A s Maje continues to expand in the Middle East, Buro 24/7 speaks to the French brand's founder Judith Milgrom, about growing up in Morocco, working with Alexa Chung and the American roadtrip that's inspired her latest collection...
Maje is a family run business and you even named the brand after your family. What does family mean to you?
My family has always been my anchor and the most important thing in my life. MAJE stands for members of my family: M is for MOYAL (my maiden name), A is for Alain (my brother, whom I started the brand with), J is for Judith and E is for Evelyne (my sister). I am forever thankful for the education and the values I received from my family and I do my best every day to pass them on to my children and now to my grandchildren.
Speaking of childhood's, you were born in Morocco... Did you spend much time there growing up and what's your fondest memory?
I lived in Morocco until I was 10 and all of my cherished childhood memories are linked to this country and its culture. I had a wonderful, carefree childhood. What I miss most are the earth colours, the light, the smells... I remember when I first arrived in Paris how struck I was by the greyness of the city (in comparison to Morocco).
Is the MENA region an inspiration for you or do you tend to look more towards Europe and the West?
My inspiration comes from everywhere. It doesn't come from one country or region, it comes from women all over the world, whatever their origin.
You have stores across the Middle East, what do you think defines the Middle Eastern woman and how does Maje cater to her?
Middle Eastern women are quite sophisticated and glamorous, and they love accessories. Maje offers a wide range of sequined, embellished pieces, as well as bags and other accessories.
You must be constantly travelling for work? What three things do you always take with you and why?
My cashmere travel mask, a book and my Ipod.
What's one thing people don't know about you?
How terribly shy I am.
Tell us about the inspiration behind the latest collection?
A girl travelling to Marfa (Texas). An independant girl, an artist. An urban girl in search of fresh air. A free and ultra-feminine girl, sometimes sophisticated who mixes outstanding pieces with a timeless, cool wardrobe.
The expression of an asserted style with a strong personality. Nostalgia with a modern twist. A trip to the past, the present and the future. An escape through the desert. an American roadtrip.
You've worked with a number of celebrities and models for campaigns, who has been your favourite to work with and why?
Alexa Chung because she was really inspiring and representative of the brand. She was a great person to meet, fun to work with and with a lot of style. I also loved working with Vanessa Traina, a lovely and talented girl with amazing style, tastes and education.
How did being acquired affect Maje and what's your advice to emerging designers, who are looking to take capital?
Having a fund and a capital allowed us an enormous and fast development. It helps with opening stores worldwide and developing the teams.
What's next for Maje?
We have developed an accessories line and will be focusing on a new bag for SS16.
Maje is available at The Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates in Dubai.