Meet The Kiwi Designer Behind Meghan Markle’s White Tuxedo Dress

Interview by Gracie Stewart

3 min read

There are few endorsements as powerful as Meghan Markle’s. So when the Duchess of Sussex stepped out wearing a white Maggie Marilyn blazer dress, it’s safe to say the 24-year-old New Zealand designer, Maggie Marilyn Hewitt, was ecstatic. MOJEH.com spoke exclusively to Hewitt about her eponymous sustainable brand and how it felt having Markle wear one of her designs.

How did it feel when you first saw Meghan Markle wearing your Leap of Faith blazer dress?
It was a huge honour for the Duchess of Sussex to wear one of my designs. There’s nothing quite like dressing royalty. However, most importantly, I feel proud of her commitment to supporting and wearing sustainable fashion, using her platform to make a positive impact.

Did you know in advance that she was going to wear one of your designs or did it come as a complete surprise?
When Meghan Markle’s team reached out we were so excited that she knew about the brand and was interested in wearing some of our pieces. However, we didn’t know until she wore it if she was going to or not. I was crossing my fingers and toes that she would, but we didn’t know for sure.

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex wearing the white Leap of Faith blazer dress by Maggie Marilyn on October 29, 2018 in Wellington, New Zealand (Photo by Samir Hussein/Samir Hussein/WireImage)

How did you come up with the idea for the design?
The Leap of Faith blazer dress funnily enough is my favourite piece from Season 5. For me, a blazer dress is a wardrobe staple and every woman should have one. The clothing that I design focuses on empowering women and making them feel strong and beautiful, which is where the Leap of Faith design stems from.

What has been the reaction to your brand since?
The reaction from friends, family and customers has been immense. We’ve had lovely comments and mail flooding in ever since. It’s been a very exciting few days.

Maggie Hewitt of the label Maggie Marilyn

What are the challenges (or advantages) of being a designer in New Zealand?
Being based in New Zealand can be challenging, but this is why I travel so regularly. I feel incredibly blessed to live in a country as beautiful as New Zealand and I feel proud of my home and the community we’ve built here around Maggie Marilyn.

As a brand, why is sustainability so important to you?
One of the fundamental problems in the fashion industry is how incredibly disconnected consumers are from where the garment comes from, and the effects these products have on nature and the culture of our society. Consumers must remember that human hands have touched everything we wear. This is really where my core values stem from, bringing back the humanness to fashion. We manufacture our beautiful pieces in New Zealand and are proud to be building a community of amazing makers and artisans. To us, knowing and building a strong bond with our manufactures is far more rewarding and important than a larger margin for the business through manufacturing overseas.

Lady in red: Meghan Markle stuns in a custom Self-Portrait dress.

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