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SAHSYA KANETANAKA

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MARQUES’ ALMEIDA AW18

CELEBRATING THE ORIGINALITY OF THE M'A GIRL THIS SEASON

March, 2018
Marques' Almeida AW18 runway show backstage | Photographs Anastasia Sheveleva

Journalists travelled south of the river for Marques’ Almeida and their AW18 runway show this season, trekking to find not only the location fitting perfectly with the set design and sound, but with also the amount of media now covering their collections. Now represented by international fashion PR group Karla Otto, Marques’ Almeida’s growth is undeniable, with their inventive and pleasantly colourful designs finding a strong following of girls and women worldwide. Based in East London, Marques’ Almeida have been able to keep a strong following of their original clientele, the day 1’s, and it’s an ode to their commitment of offering girls what no other brand yet does authentically and genuinely. The M’A community is real.

Held under the arches at Leake street, the venue’s natural acoustics echoed the soundtrack by Jonjo Jury (a long-term collaborator of M’A), with Sza’s remixed ‘Supermodel’ track bouncing off the concrete walls.

The large, open space also projected a very special film featuring the M’A women, celebrating them and their differences with pride. The M’A team created the special film to accompany the show and the theme for this season: the M’A girls and women. Women have always inspired and motivated other women, and naturally supported one another in times of need. Especially in the current social constructs where women are deemed less valuable financially and in some societies, culturally, highlighting the incredible female power among us is incredibly necessary. When other designers have incorporated the ‘We Should All Be Feminists’ or ‘Power Woman’ notion into their collections or shows it often seems like a reaction rather than a genuine social revolt. With M’A’s continued celebration of women, their output felt right, genuine and urgent.

The M’A casting has always been diverse, with their casting director Rita Taveras looking to friends’ networks and social media to introduce new women to their community. This season emerging singer Cosima walked the runway, with the team also featuring her in their M’A film. We spoke to M’A founders and lead designer Marta and Paolo more about why they chose to celebrate the M’A girl this season as a sole theme, and why it was so important for them to include this film alongside their runway show.

CHAMP: Why celebrate the M’A girl specifically in this collection?

Marques Almeida: We want to celebrate them and girls/women in general in every collection, and in everything we do really! We’ve always had this obsession with real girls – we love to observe them and from this observation comes much of our inspiration and our desire to make fashion embedded in realism. Our ethos has always been about authenticity and empowering girls and igniting realism within fashion – we are slowly becoming more aware of the fact that this is not only a mission but an ultimate goal! Being confident enough to put them front and centre has been a gradual journey for us and something that we are really proud of. This confidence led us to this collection and the concept for the show where only real M’A girls featured. There’s not enough inclusivity, diversity, positivity, and a real portrayal of girls/women within the fashion landscape. There is too much abuse of power and misrepresentation of the customer’s actual needs and wants resulting in, a service that most of the time enhances things such as; low self-confidence, unrealistic body images and expectations, presents a lack of diversity and portrays a picture of an exclusive, cut throat world that really doesn’t fit with how we want to live, work and develop creatively! We want the girls to be able to grow and develop in an equally creative, inclusive world where they feel empowered. If we can change mentalities in fashion in general by celebrating these girls and giving them support and putting power back in their hands, we are happy.

Tell us more about the girls in the projections and the casting for the show (one of the models is a musician; we notice a few familiar faces in the projections)?

This video is a very special piece of work that we are super proud of – we hope to do more things like this in the future! There’s a bunch of girls in it – some new M’A girls whom we just met this season and love already and some of our girls we’ve been doing stuff with for a while.

Frankie is the brilliant music editor at i-D and features in the video – she has a special quiet confidence about her and kindness that we love. We have worked with her from the very beginning and it’s been a pleasure to see her grow personally and creatively! 

We have another Frankie ‘the new Frankie’ who repeats the line of “it’s ok to be different” – we met her this season but have already spent a lot of time together. She has a lot to say and our time with her has been joyous. She told us of her tales in finding her ground in a not so racially diverse boarding school, and her mum’s words of encouragement about self-love and celebrating differences in all aspects of life. It really surprised us how wise beyond her years she is and how well she articulated herself – all of these incredible assets we wanted to enhance!

We also have Tess talking about the way she dresses in the morning – Tess is an amazing fashion stylist and a complete visionary who came in our studio in our very first season and borrowed loads of the collection to wear. She allowed us to see our collection in a totally new light as a result of the way she wore/styled the pieces. She says she throws on whatever is on the floor in the morning and we are with her – it works! Her vision is always authentic and therefore, super powerful! She normally works with Masha who’s a brilliant photographer who has the most amazing decisive vision and creates incredible imagery – she’s not in the video but we missed her this season 🙂  

Cosima is a musician who spoke about the need for girls to learn to say no, to not always be so accommodating. To grow up owning your own wishes and beliefs and running with them! We met her this season and were mesmerized!! She’s brilliant, exudes self-love. We plan to continue to work with her and excited about what she’s going to bring for the younger M’A girls!

Charlie who’s in the video and opened the show is our soft spoken but assertive, super kind soul! We spoke about turning negatives into positives and everyone was moved by her sweet soft spoken but powerful voice!

Clara (has been an M’A girl for a few seasons now) she opens the video talking about talking about why you should “be yourself, always!” with a gorgeous contagious laugh. She lives in London and is always so positive!

Laura talks about her greatest achievement of graduating successfully with a first – this was really endearing for us because she has been doing stuff with us for a while and we saw her struggling through her thesis and uni work and saw how passionate she was about it so it’s really special to have her in the video talking about this process!

Lyric travelled from the US to meet us and we’re so so glad she did!! She’s a musician too and so self-assured in her creativity and her femininity. She used to sell our stuff in a store in the US back in the day when we were a brand of 3 people not knowing really where our clothes would end up as well as who was buying it or loving it. Lyric was there and saw it grow!

There’s more girls in the video and not in the video and we could go on forever but if we can be around them and do what we love and be creative together and then use this as a stepping stone to scale this ethos and this celebratory energy throughout the industry then that’s what drives us. I’m sure Zuleika says at some point in the video “oh am so happy to be alive now”, that’s pretty much it.

 

Marques' Almeida AW18 runway show backstage | Photographs Anastasia Sheveleva
Marques' Almeida AW18 runway show during London Fashion Week
Marques' Almeida AW18 runway show backstage | Photographs Anastasia Sheveleva
Marques' Almeida AW18 runway show backstage | Photographs Anastasia Sheveleva
Marques' Almeida AW18 runway show backstage | Photographs Anastasia Sheveleva
Marques' Almeida AW18 runway show backstage | Photographs Anastasia Sheveleva
Marques' Almeida AW18 runway show backstage | Photographs Anastasia Sheveleva
March, 2018