05 Mar Meagan SE Wellman Owner of M-SEW with a private office in East London
Megan SE Wellman, owner and creator of her brand “M-Sew” is one of our Mainyard residents who has her own private office in East London.
Meagan Wellman has created her own fashion brand ‘M-SEW’ in her private office in East London, describing it as “island vibes with an urban twist” and explores the contrast of islands and city life celebrating the island in the city vibe. M-SEW strives for more environmentally friendly fashion practices and takes special attention to how their pieces impact the world. This ethos is also reflected in their efforts to give back to local communities.
Here is our interview with Meagan!
“M-SEW is the brand that represents your identity, from the brand name to the design inspired by the places you have grown up in Barbados and Bermuda. What motivated you to start your own clothing line?”
I spent a lot of time with my grandma growing up. She was a seamstress – so seeing her take textiles and creating garments which were worn by her clients inspired me to explore fashion design further. Both my parents are artists too – creating with paint and pottery – but those mediums weren’t for me, but I look to those art techniques when developing prints and fabrics for my designs.
“Before starting M-SEW you worked as a sales assistant in different fashion companies. How did this help you with designing and managing your own clothing line?”
Being able to see the everyday and what people would buy was great experience for me. I had the opportunity to work with a small team in Mayfair, so was able to see the management of the boutique and online store too. The boutique had a showroom that allowed me to see each new seasonal collection, and also encouraged my involvement with the buying process for shop floor, which was fantastic. It taught me that when it comes to a clothing line, there has to be a balance of realism and fantasy. Pieces that would draw people in the store from the window display, then the pieces that people would actually purchase for their daily lives.
“The fashion industry is highly competitive. What is your USP and makes you stand out from your competitors?”
I know right! I feel that M-SEW is my unique take on my island upbringing and mixing it with urban references of London which results in a unique take on the brands designs.
“Your collections combine an island vibe with an urban twist. Where do you look to for inspiration for the brand’s collections?”
I look wherever I am to be honest. As I am based in London there’s so much to absorb. I love taking in the way that people style their clothing when travelling on the tube – there’s no typical British style, everyone embraces their own way of doing it. I am also inspired heavily by nature – the textures and patterns that are just there, especially when you look up close.
“Because of Covid-19, you started producing facemasks. What other changes did you have to make to keep the business going?”
I have been striving to find ways to give back and be more eco-conscious with my collections and also how I go about the business. So far with each sale I have been donating 20% of each sale to either the NHS or KWANDA – to support black communities in the UK and the Black Lives Matter movement. I have also released a collection of printed t-shirts that are organic, fair trade cotton and have been printed using eco-friendly inks in Nottingham. I like to work with local manufacturers and craftspeople when I can.
“How do you think that the coronavirus will influence the fashion industry and M-SEW?”
I think it’s an exciting time for the industry. A lot of the ways that fashion has been being produced hasn’t been sustainable and with countries on lockdown, it’s forcing companies to re-think how to go about collections.
Also when it comes to collections, the major fashion weeks (London, NYC, Paris, Milan etc…) have been virtual. Designers have been showcasing their works online for a while but now it’s becoming more of a norm. For M-SEW this is great as I have been looking into showing some works from Bermuda – having the islands stunning natural scenery as a backdrop for my work.
“What are the biggest challenges that you faced during these times of uncertainty, and how did you overcome them?”
My main challenge is to not get ahead of myself. As I am building the brand up solo with some help from friends, I have to keep myself in check. For instance, not to create such large collections so soon and to keep my goals in sight. I had an instance where I was giving myself too many tasks to do and too many projects were running at the same time then I had a burnout. Not nice but you live and learn!
How would you describe your latest collection? To whom is it oriented?
My latest collection is a t-shirt series and will be introducing a lounge set soon – ideal for WFH and travelling. They’re oriented towards an up and coming individual that has a strong sense of who they are and are striving for their dreams.
Have you ever experienced a creative block? If so, what did you do to re-gain your inspiration?
Yea I have. Luckily I was able to take a break from creating and just lived my life. Doing things I enjoy with friends and family or even by myself help to get through a creative block and find new inspirations to draw from.
“How would you describe your personal style?”
At the moment it’s been leggings and oversized tee’s with slippers. I wore proper fitted clothes a few weeks ago and I was like, how do I dress again? This whole lockdown/Rona has really been a ride! But usually I am quite simple in my personal styling. I like a good blazer with a wide leg, full length trouser and an almond toe shoe to tie it all together. Accessories wise, I always have my watch and ring – gifts from my parents.
“If you would have the chance to collaborate with one well-known designer, who would it be? What about a celebrity?”
Hmmm… I would have to say Prabal Gurung – he comes across as such a positive and bubbly person that I would think working together would be a joy. Not to mention his designs are just as amazing! Celebrity wise, I’d love to work with Issa Rae. I started following her since her YouTube days with her series “Awkward Black Girl” and was like “…this is so me…” haha. She’s been popping up in a lot of production lately and I like her vibe.
“What qualities do you think a designer should have?”
Flexibility & resilience – There have been so many plans that I have had for M-SEW that didn’t work out like I thought. Thinking of other ways to get around the issue at hand instead of giving in is a must.
Curiosity – I love learning about cultures and the different ways that people go about the same thing. This is how I keep myself inspired as well – through experiencing things that aren’t my norm.
“There are thousands of girls that would like to be a fashion designer or work in the fashion industry. What is one piece of advice that you would like to share with them?”
It takes time. Make sure that you aim to learn about the industry and how it works. A lot of the business side of M-SEW I’ve been learning by trial and error. I would also say that having a mentor is great. I had one and he really helped me to not make some bad choices when it came to being with a store – I’d never worked with a store before so it was much appreciated advice!
“If Meagan was not a fashion designer, who would she be?”
Probably a musician. I play piano and have an obsession with music. I’m pretty sure I would’ve gotten into production or something like that.
If you want to grow a successful business like Meagan, why not find a private office in East London or South West London by clicking here Mainyard Studios locations