelligent, they challenge us and I encourage this.  I encourage them to constantly challenge my brand, and the businesses and labels that they care about and that they buy from. We all must challenge our own organisations, the industry, our communities and ourselves. This is the seed to change and the seed of hope that we know we can do better and that we will do better!”