Interview with Minicucci x Marcanio - URBANETTE: Lifestyle Magazine & Blog

Inspiring Women

Interview with Minicucci x Marcanio

Imagine starting a company with your mother. How horrifying does that sound?

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Imagine starting a company with your mother. How horrifying does that sound? You instantly envision the constant arguing that would happen the moment you two became business partners. When I say “partners” I actually mean mom is making all of the decisions and you’re just there to do as she says. Yeah, pretty dreadful.

Interview with Minicucci x Marcanio

While a mother-daughter collaborative may not be very common, fashion brand Minicucci x Marcanio proves this dynamic can actually work. Designer Marisa Minicucci and her 26-year old daughter Anissa Marcanio launched their line of contemporary women’s jackets in Canada and have been creating quite the buzz here in the U.S. Put together a mother who has 30 years of design experience in the fashion industry and a daughter who has progressive views on fashion and we get two distinct generational influences all in one jacket.

Interview with Minicucci x Marcanio

Anissa (left) and Marisa (right)

Urbanette Magazine: What type of woman do you have in mind when designing your jackets?

Marisa Minicucci: This is a question we’re often asked, and are forever trying to find an answer to! Ultimately we design for a woman who is real, and “over the hype”, as boring as that sounds. She’s passed her soul-searching phase and, though she knows she’ll always be discovering her likes, dislikes and passions, she’s very sure of the person she is and is unwavering on that. She’s not caught up in whirlwind anything because she’s incredibly grounded. She has a style and rather than following the trends of the season, she always finds the couple of jackets in our collection that fit HER style.

Interview with Minicucci x Marcanio

She taught me to be fearless and always believe in what I stood for, so in that sense she was the best fashion role model because I wore what I wanted, when I wanted and I had plenty of time to be insecure about anything else BUT my personal style.

Anissa Marcanio: That’s why we make sure to have something for everyone in each collection, because we want to promote individuality. We’re not asking a woman to change her wardrobe every 6 months because she’s told to, we’re asking her to pick a jacket that fits her style, and love it more than anything else, even if it means disregarding the rest of the collection. That’s the woman we keep in mind.

Interview with Minicucci x MarcanioUrbanette: What is your opinion on fast fashion and how do you plan to stay timeless?

Marisa: Our plan to stay timeless is less of a plan, and more of an attitude. If as a brand you tend to change your style faster than you can wear it out, that probably means it has less to do with infectious style, and more to do with exposure.

Anissa: As long as we trust that our customers will be buying from their hearts and not just because they saw it in a magazine, we think that keeps us timeless in a sense. In french we call a favorite item a “coup de coeur”, which literally means a heartbeat. Fast fashion is rarely bought with the heart, and more with the mind.

Urbanette: Do you ever find yourself wanting to keep up with fashion trends?

Anissa: As designers, we have to, it’s part of the job! Fashion trends get a bad rap these days though because everyone thinks they have to go out and overhaul their wardrobe to fit the latest item in. In fact, if you really follow fashion, eat and breathe it like those in the industry do, you’ll realize very little effort needs to be made if you understand the influence of the season rather than the trending item.

We won’t limit ourselves to only making “blazers” or “motorcycle jackets” because there is just so much more to it than that.

Marisa: Chances are, you already have all the “it” items in your wardrobe (…minus that pair of graphic print silk palazzo pants, but if you’re old enough, you do, and they’re vintage!), you just have to re-learn to wear them all with different combinations based on a mood. Most importantly, if you’re not feeling the influence that season, hold off on the crazy purchases or the uncomfortable outfits. Style should not wear you, you should wear style.

Interview with Minicucci x Marcanio

Urbanette: Because of the generational gap between both of you (mother and daughter), are there times where you both disagree on each other’s design ideas?

Anissa: Actually, there are those times, but they aren’t what you would imagine. I’ll often say things like “this is so hot right now and I think it’s necessary to include in the collection” and Marisa will look at me in horror because I’ve just pointed out something she was wearing in the 80’s which she can’t accept is back. She’s ready to move forward and I’m almost ready to just pull out the very first patterns she’s ever made!

I was most proud of was that she is an awesome, and bad-ass business woman, and there are very few of those around. Business women sure, but business woman who make grown men cry?

Interview with Minicucci x Marcanio

Urbanette: How is the dynamic otherwise when you two work together? Do you bring personal matters into the workplace? They always say never go into business with family!

Marisa: Traditionally, we would agree, we have never heard of business mixing well with family! However, Anissa is an only child and happens to be my daughter, which basically means there is was a slim chance she wouldn’t be influenced by what I do. I think the key is that she respects what I do and I respect what she does. She’s not trying to follow in my footsteps and I’m not trying to rid on her new-gen knowledge. We’re walking through this side by side and we never override each others’ responsibilities. As far as personal matters in the workplace, coffee time always accompanies the personal life updates, and we wouldn’t have it any other way because this business is crazy and if we didn’t catch up with each other at work, we would never have the time to do so!

Urbanette: What made you decide to get into fashion and follow your mother’s footsteps? Do you consider her a great fashion role model?

Anissa: I followed in my mothers footsteps because she didn’t want me to! Isn’t that the classic condition of children? I’ve always known my mother was different and I’ve always been SO proud to show her off. Growing up, I never told people she was a designer because that’s not the part that made me most proud – everyone is a designer these days – what I was most proud of was that she is an awesome, and bad-ass business woman, and there are very few of those around. Business women sure, but business woman who make grown men cry? Not many that I know of. She taught me to be fearless and always believe in what I stood for, so in that sense she was the best fashion role model because I wore what I wanted, when I wanted and I had plenty of time to be insecure about anything else BUT my personal style.

Interview with Minicucci x Marcanio

Marisa (left) and Anissa (right)

Urbanette:  How did you earn the title “Montreal’s Grand Dame of fashion”?

Marisa: I honestly didn’t know before this interview…! I have tendency to say “consistency” in my designs but even then, I just design what I feel per season so that’s not a conscious effort. I must admit I worked incredibly hard on my fit over the years, and I haven’t met one woman who doesn’t feel that when they try on an item. The product has never been just a product for me. It’s alive. It carries it’s weight and everything – I mean everything – goes into the product. From raw material to confection, I’m involved and it’s not just another “clothing company”. My brands have always been a depiction of myself and this new project only differs slightly because there’s another factor – my daughter – but everyone still says to us in the showroom “this product is Marisa, I know it’s her product”.

I think the key is that she respects what I do and I respect what she does. She’s not trying to follow in my footsteps and I’m not trying to rid on her new-gen knowledge.

Interview with Minicucci x MarcanioUrbanette: How would you both describe your style and do you incorporate both styles into your designs?

Marisa: We were asked this question in another interview and Anissa had brought up a good point that I wholeheartedly agree with but could never have pinpointed it myself. My style is that I’m never lazy about it. I love the challenge of dressing and creating new outfits, and (apparently) is shows! I never see myself in that light because I see my style evolving each season, year, decade, but I’d have to agree that the signature element to my style is just the effort I put into dressing.

Anissa: My mother definitely has a signature style, even though she’s modest about it! I’m the complete opposite. I’m such a chameleon naturally in my personality, and my style tends to carry my emotion that day, week, season or year. I’ll identify to trends, I’ll be on top of them when it comes to research and design, but I’ll never wear them myself with enough confidence. My style is less a style and more a “mood”. I’ll wear my mood until I’m over it and onto the next without much anticipation or notice. That can sometimes mean years of the same look with minor changes to stay current.

Interview with Minicucci x Marcanio

Urbanette: Is there a reason why you only chose to design and sell jackets?

Anissa: Absolutely – because a jacket makes or breaks an outfit today. It’s definitely a jacket market out there right now and we’ve just come into it at the right time. It is a conscious decision to concentrate on the jacket at the moment, especially if it offers an alternative to “cardigans” – both of our least favorite wardrobe item!

 This season we helped some women in Kenya, next season we might just put something else that is just as special to us and promotes something good in another community.

Urbanette: What do you think separates you from other jacket designers who also focus on craftsmanship and practicality?

Marisa: Our openness to the definition of “jacket”. We won’t limit ourselves to only making “blazers” or “motorcycle jackets” because there is just so much more to it than that. It’s an important addition to an outfit, and it could very well BE the outfit in some cases. We’d like to be known for our quality and craftsmanship, but we’d also like to be known as the “go-to” name when anyone wants a jacket – whatever their idea of “jacket” is.

Interview with Minicucci x Marcanio

Urbanette: Since your brand is from Canada, do you plan on infiltrating the U.S. market more and what are other plans for the future?

Marisa: Since our brand is Canadian, our plan for now is to infiltrate our big brother because that’s where it all starts. We have to have a solid base in the U.S. market before moving elsewhere because it’s extremely important for us to know what works and what doesn’t in that market. Canadian markets of any kind of malleable and subject to outside influence, especially the U.S. influence. European markets are niche and if you start there, you’ll inevitably have to adapt to the North American market (especially in terms of sizing), and the Asian market is too unknown for us to have started there.

Anissa: Each market has preferences but generally if you’re good in the Americans’ books, you’ll generally be accepted elsewhere. There’s also the factor that we produce in Canada and our American stores respect that, which we appreciate – it’s incredibly important to us to keep it going on North American soil.

We’d like to be known for our quality and craftsmanship, but we’d also like to be known as the “go-to” name when anyone wants a jacket – whatever their idea of “jacket” is.

Urbanette: Inside every jacket, you place blanket material made from the women Masaai group of Kenya. Talk to us about your reasoning for doing this.

Marisa: There isn’t really a reasoning per se, we basically just wanted each jacket to carry some good karma, and this season that was what we chose. We don’t go into it in much detail on the website because we really want to be able to switch the karmic factor up each season. This season we helped some women in Kenya, next season we might just put something else that is just as special to us and promotes something good in another community.

Anissa: We don’t want to play it up too much, and we don’t want to be known solely for this detail, it’s just kind of a strange superstitious belief we both share to always pay it forward.

Sarah enlightens us on a daily basis with the newest trends as (and often before) they transpire. She is the consummate globe trotter. Having traveled to over 70 countries, she earns her living writing, blogging and modeling while on the road. In her spare time she gets manicures, suntans on yachts in Greece, shops for even more shoes, and lives in the limelight. She loves photography, elephants, sailboats, bangles and ballet flats.

Reader Discussion: 1 Comments

  1. It's great to see a mother-daughter business doing so well! I love their ideas about the clothes carrying good karma 🙂

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