Interview with the founder of BROSE - Marika Brose

Describe yourself in 1-2 sentences.
I try to be open-minded and mindful. When I visualize my brain, I imagine it to be constantly doing acrobats, simultaneously trying to understand what is going on around me and yet wanting to bring peace and harmony to those around me. Also: I like pretty things, and making them.
You like to travel! Which countries have you lived in? Is there a country you would like to move to?
Some of the places where I have lived: Paris, New York, Milan, Lisbon, Montreal, Toronto, Madrid, Tenerife, Brussels, Sicily, Switzerland, Rome, Cape Cod, and Nova Scotia. Currently I have been based in Lisbon for the last couple of winters, because during the summers I travel together with my husband and small Jack Russell dog, Bentley. For now, I don’t want to move to another city. I only want to keep traveling.

When did you get interested in fashion?
When I was two years old, I started drawing clothes on the paper placemats of the Swiss Chalet in my hometown of Toronto. I would draw paper clothing that I would cut out and drape on my Barbies.

Tell us a bit about Brose! Where did you get the idea to launch your own fashion brand? 
The fundamental concept behind Brose is affordable couture. No matter what it is – a dress, sweater, handbag – it will always provide a luxury experience but at far-less-than-couture prices. It’s very democratic, and fundamentally grounded in glamour.

Lessons learned with launching your own brand? 
Don’t grow too fast. Of course, the temptation is hard to resist. Very hard. But my toughest lesson was when I produced a lower-price collection for a large department store in the U.S. The pressure to meet their price points was enormous, and so I caved. The result was that even though the quality remained, the brand’s value permission diminished along with my margins. 

You have been working in the fashion industry for 20 years. Are you seeing an increasing trend in sustainable fashion?
The growth of sustainable fashion is undeniable. When I was Fashion Director at Canada’s premier department store, the Hudson Bay Company, I oversaw the implementation of dozens of sustainable collection launches when it was still considered “novel.” Today, it’s a mainstay on everyone’s mind, and I couldn’t be happier.

What should consumers look for when buying sustainable fashion?
The critical thing to look for is what the material is made of. Even though other factors such as manufacture origin (where it was made) and distribution (where it is sold) are also important, the most important thing to the future of our planet is the stuff -- what it’s made of, whether it’s good for you and your health, and for the sustainability of our beautiful planet Earth.

You have some exciting things coming up in ss/19.Tell us about you organically treated heavy-stock paper lunch bag!
I am very excited to be launching a capsule collection of paper-based handbags that have been organically treated to be water resistant. It’s been a long time in development and I can’t wait until it goes live!

Finally, your favourite type of workout/exercise?
Running, yoga and pilates.