A building rooftop in Delhi is about as far away from Halifax as you can get. But it's where designer Maggie MacCormick is trying to find a decent phone signal. Our initial interview had to be rescheduled, by no fault of her own, because she was "trapped in a fabric bazaar" and couldn't find her way out. For all its difficulties, technological and geographic, though, MacCormick couldn't be happier. "It's a crazy place. India is amazing—it's a real trip for all of the senses."
MacCormick left Halifax four months ago, with three girlfriends in tow, to get away, to find inspiration and maybe get some fabrics to bring back home for her namesake line, Maggie J. MacCormick. She ended up finding much more than she had bargained for.
"Anything you can imagine you can sort of find here as long as you follow your intuition and have your wits about you," she says. "I stumbled upon two fair-trade factories and so I'm having my collection manufactured here with local fabrics."
Getting first-hand experience with the factories, both in Rajasthan, their owners and the manufacturing process is something many fashion designers don't get exposure to. "In India, everything unfolds in front of me so I can really understand how the process works and learn as I go. I hope to bring what I'm learning here back to Halifax and find a way to produce at home." Home for MacCormick, despite a couple moves to British Columbia, remains Nova Scotia. "The whole time I've been in India I've been dreaming of Halifax, which is weird," she says. "I really like the people on the east coast—they're real and humble. Maybe it has something to do with the hard winters, but I find them very creative and interesting."
She's not immune to that maritime creativity—MacCormick describes her aesthetic as the unusual mix of gothic/witchy and collegiate sport, something which, in theory, doesn't make sense, but makes complete sense in practice. Drawing inspiration from mod fashion of the '60s and styles from the '20s, MacCormick creates bold colour blocked pieces fusing throwback-style cues with fresh silhouettes. By her own admission, her previous collections have been fun, but the India collection has taken a more wearable approach, which makes sense given the practicality and versatility demanded by travel—living out of a backpack for close to five months will have that effect.
While India continues to offer up plenty of inspiration and opportunity, MacCormick is already itching to start on her next project. "When I get back, I'm really anxious to sit down with my sewing machine and start designing for next year. I think India will really show up in my work when I get home and have a chance to absorb everything properly."
Sporty goth goes to India? Sign us up.www.maggiemaccormick.com