Interview with designer Marre Muijs

Fashion, Interview

Interview with designer Marre Muijs

ESSEN encourages people to buy less, choose better and wear longer. That’s where the name comes from – essentials.

Interview with designer Marre Muijs

Founded in 2016 as a response to a fashion cycle that overproduces more than it carefully crafts, ESSEN encourages people to buy less, choose better and wear longer. That’s where the name comes from – essentials.

Has sustainable fashion always affected you and your work?
It’s something that has evolved gradually over time. My parents raised my siblings and I with a mindful approach and to be conscious of our footprint. Over time, I’ve built a wardrobe of core items, instead of buying fast fashion. Some of the pieces in my wardrobe I’ve had for over 15 years and I still get so much joy out of wearing them. This is what I want people to feel when they wear my shoes. Sustainability is a mindset, once you’ve started questioning things and opened your eyes, it will naturally infiltrate everything you do. Just ask yourself, do you need it? What do you need it for? How often will you use it? Only buy it if you really love it and will have it for years to come. ‘Sustainable’ by definition is still rather impossible to achieve as a brand. It’s why I prefer the word “responsible”. There are sustainable components and materials, but we are still a long way away, as an industry, from truly being sustainable. ESSEN is built on a foundation of conscious design, considered consumption and ethical production. Every decision we make is underlined by these guiding principles.

Before creating a new model, do you always think about the product’s life cycle? What do you do if the product does not respect this principle?
As a designer it’s of course important to consider the longevity of your products and the materials that you use, but the design process also relates to creating better systems and thinking about each part of the supply chain in a holistic way. This means it can sometimes take a couple of years to get a style into production. With a permanent collection, I can place more focus on the few. So take it slow, developing, testing and releasing one key staple at a time, until it’s perfect.

Where do you get inspiration from?
Inspiration can come from travel, new places I visit, nature and art, but mostly daily life. I’m always inspired by the people in my life; their day-to-day realities, ways of thinking, seeing and living. I want women to feel confident and comfortable and when wearing any of pair of ESSEN shoes.

How do you think femininity is expressed in the shape of The Mary Janes?
The sleek silhouette makes legs appear longer and the pointed toe will instantly elevate any outfit, so it’s very easy to dress them up or down. For me, modern femininity means knowing yourself and being true to your own individual style. My shoes and understated designs are the building blocks that complement any wardrobe.

How much time takes the creation process of a new piece?
I have been building a collection of staples; timeless designs that I release one staple at a time. Generally speaking, I would say it takes about a year, from the initial sketch to launch. Notably, I only work with family-run workshops that are able to make shoes to order, which allows us to determine precisely how many pairs of each style, size, and colour we must produce before starting the production cycle, so we only make what we need. This enables us to better manage our resources, reduce waste and eliminate overproduction.

Are you working on new projects at the moment?
We have just launched our collaboration with New Zealand fashion brand Maggie Marilyn, which debuted at their Resort ’24 Runway show at AAFW. The collection features our best selling Foundations Flats in exclusive colours including hot pink, metallic purple, sage green and red, as well as a new take on the classic Riding Boot. I am also currently working on my first even vegan boots as well as additional accessories for the collection that will further add versatility to make your wardrobe work harder for you.

Interview with designer Marre Muijs


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