MOLLIE JATEN – COVER + SPECIAL FEATURE

Mollie Jaten proposes innovative garments, born of continuous research and experimentation, with a streetwear + cozy touch. It offers a wide range of garments, always in continuous evolution and the manual processing gives the creations those peculiar characteristics of non-uniformity and particularity, so each creation is unique. Wearing Mollie Jaten’s creations is a choice of ethics + is inspired by the Beauty of Destruction. We love it, so we had a conversation with Mollie exclusively for 33 Magazine!

33 TALKS WITH MOLLIE JATEN

Describe yourself as a designer and how did you start? 

I am a women’s/men’s luxury street wear designer inspired by the beauty of destruction and the juxtaposition of contrasting elements. My designs are heavily influenced by military / utilitarian aesthetic and define modern streetwear. 

I’m still, “starting”. I’ve always loved fashion, but I started designing seriously while attending the Savannah College of Art and Design. I was a fashion design student at SCAD from 2015-2019 and developed my brand shortly after graduating. I started my first collection out of my bedroom. My friends and family would come over to fit garments and eventually ended up being my first group of models and photographers, and still are. 

How do you manage the creativity process exactly?

I work on the styling team at Net-A-Porter / Mr. Porter full time, so balancing that and my own business has been something I’ve had to learn to manage. I work on my brand every night after work. After creating the concept, I start with inspiration boards and then begin sketching. Design development is the most creative part of the process for me. I really love to collage to begin the initial designs. Once I’m ready with samples, I’ll fit a model, and prepare for the final garment. I repeat this process for each piece until I’m happy with the final result. This eventually turns into a full collection that I can then begin to work out a photoshoot for. Managing the shoot tends to be stressful, but it’s very exciting to see the clothing finally come to life. I scout and style the models myself. I want my vision to be portrayed exactly how I see it, so I find taking initiative during this final stage is important for my brand at the moment.

When did you land your first internship and what was the most valuable thing you learned from this experience?

My first internship was when I was 19. It was the summer going into my Sophomore year of college. I worked as a Ready to Wear design intern for Vera Wang. I was still so young, and unexperienced, this internship definitely played a huge part in my decision to really want to be in the fashion industry. 

The most valuable thing I learned while working at Vera Wang was to know my own worth. I was asked on my first day “why are you here?”, by one of the sewers and it’s something I’ll never forget.

This question repeatedly plays in my mind whenever I feel uninspired. I remember back to that day and why I was there and what I did to get there. I realized then how hard I had worked to get that internship and how amazing it felt to earn it. Interning at Vera Wang showed me that all of the late nights working and harsh critiques I had received, were worth it. I value the question, “why are you here” daily, as it allows me to remember my worth in the industry. 

I also really valued the relationships I made at this internship. It is super important to network in the fashion industry and I’ve held on to friendships and contacts I met then, to this day. I actually landed my second internship at Marchesa, through another intern at Vera Wang! 

What was your first job out of college, and how did you land that position? 

After graduating, I interned on the menswear design team at Prabal Gurung for a few months leading up to fashion week. This was an amazing experience as I got to work 1 0n 1 with the menswear designer, Antonio Azzuolo, daily. I completed this internship after Fashion Week and began working as Antonio’s assistant on projects that he had been working on personally. I became really interested in menswear after working with Antonio, and applied for what would become my first job out of college. Being an assistant stylist on both Mr. Porter and Net-A-Porter, was going to give me the exposure to luxury clothing in which I so desperately wanted to be surrounded by. I thought if I could see the quality of the clothing I could make sure my standards were that of luxury garments. I was determined to translate everything I learned from being around luxury clothing into my own brand.  

What was the biggest rookie mistake you made when just starting out?

Since I really am still starting out, I luckily haven’t had a stand out mistake yet. I try to keep owning my business fun so that if I do make an error, it’s not the end of the world!

What’s the main impact of social media in fashion industry in both ways, fashion buying and brand marketing?

I think the main impact of social media in the fashion industry, from a marketing perspective is to promote product. The more followers, the more sales. Getting an influencer to wear and post on social media can change a brand’s status overnight. Similarly, buyers are more likely to purchase product that is relevant on social media, as they know it’ll be popular amongst their customers if it is seen on platforms like Instagram, TikTok etc. .

What is your favorite and NON-favorite part about being part of the fashion industry?

My favorite part about being a part of the fashion industry is constantly being surrounded by talented, and creative people. Before I really became interested in fashion I was a bit lost, and fashion gave me an outlet and an environment that I love being in. It’s really cool to go to work every day with such inspiring people! The industry is super competitive, and it pushes you to be the best you can be.

My least favorite part about working in fashion is the negative connotations associated with it. I think that a lot of the times people think it’s a glamorous world to work in, but majority of the time it’s not. It is long days of shooting and even longer nights of working. I think you really must be in the industry to understand that fashion isn’t defined by the runway shows we see, but that it is a business, and a tough one to be in.  

Can you tell us how your brand makes a difference in fashion industry?

My brand offers a unique viewpoint. It is influenced by utilitarian aesthetic, but is then juxtaposed with an element of beauty, something different than the usual military inspired streetwear line. Although it is very street inspired, the garments can work as transitional pieces, moving from day to night, which I believe is necessary to be current. 

What do you think is the biggest challenge for a fashion designer?

I think the biggest challenge of being a fashion designer is “making it”. There are so many talented individuals in the industry, it’s unfortunate that not all are seen.

Define sustainable concept nowadays in fashion industry in five words.

Upcycle, Repurpose, Thrift, Generational, Circular 

How do you think sustainable can play an important role in fashion industry?

Sustainability is huge in the fashion industry as a ton of excess garments are made each year, with no purpose or later function. I think if the fashion industry in general limits the amount of product made, the surplus of material will decrease. This will not only help the environment, but also make garments more exclusive. The demand will go up, but rather than having excess, we can supply only what is necessary. 

Thrifting, upcycling, and repurposing are all ways to practice sustainability in the industry, and I think a lot of modern day designers are using this to their advantage right now.

What do you think about the opportunity of selling your collections online nowadays?

I think selling your collection online is HUGE. Retail and department stores are closing, and the future of fashion is moving towards a more digital approach. Especially right now, the global pandemic has forced people to shop online, so having the ability to offer your collection not only in stores, but on the internet as well, broadens the number of customers viewing the product. 

Imagine that you must write a letter to your FUTURE SELF. What would you write?

I would tell myself not to stress as much as I do right now. Yes, I love fashion, and building my brand, but it is still important to enjoy life. I spent every year in college preparing for what was next to come. I would tell myself not to worry so much, and to enjoy the “now”. I’d let myself know how proud I am for accomplishing all I have thus far, and to keep working for what I want. Wherever my future self may be at is exactly where I’m supposed to be, and know I did all I could to get there. 

CREDITS:

Photography: Nicolette Cramer ( COVER )
Lauren Wright

Models:Taylor Ratliff, Sarah Horning, Nathalie Gratas, Julia Arcieri, Grace Arcieri ( COVER ), Christian Rasnake, Fiona James, Caroline Thomas, Emily Fry, Haiqi Liao

MOLLIE JATEN