We catch up with the designer behind new London label McIndoe to talk style, brand direction and ethical production
Salsa beats and caipirinhas welcomed Wonderland into the world of Maddy McIndoe: a print designer whose adventures in the Amazon last year inspired her to create her own fashion label. We caught up with the designer at the launch party for her ‘Jungle is Massive’ S/S 14 collection.
Tell us a bit about the inspiration behind this first collection?
I went to South America last year, and I didn’t really have much of a plan when I got there; I sort of ended up going through Argentina up to Bolivia, but then I decided to go into the jungle. After travelling through on a little boat and seeing all of the animals I came out thinking that I really wanted to do something, and looking through the millions of photos I’d taken I was like “I know, I’ll do some prints”! So I started doing them, without having much of an idea what they’d be for initially, as they’re hand drawn and quite childish…
You initially designed just menswear. Why was that?
I think my prints are quite playful. And there’s probably quite a lot of kidswear out there like that, but not so much adult stuff. So, yeah, I started doing just menswear, but then loads of my girlfriends were asking if I would do womenswear as well and so I started thinking that these prints could be more versatile.
So it was demand that prompted you to make the move into womenswear as well?
Yeah. And now I think the womenswear will be really popular, especially the matching co-ords and stuff.
You’re producing this collection in India, and yet the prints are inspired by animals from the Amazon. How important is diversity to you as a designer?
I initially went out to India for work, and obviously India’s had quite a lot of bad press for fashion production – Bangladesh especially – so it was important for me to visit the factories and know that I was sure they were good factories. I would have felt really uncomfortable outsourcing and not knowing where my clothes were coming from.
As a new designer, are ethics and the ethical production of fashion important to you?
Yes. In fact, that’s a huge part of the reason behind why I wanted to do my own thing and create my own label: because I can have morals like that, whereas if I was working for someone else I would have no control over that sort of thing.
So would you say that this first collection is a reflection of your own style? Or, if not, who did you have in mind when you started designing?
My label does feel quite self-indulgent in that I do love bright colours and lairy prints, so it’s definitely my sort of thing. But ultimately I’ve tried to make it wearable, so I’ve also done T-shirts with just a contrast print on or something, so people will like it that aren’t even necessarily into that more ‘wild’ sort of look. I knew when I started though that I didn’t want to make it crazy prices. I could never design clothes that my friends couldn’t afford to buy. Like, sometimes I see some beautiful, beautiful stuff, but I can’t afford to spend £400 on a pair of trousers, and I’d feel like a big fraud if I did that sort of thing.
What are the price points of this collection then?
The prices range from £28 to £35.
And you’re already stocked on ASOS Marketplace, but have you got anything else in the pipeline at the moment?
McIndoe’s also available from The Laden Showroom on Brick Lane. And looking forward I’d love to start a concession in a department store.
Have you got anything in mind yet for your next collection?
I definitely want to branch out, but continue to concentrate on print. So I’d like to do a collection with more varied prints. I’d also really love to do swimwear at some point. That would be so much fun! For both guys and gals: I’m happy that I’m designing for both now.
Why did you choose to design for guys first?
I’ve always been into menswear. I went to Manchester [university] and I did menswear for my final year project. I just love it, I don’t know why. I think when I started getting into menswear it was because there wasn’t that much menswear out there, but now, obviously, it’s a much bigger market. Particularly in London, people embrace that. I don’t want to water my designs down.
What about long term goals? What direction would you like your brand to go in?
I’d quite like to do kidswear actually. I feel like the thing that I love about fashion most is the print design. It’s all about the prints for me. So, yeah, maybe branch out in terms of kidswear or swimwear.
So should we be heralding you as the next Katie Eary or Mary Katrantzou then?
Laughs. We’ll see.
Words: Samantha Southern