Marsanne Brands, the brainchild and passion project of FIT student Chloe Marsanne, is a very individual brand swimming above-water in an ocean of fashion sameness and regularity. Chloe calls her designs “conversation starters” and they are; each item is uniquely different than the last, but tied together by a central motif that overarches each collection. Chloe’s designs make you feel special not only because they’re one-of-a-kind. You feel special because you feel like part of a community, a secret inclusive club that’s open to everyone. Chloe was nice enough to let me interview her in her New York City apartment, which between the design projects, sewing machines and her sweet dog, Daisy, felt like a very creative headspace and living-space.
With great personality and a tangible passion for design, Chloe answered all of my questions like the professional and personable up-and-coming designer she is.
Blush (B): How would you describe Marsanne Brands?
Chloe Marsanne (CM): I would say it’s for creatures who are seeking originality; for people who feel like they’ve lost sound in the world. People who feel like they can reach out to us and wear their own skins, their own custom stuff. We do a lot of custom work. Our brand is generated around DNA, different color patterns and different ways of life. It’s for everyone who wants to feel like they belong in some kind of way. Our goal is to create a community.
B: You’ve said that each of your collections has kind of a larger theme or symbol –
So what would you say your most recent collection is focused around?
CM: Well, most of the time, like I said, every collection has its own DNA and everything is tailored around a certain theme or symbol. I think most recently, we did a drop with an artist named Jodi and it’s on our blog. It was all about the boogie-down Bronx, uh, and it was really awesome because we got to tailor around her personality and how she’s contributed to her community in the Bronx and where, like, her roots, where she comes from. And we accented it with our collection. And we have worked with rappers. For example, we worked with Treyouth on one of our earlier drops. Our theme was his EP and we focused on pink, creamy clouds and stuff like that.
B: So what’s your creative process, if you have one?
CM: Um, it’s hard to quantify! [laughs] I think that, number one, it’s my passion; rooted in passion and inspiration. And, uh, I also a lot of the time consult in Hailey, my creative coordinator, who helps me strategize all these creative processes. But I think the biggest part is having a core compiled of all these passions. So we try to start with a specific textile or shape or something at its core that we’re really kind of zoomed in on and then we try and scope out or zoom in even more, if that makes sense. And then there’s not really a specific structure or next step and that’s the beauty of us. We’re kind of like fluid in that way.
B: I see that you sell at the Style Shop on campus. How’d you make that happen?
CM: I’m so happy and fortunate to be selling there. Shout-out to the Style Shop! They’re really great – great team, great people. Uh, and it started at the beginning of the semester. I reached out and I was like, ‘I’m making all these clothes, I would really love it if I could [be] bridged to FIT somehow and kind of tie into the community and of course I care a lot about contributing to FIT. Um, so, I reached out and [then we] had a buying meeting!
B: How did you start designing?
CM: I would say that it was, like, embedded in me forever. Um, I think that we’re all designers in a way. Whether it’s like building blocks when you’re however old, we’re all creative, we’re all designing. So I wouldn’t put it in a specific box because I feel like I’ve outputted creatively for a long time, for years.
B: What’s your favorite thing to design: apparel or accessories? Or both, if you can’t choose?
CM: I mean, I love both! I think that my favorite [thing] to design is shirts and tops. It’s really fun. We hand-dye, hand-sew and hand-embroider everything. We embellish everything ourselves, so it’s really fun to take a shirt that was like, you know, in a different place and breathe life back into it and remake it into a whole new vibe because, you know, everything can go with that vibe. It’s about creating life.
B: Do you have a favorite design that you’ve ever made?
CM: I don’t think so. I think that I favor more the process of this entire brand than the result. I think I favor the process of struggle and the process of overcoming obstacles. I definitely favor pieces about certain garments because they show how I’ve grown.
B: Do you often wear your own designs?
CM: Yeah! I try to. I don’t strictly only wear my own stuff, but I definitely do. I think it’s important to be your own mascot. [To] try and get an army of people who, you know, [are] wearing my own stuff kind of makes me think [about] how I met this person or how it relates to this larger idea. And then it’s also a conversation-starter to other people, like, ‘Oh, that eyepatch is really cool!’ You know, you can make a whole conversation about it and I think that’s really cool.
B: How do you want people to feel while wearing your designs?
CM: I want them to feel like they’re connected to something larger. I want them to feel like they have a community, something that when they have nothing they can put on this shirt and be like, ‘I’m part of something.’ I want them to feel, you know, I want it to sponsor communication. Hopefully, while they’re wearing [one of my designs] they can talk to someone else about the shirt and they can make friends and then a whole new branch of DNA and ideas branches from that. And I hope that they feel special. I want them to feel happy.
B: Do you have any plans for your brand for the future?
CM: Yeah! Big plans. We’re constantly collaborating with other people, so there are a lot of exciting collaborations coming up. Um, and, again just growth and growing our own Marsanne army is how I would want to spread the message!
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