Earlier this spring we went to London to visit the Converse One Star Hotel, a hotel where Converse collaborators such as A$AP Nast, Gully Guy Leo, Yung Lean took part, but also the New York based street wear brand MadeMe. Recently, Converse and MadeMe’s joint collection was finally launched. We had a chat with Erin Magee behind the brand about 90s references and the need to broaden the representation.
Erin Magee worked as a Director of Development and Product at Supreme for over ten years before she in 2007 started MadeMe to fill a gap in the street wear scene. MadeMe is a combination of New York City’s queer, fashion and rave cultures that harnesses the energy of the riot grrrl movement, and wants to represent the dynamism of downtown youth. The joint collection with Converse celebrates countercultural style ideals and reignited nostalgia for the 90s during a time when cultural identity, bold attitudes and action had a lot of meaning.
Hello Erin! So, what is Mademe and what does the name stand for?
– It is a big question. People always think it is madame, but it is actually MadeMe. It is just the way it is spelt. Short version: it is a brand that wants to broaden the representation within the street wear scene.
Why do you think there’s a need of broadening the representation?
– For me it’s like street wear does this strange thing, I guess fashion over all does it: they always segregate male and female things, and to me it does not make sense. If it is good, it’s good. Why is there for example a page like Hypebeast that only men can look at, what is it, like 1920-something? I find that really boring, I just don’t get it. Of course there’s Hypebae and others but I still don’t get it. Just because half of the things I like is guy’s stuff it happens to not be on there? And why is everything pink? I wish streetwear felt a little bit more accepting. It feels very much like ”girls over here, and boys over there. Girls like these pink things, and boys like the good things”.
Do you think there’s a shift going on?
– Yes, I think there’s a shift going on. There are some other brands doing similar things to what I try to do that people can look up to. I hope it will create a change.
What is it that you try to do?
– I don’t want to say whether the clothes are only for men or women, but most of my clothes are bought by women. But just because they are mainly for girls it is not cute and pink, but 90s inspired and nice. I just basically try think what people want to wear. I don’t see MadeMe as some kind of art project, it is made to be worn. Easy stuff that girls can wear but that also have a reference point. I think that’s interesting, and as we have already mentioned it is based on 90s references, which contains a little bit of rave, a little bit of riot girls a little bit of club.
What about the room at the One Star Hotel?
– Completely yellow, cool right? Have you seen The Doomed Generation? It is a 90s film. A lot of what MadeMe is is based on 1990s references. Rose McGowan is in it (she’s really having a comeback). The room is inspired by the movie. It feels like that was a time when people really cared for interior and what they brought to the room, everything was places somewhere by affection.
Don’t you think people care today?
– I think it is going fast today, people are very fast. It is more like they look at a picture and say ”just make that”. Inspiration is not just about seeing what others have done and make that, it is about references. This room contains a lot of references from my childhood. There’s a barbie-wall, you know, like all these old things that are stuck in your parent’s basement and I wanted to bring them out.
All the barbies are naked and put together on a wall in the back of the room. It looks rather extreme and and we talk about the reason for this, and Erin tells us the really likes messed up dolls and stuff a lot. ”I think there’s a lot of references there, in these old toys. It speaks to a lot of questions in relation to the body and other things. You know everyone had a doll, and everyone had some sort of relation to their dolls, their toys – sometimes negative sometimes positive. They are tall, have got big boobs, long hair etc. It speaks towards the body imagery that is always projected on you as I kid, as a young girl. This is for me to kind of tear that apart. We don’t need to have those perfect books or hair, we can just look like we do”.
What about the Converse and MadeMe collaboration? What’s your relation to Converse?
– With this collaboration we are taking back the One Star platform shoes. The ones I am wearing are actually the originals from the 90s. I bought them at Etsy a few years ago. I used to always wear them as a teenager so when I saw them I hade to buy them again. Then Converse called me and asked me if I wanted to work on something and I was just like ”YES TOTALLY, I want to work on these”, and therefore we have a collection based on the platform model.
Do you think there is a difference between the American and the European street wear scene?
– I think now things are becoming more global, thanks to Instagram and other social media. I think it was a bigger difference before when I used to come here, people looked different. We could often really tell if a visitor in New York was european. Thanks to social media and the bigger online sites, such as Hypebeast, people are dressing the same now a days.
What do you think about when you hear Sweden then?
– Blond people.
You could both go as Swedish then.
– Yes! I also think about good architecture and IKEA. Sweden has always been known in America as the best country in the world.
It might be changing now with Trump saying different things about Sweden.
– Is he talking shit again? A load of horse shit!
The collection is now available at sneakersnstuff, Naked (only the sneakers) and at Converse.com, prizes ranging between 300-1100 SEK. Follow more of MadeMe’s work here.