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MadeMe SS16 Lookbook
MadeMe SS16 LookbookPhotography Natalia Mantini

MadeMe: reviving the rebellious spirit of X Girl

After over a decade at Supreme, designer Erin Magee is turning her talents to womenswear – see her latest lookbook here

The statement “punk’s not dead” could not ring truer when reviewing Erin Magee’s riot grrrl inspired label MadeMe. Erin, who has worked as Director of Development and Production at Supreme for over 11 years, is actively reviving 90s X Girl vibes through her brand in a fresh new way. Rock icons Courtney Love, Kim Gordon and Kathleen Hanna are serious points of reference, with a preppy punk look for AW15 and a dreamy bondage inspired collection for SS16. Ultra long sleeves, pastel colour blocking and flamboyant furs evoke memories of a lush 70s glam-rock David Bowie. In addition to debuting MadeMe’s SS16 lookbook shot by Natalia Mantini, we sat down with Magee to discuss the references for the latest season, Supreme’s influence on street fashion and going against the traditional meaning of "sexy."

Were you interested in skate and punk culture growing up?

Erin Magee: Yeah, totally. That was everything I was into. I always date myself when I talk about this, but I didn’t have proper internet in high school. It was bad internet like a dial-up modem. The only way I could get information was through music or magazines. I got really into bands like Bikini Kill, Sonic Youth, Hole... even Nirvana. Kurt Cobain was a self-described riot girl. 

Do you remember your personal style as a kid? 

Erin Magee: I was really into street fashion. I worked at a street fashion store in the mall in the suburbs where I grew up. I would for sure wear X Girl. When I got a little older, I got really into rave. That was the natural progression after being a riot girl. It was all the same kind of clothes.

When did you start MadeMe and why did you decide to start your own brand?

Erin Magee: I’ve been dabbling in and out of doing MadeMe for a long time. It started in 2007 because I needed a green card to sponsor myself to stay in the country. I started my own company and started doing projects to get press here and there and pay people because that’s what’s required to stay in the US. I started for that reason and also because I was working at Supreme at the time and working a lot on menswear. I wanted something just for girls. Supreme is a male-centric company and I saw a real gap where X Girl left off. In 2007, X Girl hadn’t been around for about 15 years and there wasn’t anything in the women’s street world that was cool like that. There were street brands, but nothing that I could really get behind.

I remember once you said to me “MadeMe is for the girl who wears clothes for boys or Supreme.”

Erin Magee: Totally. The reason Supreme is so cool is because it’s so cultural and there’s a lot of teaching that goes on through the brand. It’s kind of what I described to you about being a kid and going to music to learn new things. I would go to music to learn about political issues or artists. I think Supreme does the same thing. You can see this when we do a shoot with Lou Reed. Who is Lou Reed? Who is the Velvet Underground? That’s why the brand is so important. There really isn’t a women’s brand on a street level that does that and teaches young girls about new things through clothes. Not in any way am I comparing what I do to how well Supreme does it. Supreme is so great at that and it reminds me of how I would learn about things when I was younger. 

For AW15 you referenced punk rock and Catholic school girls. This season, the look is very different – what’s the theme?

Erin Magee: I am heavily referencing glam rock and punk. I think they can go hand in hand. For example, someone like David Bowie was blurring that line. SS16 is such a departure, but I think it’s still very punk rock and Autumn was punk rock in a different way. The Autumn collection was very plaid-heavy, Sex Pistols feeling, but Spring has a lot of bondage going on. It’s still the same strong attitude, still strong punk references, but they came out feeling very different. 

“I wanted something just for girls. Supreme is a male-centric company and I saw a real gap where X Girl left off” – Erin Magee

This season, you’ve taken these tough silhouettes and reworked them in soft colours... like a bondage outfit in baby pink. How do you hope you change what’s seen as typically feminine through MadeMe?

Erin Magee: I’ve been calling it “pastel punk rock.” It’s just what I think looks sexy and powerful on a girl — those kind of strong silhouettes. I have a hard time with Spring collections, cause it’s hard for me to do bathing suits or bra tops because I don’t think that’s what it takes to be a woman. The sexiest thing I’ve ever seen anyone wear is a Gaultier suit. There’s nothing hotter than that and you can’t see any skin.

Who is the MadeMe girl this season?

Erin Magee: I think she’s always the same. And I am not sure she’s always a “girl”. She can be any gender in-between. But for the sake of this question, let’s call “her” “she”. So, she’s a powerful, smart, cool girl who’s outside the normal 16-25 year old. She’s into different stuff. She's into different guys or girls, music and she does her own thing, which I find really cool and attractive. I think that's exactly who the MadeMe “girl” is.

You occasionally use text like “Immaculate” for Autumn and “Pretty On The Inside” for Spring — how do you choose the words?

Erin Magee: A lot of them are music references. “Pretty On The Inside” is a Hole album and song and it really speaks to the MadeMe girl. She’s not traditionally sexy or traditionally beautiful, but she’s pretty on the inside. I think it’s a pretty good statement, song, album and line and. I hope I don’t get sued. 

How has your experience working at Supreme benefitted you in starting your own line?

Erin Magee: I’ve gone to the Harvard of street fashion. I don’t know where I would be if i didn’t work there. But, MadeMe is aesthetically very different. I like to do things that I think of that Supreme would never do but are still cool and right for what I do. I feel so thankful and psyched to be there. I feel like it’s the best place ever, there are so many great things to come out of there. I’ve learned so much.

“The sexiest thing I’ve ever seen someone wear was a Gaultier suit. There’s nothing hotter than that and you can’t even see any skin” – Erin Magee

How was the experience collaborating with Petra Collins on your zine and how do you think your aesthetics are complimentary?

Erin Magee: I’ve always loved Petra’s work a lot and I think we are saying the same thing through different mediums. She’s a fine artist and I make clothes, but we speak to the same kind of girl. I was always into how young she is and she’s also Canadian, like me. I was always thinking about how I would love to work with her and was shying away from hitting her up. One day, I checked my DMs and she had DM’d me! Turns out she liked MadeMe too! We ended up working together on a cool zine with cool downtown girls. We’re going to print it and it’s going to be available for sale at the beginning of March. She’s bomb! 

In the last few months, I’ve seen so many girls on Instagram wearing MadeMe, how does it feel to have such a good response?

Erin Magee: I think I don’t realise, but that’s great. I’m glad you notice that! I couldn’t be happier. I wish I had more time to do more stuff and get into it more. I think keeping the collections small and tight makes people want more. I’m scared to do too much because I feel like people won’t be checking for it as much. 

Is that the Supreme “limited edition” mentality?

Erin Magee: Mine is by accident because I have a full time job! 

Whats next for you? Any exciting projects in the works?

Erin Magee: I have a couple of cool projects coming out in the next month. I have Underground x MadeMe creepers coming out at the end of February. I’m also doing an underwear and pyjama top collab with Me+You. Those are going to come out at the beginning of March. In AW16, I am releasing a MadeMe x X Girl collection which I am eternally excited about, it’s a dream come true. For the long term, I am just going to take it one step at a time, because I feel like if you keep doing cool legitimate stuff that comes from a real place, people will just like it. It’s automatic. When things are real, they can go on forever.