For all fashionistas out there with a taste for simple and comfortable—yet chic—clothing that combines outerwear and innerwear gracefully, Mary Young is the designer and brand to watch out for. With a focus on lingerie and loungewear, the Mary Young brand does not disappoint. She eliminates the hours of debating about what to wear with her comfortable, simple alternatives.
This Canadian brand is new to the fashion world, having been established in 2014. Faze caught up with Mary Young herself at this year’s INLAND event to chat about her beginnings in the fashion industry and her vision behind her brand.
When did your interest in fashion first take shape?
To be honest, I’ve actually always been interested in fashion. When I was five or six, I was designing dresses for my Barbie dolls. I started knitting at the age of eight and then I started making clothes at 10 when I got my first sewing machine—which was like, the best gift ever. So it’s always been the plan. I’ve never had any other plan than fashion.
How would you describe the Mary Young brand?
The Mary Young brand is basically a lifestyle lingerie and loungewear line. We really emphasize comfort over everything else basically. Starting with your lingerie—it’s the first thing you put on in the morning, so it’s super comfortable and makes you feel really good about who you are and your natural shape. Then we add layers on top of that with tank tops, dresses and even some sweaters and sweatpants. Everything is about comfort—whether you’re at home or going out with your friends. It’s really about making life easier and feeling great at the same time.
What made you choose to pursue a “comfort-clothing” line?
Personally, I find dressing up is a challenge because I love to be comfortable but I feel like when I am comfortable I don’t look appropriate for going out, and I want to look appropriate when I’m going out. Especially young women in a busy city like Toronto—we’re so busy going to different places like the gym, for drinks after work, etc. Being able to transition between those events easily was really my thought process. So pants that you can go from relaxing at home in—to going out for dinner with friends—is what I am for. I’m designing stuff that makes life easier while feeling great at the same time.
How did you originally start up the Mary Young brand and enter into the fashion industry?
I actually started this from a thesis. I went to Ryerson and studied fashion communication, so I studied more of the branding and marketing side of fashion. Then in my fourth year, I had to produce a thesis based on studying something and producing it in a communicative manner. I decided to do a double thesis where I also created, on paper, a collection that could be shown on the runway. . . . I really just studied how pastiche took different genres of things together and then paid homage to it and created something new. . . . I did that with my collection where a lot of the loungewear and lingerie had different cuts from the ’50s and ’60s and made it trendy. And it was well received and after I graduated school, I figured why not try it out as I’ve always wanted to have my own company. So I started it just a few months after I graduated in 2014.
What is the best part about being a designer?
I think the best part is connecting with consumers and seeing how they appreciate the garments. A lot of times when I sell online I don’t get to hear the comments as much, but recently a lot of people have been commenting on Instagram or sending me emails and just saying “I feel so great when I put on your bra,” or “this sweater is everything I’ve ever wanted.” Just hearing that people feel good in my clothes makes me really happy and gives me the passion to continue doing what I’m doing.
What advice would you give to aspiring fashion designers?
My best advice would be to take calculated risks. Being creative is really great but you also need to understand that being a designer, you also have to know how to run a business. It’s not just designing. Thinking about the business aspect of things is important. There’s a right time to do everything, but it’s never going to feel like the perfect timing . . . look at the risks that you’re going to take and make sure that everything is basically lined up and then just take that leap of faith.