Behind the brand: Mar Mar Copenhagen
Marlene Holmboe, the founder and designer behind the very much loved danish childrens clothing brand tells us about the spirit of the new collection and the continuous work with sustainability.
HI MARLENE, SO NICE TO HAVE YOU WITH US. IF YOU COULD SUM MAR MAR UP IN A FEW WORDS?
– Yes. Classic, lowkey, luxury, made to last.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
– My inspiration usually comes from movies, books, and old photos. While we were making the current collection, AW21, I watched the remake of Little Women, an old favourite of mine. The new version is just as filled with inspiration: The way the very saturated colours are combined and mixed with decoration like frills and embroidery. The story of the sisters figuring out who and what they want to be and following their own path, that feels as relevant today, as when the book was originally written.
SOUNDS VERY INSPIERING, TELL US ABOUT YOUR LOVE FOR CHILDRENS CLOTHING.
– My love of clothes goes way back. Even as a child I was sewing and knitting my own clothes.
Back in 2008 when I started MarMar Copenhagen, I was a young mother of three looking for affordable, good quality clothes in muted solid colours and they were hard to find. With a degree in Design and experience from both kids and womenswear, I thought I´ll make them myself. Feeling confident other parents were looking for clothes that was easy to mix and match too, clothes that would make getting dressed feel easier. Now 13 years on, it's clear other parents needed MarMar Copenhagen too! Clothes to last beyond the season. Clothes to have fun and play in. Clothes that look as good as it feels.
WHO IS YOUR PRIME COSTUMER YOU WOULD SAY?
– I think it's parents and kids that feel the same way about clothes as I do. Families that love clothes that feels as good as it looks; Clothes that lasts and is made sustainably.
WHAT IS THE STORY BEHIND THE NAME ”MAR MAR COPENHAGEN”?
– The MarMar part is a tribute to family and childhood; You see my sister's name is Maria; my brother is called Martin and I'm Marlene, that inspired MarMar. The Copenhagen part was important as Danish Design is renowned for being good quality, long lasting, carefully designed both regarding functionality and aesthetics and that has always been and still is MarMar DNA too.
WE LOVE THAT CONNECTION. HOW DO YOU DEFINE THE SPIRIT OF THE NEW COLLECTION?
– It's called “Making new memories” and was made during the covid pandemic. Back then I was hopeful that by the time we launched the collection, it would all be behind us and we would be ready for new positive memories and experiences together. It's a new season, a new chapter and I'm looking forward to be making new MarMar memories with all of you.
WHAT ACTIONS ARE YOU TAKING TO BE MORE SUSTAINABLE?
– This is a subject I has always felt very strongly about. It's complex and can be very simple at the same time and about so much more than just organic cotton. Like buying less and buying better. Caring for and mending your clothes and passing it on, for every piece to have the longest life possible.
Limiting overproduction has always been very important to me and turning down the fast pace of fashion a little. Since the very first collection MarMar has had a NOOS collection (NOOS means Never Out Of Stock). It´s a collection of classic, basics that are the essence of what MarMar Copenhagen is all about. Basics I don't want to make a new version of every season, when we already have what works the best. They last far beyond one season, in both design and quality and the seasonal collections are additions to those basics. Over the years more styles have been added to our NOOS collection, creating the core of every child's wardrobe.
When I design, I often look at colours from the previous seasons and make them look good together. Giving new life to favourites that are already in wardrobes around the world. Fit is of course very important too, clothes that feel good to wear are clothes you want to keep and take care of.
Of course, the entire production chain is important, from finding fabrics of the right quality and where it is sewn, we want it to last and be certified and produced under the best conditions. To how everything is packaged and transported too. As with everything in life it's about making an effort. Making the best products is one sustainable approach.
AND, IS IT POSSIBLE TO INFLUENCE THE COSTUMER TO BUY PERHAPS LESS BUT MORE SUSTAINABLE?
– I'm convinced it's possible. I feel MarMar Copenhagen is the proof… We frequently get feedback from our customers with messages like: “we've inherited a MarMar tee/ romper/ bodystocking from my friend who has two kids and it still looks and feels brand new” and being the most sought after brand on reseller platforms just makes us so happy.
The relationship between price and quality of clothes is evident. Buying to wear briefly and then discard is so clearly not a way to care for and protect our planet. Shifting our consumer choices is one way we can help address the problems; everyones choices help push for more systemic, widespread change.
WE LOVE HEARING THAT. SO WHAT'S NEXT?
– To continue our organic growth, that will bring even more members to our worldwide community of MarMar lovers – to our MarMar family.
THANK YOU MARLENE, ONE LAST QUESTION, IS THERE SOMETHING YOU WOULD LIKE TO RECOMMEND? IT CAN BE ANYTHING.
– Yes. Make new memories with us this season, do your best in everything you do and get a dog! You said anything. Getting a dog has been one of the best decisions my family and I have made over the last few years.