This year’s Denver Fashion Week (DFW) is creating a space for a variety of designers from different backgrounds to showcase their work. One of which is now Denver-based brand MARGINAL. What originated in Siberia is currently taking shape as an avant-garde line introducing social construction of topics like beauty standards, the environment, conflict and more to Denver through fashion.
303 Magazine sat down with designer Matilda Marginal to discuss her DFW collection, the journey in bringing her brand to the United States and how MARGINAL is transforming the Denver Fashion scene.
The Making of MARGINAL
MARGINAL is a unique, environmentally conscious brand founded by the artist and fashion designer, Matilda Marginal. She refers to her brand as an “avant-garde clothing brand.” Marginal finds her inspiration in everything that she sees. She has been designing and living in Denver for four years now and is continuing to grow every step of the way.
Marginal’s fashion career began when she moved away from Siberia to the United States. Shortly after arriving to the U.S., she was waiting to obtain a work permit. During the process of waiting, which turned out to be quite a while, she started creating pieces for herself, her husband and friends.
Shortly after Marginal discovered her passion for fashion design, she joined Denver Design Incubator and the Academy of Design in Moscow. As a result, the process of obtaining her work permit began to move much quicker.
After all of her hard work and patience, Marginal eventually opened a storefront in Denver.
“I have been thinking about that since I moved to Denver. I was dreaming of getting a big space good for living and having a boutique plus workshop in the front,” Marginal said.
She had been keeping her eye open for a retail space that would fit what she was looking for so she could get her store up and running. Finding a space to run her brand was ideal for Marginal, especially as she began to understand how important it was “to grow the business and it’s very hard for people to order my pieces online without fitting them,” said Marginal.
Towards the end of last year, her friend showed her a “little cool funky space with huge windows,” said Marginal. Shortly after looking at this eclectic space in Denver, she rented it.
“I was not ready and had a lot of fears about it but decided to use this opportunity if it came to me by itself. Now I feel I got a huge Christmas gift – one-third from my big dream. It’s a lot!” Marginal said.
Marginal has experienced great success with her brand in recent years. Alongside her new storefront in Denver, she will also be showing her pieces in Denver Fashion Week for the first time.
Before Denver, Marginal was immersed in the Moscow fashion scene. No matter where Marginal goes though, she doesn’t see much of an effect on fashion in different places.
“Fashion is fashion. I don’t see much difference. The only thing I could mention is that in a smaller city it is easier to grow,” said Marginal.
The Meaning Behind MARGINAL
Through her clothing brand, Marginal aims to provide the message “that there is a lot of non-standard beauty around and it’s important to notice this beauty, to accept your and other people’s uniqueness,” said Marginal.
Along with this, she also mentions “that we should be brave and free to express ourselves and not copy other people’s visions and habits. We have our own.”
Marginal is also determined to combine social causes that are important to her in spreading her brand’s message and through her designs. She uses her platform as a designer to remind customers, followers and attendees of her runway segment at DFW “that we can still create beauty without polluting the planet and killing animals, without having plastic surgeries to change our faces and bodies for achieving some beauty standards created by we don’t even know whom and why,” said Marginal.
MARGINAL is all about reusing products to their full life and remaining environmentally conscious in the process. “Upcycling enables each item or clothing to become an art piece with its own personality and story,” Marginal expressed.
Clearly, behind MARGINAL is a designer filled with a passion for what she does.
“I am happy and this is the point. I love my family. I love people around me, I love my friends. I love my brand and it is growing. I guess when you feel love it’s success,” said Marginal
This deeply ingrained sense of passion also makes MARGINAL unique in many different ways.
“The pieces are unique, the materials are unique. Very often designs are handcrafted by upcycling discarded clothes, household items and other things. It’s damaged jackets, raincoats, skirts, mattresses, trousers, socks and even gloves,” said Marginal on the looks that attendees can expect to see at DFW.
In MARGINAL collections, “you will find a reflection of social problems, ecological crises and also feel the destruction of beauty standards,” Marginal said. Her main concept is to reveal a number of topics like ageism, racism, sexism, homophobia, homelessness, addictions, etc.
MARGINAL At DFW
Throughout her DFW runway show specifically, Marginal plans to convey a very specific message.
“Clothes are art and a way of expressing your inner world,” she said. Therefore, her inspiration came from “reading novels [like] Ward Number Six by Anton Chekhov and One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kessey. And also when I was visiting my friend at a mental institution back in Russia.”
These specific life experiences provided the inspiration behind Marginal. Within the DFW collection, audience members will be presented with a concept that is much more than just fashion.
“In MARGINAL collections, you will find a reflection of social problems, ecological crises and also feel the destruction of beauty standards,” said Marginal.
Therefore, the theme of the runway segment is broad but will be captivating nonetheless. In bridging fashion and woes of life that many can relate to personally, Marginal’s designs tell a story and establish meaning for her work as a designer.
When discussing the growing fashion scene in Denver, Marginal is confident that it will only continue to grow. “The city is growing so fast and there’s so much art here that there is no way that fashion wouldn’t grow,” said Marginal. Therefore, being a part of DFW establishes a platform for her brand to be part of that growth.
MARGINAL photography credits
Director / Producer: @kheyoka
Models: @artur_turik & @s1vrst0v
Body Art: @dinaravalerievn