There's a lot of pressure on young designers to have a slick, memorable narrative right out of the gate, sometimes before they really understand who they are and how to build a business. For Marta Goldschmied, the storyline was clear when she launched Made Gold in 2014: her father is premium denim expert Adriano Goldschmied (he developed Diesel, Gap 1969, AG Jeans, Citizens of Humanity and more) and she keyed into the athleisure trend by designing activewear that looked like jeans. But last summer, the younger Goldschmied parted ways with her original partner and corporate owners ("it was totally amicable"), regained complete control of Made Gold and and stopped compromising her sexy, sophisticated and grungy take on streetwear.
"What I want to do is very conceptual and I think it scares a lot of the OGs in the denim industry because it is so different," says Goldschmied. Her father helped her bring on a chief operating officer and now Made Gold is a small team of women producing denim, separates and French Terry pieces. Instead of being confined by seasonal deliveries, Made Gold releases smaller drops every few weeks and responds directly to its active and communicative audience on social media. Goldschmied's goal is to stay focused and not dilute her vision, and it's already working. Gigi Hadid, Bella Hadid, Zendaya and Hailey Baldwin are just a few of Made Gold's more famous fans.
I spoke with Goldschmied about pivoting Made Gold, the best advice her father's given her and building relationships with her customers.
Did you always know you wanted to get into fashion? What did you learn from your father while growing up?
I was surrounded with it always, particularly denim, but to be honest I was a bit of a rebel and a black sheep in a way, so I always fought against going into the fashion industry until a few years ago, when my dad decided to do something a little bit different and stop designing and doing fabrics. I felt like it was just kind of the perfect opportunity for me to get in there — not really compete with what he's doing but really carrying on the legacy in a new way and really show a new generation of denim. Because I'm quite different, [and] obviously Made Gold, from what my dad has done.
I just remember my parents taking me to Turkey to look at new denims with my dad, and going to Tokyo with him when he was releasing new collections. I ended up being exposed to so much, so I'm sure, in a way, that really had a lot to do with me starting Made Gold. I didn't want to come out with just any denim line to ride off the last name. It was really important for me to have my own opinion and express and build my own identity.
Is there a shift happening in the denim industry now? For a while, there was so much talk of activewear taking its place, but that didn't really last. What is your customer looking for?
I think there's a major shift back to the kind of original, traditional denim — the vintage wash, the '90s movement is coming back. To me, that's really exciting because I really love washes, I love being in the laundry, I love to develop all of that. As far as like what our girl loves and looks for in our jeans particularly and just our brand, is something a little bit different, something that stands out. Our jeans definitely have quite a bit of personality. Our best seller has been the "Betty" side lace-up.
What was it like to see Gigi and Bella Hadid wearing that style?
I was crying, it was pretty big. Going back out on our own, we really took a big chance and we really felt like we had a lot to say. And actually it's funny because that particular style — we fought so hard when were in our corporate situation to put them into our holiday collection, and we were being told [that] nobody would wear this. We kept hearing the word "slutty," but when that kind of happened it was a little bit of: okay, now look at this. It was a really great moment for us, it was incredible. And seeing orders going out was even better.
How many people do you have working with you and what are their roles?
One is my co-designer [Marika Amegah]. My younger sister [Glenda] works with us. She's our creative director, and she lives in London, she graduated from Central Saint Martins for Fashion Communication. Anything visual; she did our website, our logo, our packaging, kind of everything that you see down to the graphics. And then we have our COO, Ingrid [Rodriguez]. My dad brought her in for us and made that connection, so it's like a squad of girls. It was really important for us to have a female COO that blended well with the whole team. It's become a whole girl power thing. The story kind of really changed from the whole oh, my dad did this and I'm launching this project, to just this group of girls, not even so much about me. It's really about all of us just really believing in what we're doing and fighting so hard to bring it out there.
How would you describe your design point of view?
I think the aesthetic is going to come down to sophisticated grunge, and I think it comes [from] me growing up in Italy and being exposed to this very classic, very put together, sophisticated look. And then I came to L.A and I went to Venice High School... I would go to Venice Beach and I would see all of this subculture, whether it was the punks or the goths or the surfers, skaters, the hip-hop. And I got this whole new messy, put together, grunge sense of style. I think it's just about blending my two worlds, that I came from, into one eclectic mix.
Why did you decide to work outside of the traditional six-month fashion calendar?
It wasn't so much conscious. I would have all of these girls sending us emails, or reaching out on Instagram saying: Where can we get this? And by the time we dropped it, they really weren't interested in it anymore. So I felt like we were missing out on so much, showing it like that, that it just organically moved into this direct-to-consumer, smaller capsule injection [method], smaller drops but more constant. If the stores really love it and the product is doing well, they can reach out to us and we'll do wholesale — we're more than excited to do it. But we don't feel so tied down to show a major collection each fashion week. I think that's a bit outdated as a system.
For the next year or two, I'd like to continue doing little small injections and maybe open some accounts that I really, really would love to be in. But keeping it small, keeping it very focused and just continuing to deliver the vision we have for it, without having to compromise. I'll just take it step by step, but ideally it would be my dream to have a full lifestyle brand.
Has your father given you any valuable advice about design or business?
The only advice he's ever given me, that really stuck with me — he said that if you want to be a champion, you have to roll with winners. And that always stayed with me, so I'm very aware of the people I surround myself with, the people I associate the brand with and all of that.
Did he not give you other design advice because he wanted you to find your own way?
Absolutely. He told me at the beginning that if he could take away my last name too, he would. But that's been great: I made my mistakes, I've made huge mistakes, I've made small mistakes, but I've also learned from every single one. I respect him for that and there are times that I wish maybe he'd do a little more as a daughter, but then as a designer I so much appreciate the freedom that he's really given me.
I've found that the denim industry is very male-dominated and I think it is scary but it's also kind of empowering to be a girl doing her own thing and taking charge of kind of her destiny in a way, As scary as it is, it's also exciting.
This interview has been edited and condensed.