This past July Marge clothing launched their F/W ’15 collection giving us “Talls” another strong expressive platform in a clothing industry that commonly tends to leave out “above average” woman. Growing up taller than most of my female peers, it was hard to find clothing that fit my body let alone stylish. Now as an adult I’m always on the hunt for clothing that allows me to embrace my height (6’1) and translate my love of style. Founder and CEO of Marge Clothing Kaersten Cooper saw the need for ready-to-wear that caters to taller woman. With a passion to inspire those that were once boxed out, Kaersten has dedicated her talents to help women embrace what makes them stand out and love “Life Up Here.” It was an honor to interview such a warm hearted spirit such as Kaersten and hope that you are filled with as much inspiration as I was after speaking with her.
What was it like growing up as a tall girl and how has that influenced your career?
I’m openly admitting that it was at times a struggle, weather it be akawardly trying to fit in, to taking school photos i think essentially my emotional state wasn’t playing catch up with how fast I was growing if that makes sense. I was really tall at an early age. Obviously I knew I would be tall, my father is 6’6 and my mother is 5’10 so i easily predicted my trajectory but I think early on emotionally it was just really hard during the impressionable years to understand height and kind of embrace it as an asset. That was more during my impressionable years of Jr. High/high school but as i began to evolve as a person just emotionally and really figuring out who I was (granted that’s a life long process) there were elements of how great height can be and so I’d have to say it was my early 20’s that I began to really feel satisfied with the fact that height is something different and incredibly unique.
How I have leveraged that in my career before Marge height has really been a huge assist professionally. People obviously look up to you, you command attention, you tend to earn more, just a variety of things that are a benefit to being tall, and so when starting “large” i’ve gone through those life challenges like many other tall women have on their own unique journeys. For me Marge was sort of the perfect platform to solidify my positive loving nature of height and invite fellow tall women to feel the same, to embrace and enjoy what we have called our brand essence “Life Up Here”.
Maybe i was a little bit slower compared to tall friends that embraced their height from the get go but for me it was a little bit of a journey and i think through those challenging moments when you doubt yourself, when you feel physically insecure or different i think its in those moments when you start to begin to formulate your own story.
When did you realize designing was your passion and you wanted a career in it?
I was really very fortuante at an early age to be exposed to kind of the behind the scenes of the patterning making, the construction, the illustrations. My grandmother was a really talented illustrator and designer in the 20’s and 30’s and so my great mother, my grandmother, my mother, and my aunt all were very creative in essence teaching me how to sew and taught me everything I learned and have applied in college and i think my early interest peeked by my grandmother. Seeing how amazing her illustrations were, seeing photos of my aunts and my mother in ballgowns with silk organza and all these intricate appliqués it was just WOW. You could take a concept from beginning and bring it to life into something that makes someone feel beautiful and amazing. I love the idea of adoring the tall frame as it relates to Marge, its such a motivation for me. I’ve been in and out of the fashion industry weather it be a start-up or be it certain accounts but never fully emerged until Marge.
You’re very open about how influential your grandmother Majore has been in your career as a designer. Could you talk about the impact a mentor like your grandmother plays in the development of someones career?
I think it’s so important as a women in your career at any stage to have a mentor in your journey. Granted my grandmother was my mentor at an early career i’ve been lucky to garner a number of mentors throughout my career especially with Marge. Its been crucial really to help navigate through big decisions when it comes launching a company but i think for women and entrepreneurs in general its great to ask questions ans seek out those who you emulate. When you’re open, when you’re vulnerable, when you put yourself out there and ask for help i think the world will surprise you with what comes about.
By that vulnerability you in essence are building such a solid foundation towards the next step in your career and building a great relationship to help nurture you along the way. Its so important for women in business to support one another and I feel mentoring is huge and women building each other up is such a key focus for Marge. Working with younger girls bringing them into the office to help expose them to the fashion world and process offering our expertise and experience. Having a mentor can really change the way you pursue your career.
The growth of women owned businesses has bloomed rapidly over the last 4-5 years. What advise would you like to bestow on women on their own journey towards enterprenurship?
First i’d like to say Congratulations, because making this desicion to dive in is a big one and there’s alot to take into account when you decided you officially move forward with an idea, a company, a group of friends what ever business you decided to create. My advise is to again congratulate yourself, acknowledge the journey that you’ve been on and trust in yourself. Trust in your intuition, trust in your experience that you can take this very very far.
What can we expect to see in the future from Marge Clothing?
I wish i could reveal everything but we are in a really exciting time right now. The feed back has been incredible pushing forward with the idea of Marge is addressing a particular type of catagory within the larger tall women apparel industry and that in itself is defining that. There alot of exciting things to come over the next few months and revealing our winter pieces big wool coats, and winter options. I think in moving forward with Marge by way of the feed back its been so encouring that we’re only going to grow and expand our number of styles, quantities and size ranges. We’re really listening to all the feed back were getting and since we are redefining fit for tall women we really want to evolve that
What advice would you like to give “Talls” that are having a difficult time embracing their height?
Such a thoughtful question… I want to reference a line from you site because it is really powerful ” Through fashion life is experiencing lifes glass as half full”. Get comfortable with reflecting on who you are outside of being tall and having the glorious gift of height such a small factor of who we really are. Incredibly intelligent, sophisticated, beautiful, driven successful women and you kind of reflection on the power of that combination and relfecting on the relationships you’ve over time the experiences you’ve gone through are all bulding blocks to help make you who you are. I feel that “Talls” should take a step back look at it holistically, give thanks, be humble and be reflective and appreciate where you are, the love an embracing of height sometimes happens at an early age others like me it takes sometime, but its an dilectiable experience being tall. Find tall communitites to enjoy you height with and embrace it. Look at your life as a complete person tall being one small part of it because your amazing and should treat yourself that way. Invest in yourself and the love of your height will come .
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Take a Peak at some go my favorite items from their F/W2015 collection below LOOKBOOK HERE