French designer Marie Hosatte, founder of Dubai-based brand By M.A.R.Y, is giving back to her African roots…
There’s been a high demand for change in the fashion industry, now more than ever, with the percentage of conscious clothing seekers exponentially growing. Whether it’s from a sustainable standpoint or charitable approach, the growing interest is there.
Born and raised in Africa, Marie Hosatte, realised an opportunity in creating a fashion label that went beyond a distinctive aesthetic and brand image. Instead, she connected consumers with a lifestyle that gives back to a community.
“I launched By M.A.R.Y because I want people to focus more on this continent, and it is just close by,” says Marie. “We don’t speak enough about it. I was born and raised in Africa, partly in West Africa – in Ivory Coast, Senegal and Ghana. It’s super important for me to give back to the community that raised me.”
Inspired by the continent that shaped her youth, Marie proudly established By M.A.R.Y, and officially made her debut into the market earlier this year.
The fashion and purpose-driven label is unique, bespoke and a fusion of cultures – drawing from African influences, Marie’s French heritage and a production line in Holland – and is committed to charity, an intrinsic part of its brand ethos. “The first and most important thing is to give back, and I’ve chosen this orphanage in the Ivory Coast for girls [Grand Bassam Orphanage for Girls],” explains 41-year- old Marie. “The orphanage is dedicated only to girls [between the ages of six and 14], and I can sponsor their education when they leave the orphanage. That is my main goal.”
Staying true to the brand’s vision of empowerment and commitment, Marie has pledged Dhs50 from every item sold from the collection will be donated to the orphanage.
With a slew of cultural influences, it’s no wonder Marie chose the UAE as By M.A.R.Y’s base. “I’ve got my own workshop here [in Dubai] and I have accessories coming from Africa,” she says. Each accessory in the collection is handcrafted in West Africa. “Similar to Africa, Dubai is so incredibly diverse, with women from all over the globe, each with her own story to share.”
Crafted from a strong belief that African fashion can cater to all female tastes, the debut collection consists of silhouettes made with carefully-selected fabrics from the continent, while it looks to French fashion house Isabel Marant for inspiration.
“My idea is to be a bit edgy, like Isabel Marant’s signature styles, but mixed with African influences,” Marie explains of the collection. “It has very Parisian finishings, but obviously with African prints.” Completely dedicated to Africa, the pieces have been made with an African wax fabric manufactured by Vliscoin Holland. “Almost all the clothes in our collection contains the African wax fabric,” says Marie. “The quality is very good and the clothes are truly limited edition and bespoke.”
With a set goal and a new e-commerce platform in place, Marie is already looking ahead and into the next season. “I’m working on a new winter collection, and it will include more velvet fabrics and the African wax,” she concludes.
By M.A.R.Y collections are now available on by-mary.co.
- Words by Meeran Mekkaoui