The Interview: Mari Giudicelli
MARI, TELL ME ABOUT LAUNCHING YOUR BRAND. HOW DID YOU KNOW YOU WERE READY?
I didn’t. I just went for it, truly believing in the product. I’m the kind of person that if I rationalize things too much, I end up not doing it. I had just finished college and had to decide between working for someone, going back home, or attempting to put my vision out there. I went for the harder one.
WHO INSPIRES YOU?
I’m very lucky to have so many inspiring friends close to me. But in general I get very inspired by the way things move with the wind, love, elderly people.. just life.
BEFORE LAUNCHING YOUR LABEL, WHAT WAS YOUR PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND?
I worked for a very short period of time as a graphic designer back home. But wasn’t really passionate about it, so I decided to go find what I really loved. So I moved to NYC to attend Parsons, and learn about fashion design and construction. After that I end up going to FIT to find out that I really enjoyed manipulating leather. One thing led to the next, and I found myself in the shoemaking lab everyday.
While in school I was scouted on Avenue A where I used to live and started modeling. By instinct I decided to choose to work only with designers whom I liked the ideas and values. I’m very grateful, as I got to learn so much from being behind the scenes in the fashion industry.
I was also interning for different brands every semester. It was very hectic, but I couldn’t be happier.
WHO HAVE YOU LEARNED THE MOST FROM IN YOUR CAREER THUS FAR? WHO ARE YOUR MENTORS? HOW HAVE THEY HELPED GUIDE YOU?
Claire Lampert (from B Sides jeans). She’s been in the industry for way longer than I have and taught me so much, not just about fashion but life. Living away from your family can be tough sometimes. We met on my first year in NYC when the universe connected us thru an internship and she was supportive and believed in me since then.
Also Stacy Daily, the coolest.
Also Maryam Nassir Zadeh, she was always there for me when I questioned anything.
TELL ME A BIT ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH FASHION PRESS.
I have a super fun relationship with press, because they understand who I am, my lifestyle and aesthetic, so we do inspiring interviews, shoots and editorials together. I would never do a feature that isn’t based on my values, and they understand that.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST WHOLESALE SEASON LIKE?
It was the biggest challenge I’ve ever had, but it was incredible, I got many accounts, which was very impressive and unexpected. I truly believe that when you create something with your heart people can see it.
YOU PRODUCE YOUR LINE IN BRAZIL AT A FAMILY-OWNED FACTORY. TELL ME ABOUT THE EXPERIENCE OF WORKING WITH THE TEAM THERE, AND WHY IT IS IMPORTANT TO YOU.
It’s a small team, and half of them are women. Whenever I visit, we have a big meal together, talk about life, politics, and of course shoes. Brazil is always struggling economically and politically, a lot of factories closed in the 90’s, and being able to support them means a lot to me.
WHAT’S BEEN THE MOST REWARDING PART OF YOUR BUSINESS?
When someone comes to talk to me randomly on the streets about how the brand is cohesive and has good values regarding women.
WHAT ARE SOME CHALLENGES THAT YOU FACE IN YOUR BUSINESS? HAVE THOSE CHALLENGES CHANGED SINCE THE FIRST DAYS OF YOUR BUSINESS?
It’s a business, so every decision is crucial. Having to make them every day is stressful, and I seek for advice as much as I can. After all I started this as a designer and not a business woman. But I learned a lot since I started, and I feel more confident.
WHAT IS YOUR ONE PIECE OF ADVICE FOR FASHION DESIGN STUDENTS?
Intern as much as possible, and become friends with your coworkers. Ask them everything you can possibly think of. Find something you truly believe in and dive in. Be kind and honest. Don’t use straws.
WHAT MOTIVATES YOU AS A DESIGNER?
To always improve. Making a better product every season.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR MARI GIUDICELLI?
We have lots of fun project coming up, follow my instagram for updates!