On the occasion of Maje’s 20 th anniversary, its Founder and Artistic Director shares with BAZAAR how it has grown through the years. By Gracia Phang
"From top: Judith Milgrom. Maje’s 20th anniversary Asian campaign face, Ouyang Nana. Ouyang in a satin pantsuit "
Confident, chic and quintessentially French, Judith Milgrom is all smiles as I congratulate her on Maje’s 20th anniversary celebrations, themed “Dream Tomorrow”, in Beijing. The Moroccan-French designer launched Maje in 1998 when she saw a gap in the industry for an accessible ready-to-wear label with feminine, fun and bold pieces. Twenty years on, the brand continues to allow women to express themselves through versatile standout pieces like pink satin pantsuits and fringed leather mini bags.
What have you learnt from being at the helm of Maje?
I’ve learnt that you have to believe in your dreams and live your passion; follow your instincts. Most importantly, you have to learn from your mistakes in order to move forward. I’ve also learnt you do not necessarily need a particular muse in order to create something. I’ve always wanted to design for different types of women—diversity inspired me then and continues to inspire me now.
Why did you decide to hold the brand’s 20th anniversary celebrations in Beijing?
This is actually my first time in Beijing! Doing so gave me the opportunity to learn and be immersed in a different culture, which is very inspiring for my creative process. Of course, Asia and especially China, are key markets for Maje. I’m very happy to see how Chinese women have adopted Maje’s Parisian sensibilities and made it uniquely theirs.
What is your take on social media platforms and influencers?
Social media has allowed Maje to communicate directly to our customers, and I like this special relationship we’ve built with them. Influencers are part of that unique system, so much so that it has created a new job for them, where they provide their followers with advice and tips. Today, a brand like ours can work with influencers to reach a different type of audience, while still advertising in magazines. The digital world has changed many “rules” that defined the fashion system and industry for decades, and the avenues to tell a brand’s story and communicate with our customers have been broadened— I’m not complaining.
Maje has collaborated with names and brands such as Alexa Chung and Schott NYC. What have these projects done for the brand? Collaborations provide freshness and novelty to what our brand already has to offer—an element of surprise, some may say. It gives us and our customers a sense of exclusivity, and I like that. These projects usually happen organically, where we see eye to eye with our collaborators and sparks just fly! Will there be another collaboration in the near future? Let’s wait and see.
Tell us about Maje’s fall/winter 2018 collection.
Checks, tartan and florals are patterns that have been brought over [from the previous season], but expressed in a very different way. The fall/winter 2018 girl is modern, urban and versatile. She takes different influences, fuses them together and makes them her own—expressing her personality and mood through her style.