In many ways, once you leave your late thirties behind, it’s almost like you have to start all over.
Society sees you differently, and many things that were not important to you before, suddenly are. For these two women ‘LIFE’ happened and left them at a crossroads. Do we wither and hide in the shadows or do we put our ‘Big Girl’ panties on and create our ‘Second Act’. One guess what these two women did…. Get to know Marla Wynne Ginsberg and Sharon Quinn. Two women who faced the odds and created a life they could have only dreamed of.
Today we speak with Marla Wynne Ginsburg…
Age diversity was not in my wheelhouse until you and I had one of our deep conversations two years ago. For those that do not know your story, can you tell them a little about yourself and how you started working in the fashion industry?
After 20 years of living and working in Paris, producing series like “The Highlander” and “La Femme Nikita”, I returned to the US under contract to ABC/Disney. My timing was terrible. First came the Writer’s Strike and then came the 2008 financial crisis. As a single mother with time on my hands, a mortgage on my back and two college-bound teenagers I started thinking seriously about how I might find my “Second Act”.
I decided to use the 6-month writer’s strike to explore my passion for fashion and see where it might take me. I have been very lucky along the way and though I have hit more than a few speed bumps and fallen into a few potholes along the way; hard work, focus and an amazing network of mentors and supportive friends and family have helped transform what started out like a poorly cast episode of Project Runway set in my garage, into a global multi-million dollar apparel brand.
Watching you navigate the fashion industry is very inspiring, where do you draw inspiration from?
I take inspiration from early Donna Karen and while the closest I’ve been to Asia over the past decade is a sushi bar, I have always been inspired by the East. I love the simplicity and beauty of a kimono and the influence of Issey Miyake is starting to surface in my recent collections. However, my biggest inspiration comes directly from my customers. She inspires me every day and I encourage feedback regarding colors, styles, and silhouettes that “She” prefers. I listen to Her. And frankly, I’ve learned a great deal from you, Madeline. Our collaborations have helped me think more about body shape and making sure that I offer collections that respect the many sizes and shapes we all come in. Granted, I have a particular silhouette that characterizes my designs – and while they may not be for “everyone” – they work for “every body”. At least I hope so!
What does Ageless Style mean to you?
Ageless Style means being comfortable in the skin you’re in. It is about self-acceptance and knowing what looks good on YOU – not a runway. It’s about the confidence and courage to be who you are and not what fashion, society (or your mother) tells you you should be. It is learning how to interpret fashion trends that appeal to you and make them work with what you already have, allowing you to express who you are with an ever-evolving unique spirit. It is less about “age” and more about expressing individuality. I have never wanted to blend into the crowd and my personal style favors flow on the top, skinny on the bottom with bold statement jewelry and scarves. I will never have enough scarves (or shoes)!
Confidence and style are just two words that come to mind when I see you. For those women who are not feeling completely comfortable with themselves, what are your words of wisdom?
I really believe that self-acceptance on every level comes with time – and in time comes confidence. I can remember chasing trends and having the “I have to have that purse, those shoes, that designer” syndrome. I would out-spend my budget, wear things that weren’t comfortable and was forever chasing the new, new thing. Paris changed all that. I realized that true trendsetters were individuals. They were the women who accepted their flaws and ignored fashion in favor of their own self-expression. No one that I have ever met is always completely comfortable with their lives – let alone themselves. We are evolving beings. What is FANTASTIC is when you realize “I am who I am” and start working within that reality and making the most of who you are while always working toward who you want to become. However, trying to be like some else is futile. Our lives are written one by one, day by day. Own your own life and carve your own path. Learn from your mistakes and be willing to learn from those who love you. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in this business is that the Fashion Industry doesn’t love you. It loves your bank account. I believe that first you have to love and respect the customer – the rest will follow.
Youth is revered in the fashion industry, yet you move boldly forward and have one of the highest rated shows on HSN. What do you think has contributed to your success?
First of all, I love my customer. They have given me an incredible opportunity and a second chance to grab onto a dream. I listen to them and they know it. It doesn’t hurt that I also listen to my 26-year old daughter and my 82-year old mother and filter all of it through my own creative vision. Youth is a great thing, but it doesn’t last and I refuse to allow the passing of time to define who I am let alone what I wear! You have to understand that most designers are young men and women who are taught to design clothing that look great on a hangar – but not on a woman! While that is changing rapidly, it is a change that is long overdue. There’s been a great deal of focus on the plus woman these days and designers make a lot of noise about it, however, it’s time that this multi-billion dollar industry start to recognize that all women are their bread and butter and fashion should serve all of us. Not just the young or the skinny. I think that my customers appreciate that I have a certain esthetic that fits women of all sizes and appeals to all ages depending on how it is styled.
What can we expect to see from Marla Wynne in 2018?
Designer Tess Giberson has joined my team to allow me to spend more time with my customers and growing our business. Tess has had a very distinguished career in fashion but in her earlier career she was focused in the high end of the designer industry. Thru time she became more interested in being “inclusive” vs “exclusive” and wanted to focus on designing clothing women could afford full price rather than at sample sale. She spent almost 2 years with Lane Bryant designing capsule collections and bringing her amazing creativity to the brand while learning a great deal about body diversity. Although much younger than I am, Tess and I immediately connected and knew that together we could do amazing things.
We are dedicated to continuing to find new fabrications that fit and flatter our customers. We work to include pieces in each collection that we believe are timeless and of the highest possible quality at a reasonable price point. We believe that less is more and quality is everything. Together we hope to bring you fashion that fits and flatters your lifestyle and works into your own personal style.
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Marla Wynne on HSN
Photos by Luke Jones
Makeup by Tara Taylor