Spotlight: Maggie Jayne

July 19, 2017

{Wearing: The Rainbow Dress}

The first time I discovered Maggie Jayne was, funnily enough, about 30 minutes before Jamie proposed to me this past winter. I was browsing the Wish Book pop-up shop in downtown Halifax and fell in love with the rainbow dress pictured above (there was also a super cute rainbow t-shirt available at the time). I loved the muted pastel stripes and the easy to wear shape of the dress that suits just about anyone who wears it. I followed Maggie Jayne on Instagram a couple of months later and constantly found myself back on her Instagram page, crushing hard over her unique and extremely wearable designs. I knew that this Halifax based designer was someone who I whole heartedly wanted to feature on my Spotlight Series, so a few weeks ago while I was in Halifax, I reached out to Maggie and she graciously invited me over to her tiny yet extremely charming studio. We chatted about fashion, blogging, business, and life, and in talking with her I became even more excited to share her story with you. Maggie’s designs are truly one of a kind and what I love about each piece is that they can be interpreted differently by each person who wears them (just take a browse through her Instagram to see what I mean). I am thrilled to share not only a few of the beautiful Maggie Jayne designs here on the blog today but also an interview that gives some insight and back story into the Maggie Jayne brand. So without further ado, please welcome Maggie Jayne. 
For those that are unfamiliar with Maggie Jayne, can you tell us a bit about how you got started and your brand?

I studied textiles in Nelson, BC, then I took a bunch of courses at NSCAD in the Fashion department. I was always working retail and doing vintage pop-up’s with some friends so I had sort of developed a foundation of skills you need to run a clothing business (or so I thought). In 2015 I went on a trip to India with some friends with no specific plans to manufacture, but I did have some pieces of clothing I made packed in my bag. We ended up in a town that is kind of a manufacturing hub in Rajasthan, I kept overhearing travellers talking about their production so I asked a few people if I could tag along on a factory visit. A new friend introduced me to the owner of a small factory that was producing good quality work and I was able to hand off the pieces I had packed and start making samples. My friends and I split up and I spent the rest of my trip figuring out how to manage a small production. The first collection sold just well enough for me to go back a second year and then a third, now I feel like things are starting to flow in a way that I will probably get to keep doing this.
Where does the inspiration for your designs come from?

 Lately I am inspired by colour palettes that I see while travelling, usually in India it’s the houses. People put colours together in an unexpected seemingly chaotic way that is amazing.
{Wearing: Short Wrap Skirt}

Can you take me through a typical day in the life of Maggie Jayne? I imagine no two are the same but I’d love to know what being a designer and business owner looks like behind the scenes for you.

 There are a few different phases throughout the year that look totally different from one another. Some are more exciting than others. This summer I have been really focused on selling my collection and preparing for fall. It’s pretty boring lately most days are spent emailing, packaging clothes, going to the post office, tracking inventory and having people stop by my studio.
You had mentioned that you aren’t someone who wears many colours, yet your clothing always seems to have some colourful element to it (especially the rainbow dress!) why do you find you gravitate towards colour in your designs but not so much in your personal life?

I’m not really sure, I guess wearing neutrals is safe, sometimes there are so many things to think about its nice to just stay within your comfort zone with clothing. That being said, I work from home and I have a really bad habit of changing my outfit way too many times in a day so within that I do move through a lot of colour. I think when I leave the house I just start feeling a little insecure and quickly switch back into something black. Colour is happy, I think whenever I get excited about making and ideas flow it puts me into a childish whimsical state and that probably collides with my personal style resulting I think in a kind of refined way of using color and pattern. After making this collection there are a few pieces that are bold that I feel totally comfortable wearing in most situations so maybe things will shift.
Do you think that your designs are reflective of where you live (Halifax, Nova Scotia)? Can you tell me a bit about some of your fave Halifax spots and where you go to get inspired?

I think that my designs are probably more reflective of the people in Halifax that give themselves permission to wear whatever they want, I think that is what inspires me most about this place. I am 30 now, and so are a lot of my friends and acquaintances I’m surprised that as people get older they just become more themselves and wear clothes more for themselves. I’m not sure if this will really translate when the fall pieces arrive but I was definitely thinking about Halifax dance parties and making clothes that people would want to wear to them. 

But to actually answer your question, my favorite place to hang out in Halifax is Java Blend, maybe I get inspired there because that is where the coffee is and everybody gets all caffeinated and excitable in the morning. And a new thing I’ve been doing (I feel like a bit of a phony saying because who knows if it will stick) is trail running and it’s the best way to get a clear head and find inspiration. Being close to woods, lakes and ocean is the most special thing about living in nova scotia.
{Wearing: Easy Tie Tank & Long Wrap Skirt }

 Where do you like to shop and what are 3 brands/companies that you admire?

I don’t really shop much at the moment because I’m in the beginning of this business and clothes are in abundance for me. But there are soooooo many brands that I admire here are some:

Tony Chestnut is a brand based in Winnipeg run mostly by owner/designer Jill. Everything is made in house. She makes small runs of small collections and everything seems to sell immediately. 

Horses Atelier is a Toronto based brand that makes my dream wardrobe, only I can’t afford it. 

There are some super cool independent Indian brands that maybe people haven’t heard of.  

Here are 3 worth checking out:

Love Birds



Your clothing is designed in Halifax but made in India, can you tell me a bit about that process?

I spend some time every year in Halifax designing and prototyping silhouettes for a collection. I have a general Idea about colour palette and fabric as well as a sourcing plan before I go to India, but typically things change quite a bit depending on availability and interpretation so the end result winds up much different than the intention.  I travel to India with physical samples that I have created and work with the Master pattern drafter in the factory to develop patterns and samples. I travel to different parts of India to work with various textile artisans; block printers, dyers and this year knit designers. After fabric, hardware sourcing and final samples are finished the collection goes into production. During production, I visit the factory daily to do quality control and try to keep things on schedule. I try to be involved in as many steps as possible so that I know the people that are working on all of the parts of my collection. I am typically in India for three months.

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