Juliet Souter is the designer of premium womenswear brand, Marle. Consciously created in exclusively natural fabrics and fibres, Juliet’s considered approach to design is not only shown throughout the design process but core to everything they do at Marle. Each collection consists of classic and feminine pieces inspired by Juliet’s coastal hometown of Mount Maunganui. Grounded in a philosophy of everyday luxury and foundation of considered shapes with an earthy palette, enables each piece to be worn effortlessly all year round.
N. Can you tell us how Marle came about?
After studying fashion design at AUT and majoring in knitwear, I had the dream of one day starting my own brand. The time was right when I left my corporate job to have our first baby – Vita – 6 years ago. I knew knitwear would be the focus and launched with just 10 pieces. As the brand has evolved over time, I have introduced other categories. This year we are launching our first line of shoes, handmade Greek leather sandals. We now cover all aspects of everyday wardrobe essentials, and exclusively use natural fibres and fabrics.
N. Your collections pull a lot from natural shapes and fibres, where do you find your inspiration?
The fabric or fibre is always the starting point for every piece. I think about the drape or structure each fibre brings to a garment and begin my process there. The Marle palette is inspired by the coastal landscape that surrounds me at home in Mount Maunganui. I look to all sorts of places for unique design details, generally from decades gone by such as the early 1900’s.
N. Do you have a specific method to the design process or does this change season to season?
I like to create capsules of seasonless pieces so each collection starts with pulling out every fabric swatch and yarn book we have. I look at best sellers and often update these with a new feel or I start from scratch with the yarn, depending on the direction I’m taking the collection. The fabrics dictate where each piece will head.
N. With a range of both international and local stockists, Marle is currently stocked at Area 51 in Newmarket and has a strong online presence. Do you see yourself opening a bricks and mortar store anytime soon?
Not at this stage. We are really lucky to have stockists like Area 51 who have supported us since day one. They are all educated on garment care for our natural fabrics and take care of our customers incredibly. We’re also focusing on expanding our presence in the Australian market at the moment.
N. Who is the Marle woman?
The Marle woman is quietly self-assured, she is a thoughtful consumer who appreciates the benefits and feel of wearing natural fibres, and treasures the pieces she invests in. The Marle woman has classic, understated style and shys away from trends. She believes buying once is buying well.
N. Sustainability is and continues to be an increasing concern and point of discussion within the fashion industry. How important is it for you as a designer to be a part of these conversations?
It’s a very important part of our business that we are constantly learning about, it’s definitely not a destination but a journey. For me, the use of natural fibres and fabrics is my biggest mission for Marle. I like to know that what we are making is from the earth and can be returned to the earth.
N. As a consumer who is wanting to shop in a more environmentally friendly and sustainable way, what do you think are the most important things to consider when investing in garments?
The biggest thing to think about when investing is the wearability – how often you will wear the piece and if you can wear it with other things in your wardrobe. Not only do I personally love a more natural, tonal colour palette for my own wardrobe, I feel that this helps keep longevity in mind when purchasing. It is always easy to wear neutral coloured items again and again without feeling they have been over-worn. Being aware of what your garment is made from is also a good way to keep this top of mind.
N. What are your top 5 Spring wardrobe essentials?
Unity Tank – this simple tank Is crafted using cotton/silk/cashmere and is divine, it is so soft, washes well and is a flattering shape along with the fresh ivory colour or classic black.
Scott Top – this silk/cotton top is perfect worn in a more casual way with denim or can have a more dressed up/corporate feel. Great layered with the Unity underneath when it’s still a bit chilly.
Rosie Skirt – made using our 25momme sandwashed silk, this skirt is going to see me through spring and summer, I love the feminine, old world button detail down the front.
Hare Sweater – A more fitted silhouette for Marle. The classic V neck sweater features a subtle frill detail at the hem and sleeve hem. Pepper Short – I love shorts in the summer months so created these using our signature 25momme sandwashed silk, I can’t wait to wear them with my Unity Tank and Hunter Shirt.
N. What’s next for the brand?
We’re always concentrating on growing and developing our collections. This year we’re expanding into new categories for the first time, and focusing on different markets.