FIT graduate Marissa Webb is a practiced designer, having spent over a decade behind the scenes at J. Crew as the head of womenswear. This month, the fashion world will be introduced to the Korean-born designer with the debut of her much-anticipated eponymous line at New York Fashion Week.
What are you most looking forward to about launching in September?
I’m most looking forward to having my first season completed as an independent designer and being a part of something that has been a long time goal of mine. I would love for someone to see an item and say, “I need to have that.” I know that feeling and if I can create something that inspires someone in that way, I’d be thrilled.
Why did you choose to launch your brand now?
I believe in living your dream and this has been a dream of mine for many years. I set my goal and now was the time.
What was the inspiration behind your debut collection?
The inspiration came about organically. I was in the middle of gut renovations at my home while also planning the interior decoration simultaneously. I became very focused on architecture. The inspiration for the collection was contrast and “contradiction”—the hard edge of architecture versus the softness of nature. I love how they compliment each other.
Will there be accessories to accompany the ready to wear pieces for the runway? Any collaborations?
Collaborations are a possibility for future seasons, but at the moment I am focused on launching my brand and debuting the Spring 2013 collection. As for accessories, this is our inaugural season so we had to pick and choose what we could handle. We do have three styles of shoes, a clutch and a few pieces of jewelry to complete the looks, but for now, the apparel is the main focus…but I’m dying to dive into accessories!
Which retailers do you see the collection in?
That’s a hard one to answer. For now, let’s say the ones that love what we do and want us in their store.
With price points between $150 and $1500, what other designers would you see your collection hanging near?
I wanted to be able to focus on details and quality, which puts our price points on par with Proenza Schouler, Derek Lam, Isabel Marant, Phillip Lim, Chloé and The Row. It would be amazing—actually more then amazing—to see the collection hanging next to designers for whom I have so much respect.
How would you describe your personal style?
My personal style is a mix of classic and urban. I switch it up a lot and love to experiment. I blame it on the Gemini in me.
In terms of style icons, do you have any favorite tomboys?
I don’t know if the women I admire would consider themselves “tomboys”, but I tend to gravitate towards strong, independent women.
Can you tell us about your team? Are you the sole designer behind the label?
I am the designer, but I have an amazing team that supports everything I do. Everyone’s opinion matters and I would not be able to do this without them. It’s been a huge learning curve for everyone, including myself. We all hit the ground running, so you can imagine how intense it’s been from day one. I’m very lucky to be working with such beautiful, dedicated people. We’re a very small team so we have to work hard, but we also have a lot of fun.
What do you hope the press takes most from your show?
Everyone is entitled to their opinion but I hope the press will think it is a collection worth seeing with focus on quality and detail. Also that it will become a welcome addition to any women’s wardrobe.