O’Dolly Dearest centers on a healthy obsession with the 90s/early 2000s femme.
Founded with the resounding motto “Don’t get dressed up, get dolled up” the clothing brand unabashedly celebrates femininity and nostalgically reflects on the dynamic style of founder Zoe Martin’s favorite icons in film, music, and television.
Zoe attended Savannah College of Art and Design where she studied fashion design. Following her journey to New York to pursue her craft further, interning stints at fashion juggernauts such as Chanel, Michael Kors, BCBGMaxazria and Marchesa informed her knowledge of the industry and reinforced her affinity with the quintessential feminine aesthetic.
O’Dolly brings the stylish woman of yesteryear into the new age, maintaining her flair and giving her a closet of new, updated favorites to be successful in her world today.
A TALK WITH ZOE MARTIN, FOUNDER OF O’DOLLY DEAREST
Describe yourself as a designer and how did you start?
⁃ I’m a young contemporary womenswear designer and although I officially got started during my time in college I’ve been interested in design since the age of 10.
How do you manage the creativity process exactly?
⁃ I start my process by sketching any and every idea that comes to mind. I peel back the strongest ones and began refining them in order to create most of my collections.
When did you land your first internship and what was the most valuable thing you learned from this experience?
⁃ Although I’ve had the opportunity to intern at some prestigious brands my first internship was a resale handbag company in Atlanta called Bella Bag. I learned so many wonderful things and working directly under the CEO I got to see how one woman ran an entire business with a handful of employees. The most valuable thing I learned was balance and time management.
What was your first job out of college, and how did you land that position? What was the biggest rookie mistake you made when just starting out?
⁃ My first official job was as an assistant product manager at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. I applied via LinkedIn months prior to receiving an interview. I had to really learn how to use programs like Excel because I was used to working with my hands to build things not for computer programs.
My rookie mistake was not being curious enough. I think when you first start your career journey you should be inquisitive on everything you don’t know about. Ask to shadow others and really learn the ins and outs of other positions.
What’s the main impact of social media in fashion industry in both ways, fashion buying and brand marketing?
⁃ This is a great question—I think it plays a pivotal role as the industry continues to shift. Magazines being mostly digital due to the decline in print publication is synonymous with recent rush of brand marketing being online. The internet proclaimed “Retail Apocalypse” is an example on the industry transitioning to online as a whole and as a brand with a growing digital presence it is the most efficient way to conduct business as a small fashion brand.
What is your favorite and NON-favorite part about being part of the fashion industry?
⁃ I’m going to play off 2 versions of the same answer: Being seen and the lack of being seen. I think in this industry in particular press/recognition is important and can be the most rewarding accolade not to mention help grow your audience. In the same sense constantly being overlooked can make you feel like you’re not being taken seriously as a brand.
Can you tell us how your brand makes a difference in fashion industry?
⁃ We are slowly but surely making a difference in the fashion industry by becoming more and more sustainable. By working in smaller batches and making all of our newer items here in New York we hope to not over produce which can lead to more waste.
What do you think is the biggest challenge for a fashion designer?
⁃ Personally, I’d say the lack of resources at times. Everything I need, even if that is just information, isn’t always accessible. I find myself having to “figure it out” fairly often. In the beginning you may not know every little thing you’ll need but you learn what you need as you need it. I hope that makes sense.
Define sustainable concept nowadays in fashion industry in five words .
Small – batch – equals – less – waste
How do you think sustainable can play an important role in fashion industry?
-A hugeeeee role for both giant recognizable brands and seemingly small businesses. Sustainability isn’t always easy, but it has too many benefits to not be considered.
What do you think about the opportunity of selling your collections online nowadays?
⁃ Selling online is completely how I operate my business outside of any wholesale opportunities. It’s more money back into the business rather than toward rent for a brick and mortar store. It gives individuals with less capital a chance and it is simply the wave of the future as we move further into the digital age.
Imagine that you must write a letter to your FUTURE SELF. What would you write?
⁃ I have a lot of questions that I would write for future self to answer in that letter. Silly things like “What kind of house do I live in? What kind of car do I drive? How’s life looking overall now?” . But in all honestly I would probably prophesy over my life with positive affirmations of what I’d like to see for my future. For the sake of protecting the manifestations I hold sacred I’ll keep them to myself.