Posted on February 02 2015

Marisa Zeman (MZ) (Founder & Designer of Nude is Rude) interviewed by Modern Design's (MD) Michael Earle.


MD: What is your background? Where are you from and how did this starting point influence your design? Was your family background a great influence on the way you design?

MZ: I grew up in Hong Kong which gave me the opportunity to travel to incredibly interesting places around the world from a very young age. Hong Kong is such a diverse place and allowed me to grow up amongst a multitude of cultures and nationalities building an intrigue in me to travel and experience as much as I can. I love different cultures and seeing how others live and eat and dress and I guess therefore having somewhat of an influence on my designs.

MD: Who were your major influences? We find that this is always a big part of any designer’s inspiration and drive.

MZ: I grew up in a garment business family. My father used to manufacture and my mother was a buyer. It was something that I was always around and I guess it impacted me from when I was very young. I used to love to dress up and visit my father’s office and the sample rooms and try all of the clothes on and create my own styles with them.

MD: Do you have some other designers as friends and peers? It is always interesting to see the design cauldron that great designers come from…..Picasso in Paris…

MZ: Most of my friends work in fashion which is purely a huge co-incidence. It’s very convenient though as I have so many people I can speak to and bounce ideas and questions off. They run businesses from Prada and Lane Crawford to manufacturing and producing for Zara and Accessories. It’s a very broad scope which is also useful.

MD: What are your favorite materials? Ease of assembly or purely looks, comfort?

MZ: I mostly work with a material called Modal which is incredibly soft and drapes lovely on the figure. It’s a type of jersey and is wonderfully versatile and great to dress up or down.

MD: Are there some traditional clothes that you use as benchmarks in your design?

MZ: Most of my styles are quite loosely fitted as comfort is a huge element for me on this collection. I think that after of course wanting to look great women want to be comfortable, especially when they are in a hot climate. My range is from easy dresses to comfortable and versatile jumpsuits and cardigans.

MD: How does Asia influence you differently than other parts of the world?

MZ: I think that because there are so many different cultures in Asia there are a multitude of fashion styles. I love to pick classic styles from different cultures and make them current and easy to wear. We are also able to mix urban and tropical chic. Traveling is such a huge part of living in Asia and it’s good to be able to have styles which translate into both.

MD: Did you spend some time in the fashion capitals like New York and Paris?

MZ: I used to spend time in Paris when I lived in London and I now spend a lot of time in New York. I usually do 3-4 trips to New York a year.

MD: What is the big idea behind your latest collection?

MZ: The versatility of it. It’s not just resort wear. Most of the pieces will be able to take you from pool to party. And it’s super comfortable!

MD: How do you wish your clothes to be remembered?

MZ: Fondly. As that piece that you wore to death and cried when you had to lay it to rest.

MD: What does the future hold for your fashion? Where do you want it to be in 10 years?

MZ: I am enjoying watching the line grow organically. I don’t think that I can, nor do I want to dictate where it will go. It will go where it wants to go and where it tells me it wants to go. I like watching my customer’s response to things and I am happy to produce things that women really want to wear and add to their closets. In 10 years I hope that most women have at least one Nude is Rude by Marisa Zeman piece in her closet.

MD: Family members of specific people that you think about when you design?

MZ: My friends are all women of different shapes, sizes, ages, professions, etc and I really try and make sure there is something for everyone which seems to be happening as I had intended.

I’m really pleased to see my friends wearing my pieces and seeing how happy and comfortable they are in them.

MD: What does wearing your fashion say about the person who wears it?

MZ: She’s a woman who likes to look good and stylish but isn’t a victim of fashion trends. She likes timeless and classical pieces with an edge. She likes to travel and be comfortable. She’s a woman on the go who likes to look like she knows what’s fashionable but doesn’t want to think too hard about it. She’s smart and practical.

MD: Who do you design for? (i.e. younger generation, sophisticated, men, women, etc)

MZ: Honestly it’s women of all ages and classes. There really is something for everyone. Thank you!

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