MOXHAM a London based venture is THE brand of the moment for slick and striking statement pieces. Since its inception in 2011, the brand has been featured in the likes of Grazia, Elle and Vogue.com and worn by Ellie Goulding. Our Online editor, Nina Keshmiri catches up with the founder and designer, Madeleine Moxham who’s one of our very own alumni students.
1. Since you graduated at Leeds University and set up the brand in 2011, Moxham has gone from strength to strength. What were your first steps after graduating?
I went to America on holiday (NY, Boson, Vermont) for a few weeks, had fun with friends in London and then moved to Nottingham to live with someone I started going out with.
2. What attracted you to study your BA here at Leeds?
I am from London originally and thought it was an opportunity to see more of England. I had heard great things about Leeds so I applied without even going to an open day. Luckily it turned out well.
3. You studied Fashion Design, at what stage did you realise your passion for accessories?
In my final collection I worked with leather and metal hardware and creating linear detailing on leather dresses with wool so although it was not jewellery, I enjoyed playing around with different materials and constructing things.
4. How did you find your time here and the city as a whole? What were the main things you took from your time?
I think Leeds is brilliant. It’s small compared to London but that makes it less intimidating. I was always very pro-active with work and studying as I wanted my tutors, who I very much admired, to think I was good, enthusiastic and had a good work ethic. David and his team are really wonderful, the right balance of being slightly intimidating at first (so you knuckle down) and then very positive and supporting even now.
5. You decided to take an industrial placement year and interned at Felder Felder and Aquascutum. How was it?
Good. You end up doing some very boring tasks that you think are not relevant and then realise when you look back they all got you to where you are now. I worked with some lovely people who gave me some real responsibility and this really prepares you for your final year and real life.
6. When it comes to the creative industries, there’s a huge debate surrounding the importance of a degree against experience. How important do you feel internships are for those aspiring to design or work in the fashion industry?
I would say internships are imperative whether your do this during or after your degree. I think because I did a lot of studying (BA & MA at NTU) I then felt confident enough to start a business fairly early. Although I am a big advocate of apprenticeships and experience and I don’t think that University is for everybody.
7. Since graduating and studying your MA at NTU, you have returned to London where you’re now based. Do you think London is essential for new and young designers fresh out of university and wanting to make their mark in the industry?
I love London, but I am biased because I was born here and my family is here. I think if you are hardworking and serious then you can make a business work from anywhere you want, especially in the age of the internet. I really like to be able to go to amazing restaurants, exhibitions, and shops that are in London whenever I want but mainly I like to be close to family.
8. What advice would you give to other fellow Leeds students wanting to set up an independent fashion brand? Did you experience any set-backs and what did you learn from them?
I experience set backs every day and you just have to be philosophical, have a glass of wine or talk to a friend. I have so much that I want to achieve that I am just taking it step by step. I always have to slightly change my plan when things don’t go as planned first time round. I have some experience and make some things up as I go along but so does everyone else.
9. With each collection your designs have remained distinctive, how would you describe the essence of Moxham?
The buzzwords of the brand are international, contemporary and unisex (even though they are generally aimed at women) so I keep this in mind. In regards to the actual pieces they are constructed, statement pieces. I am not a fine jeweller, I design and construct collections that range from the very wearable to the more outlandish within each collection. I view all of the pieces as accessories. Like a belt, you put them on to complete an outfit; it is not something you forget that you are wearing.
10. Tell us about your recent collaboration with Three Floor. How did it come about and what was your inspiration?
We have stockists in common and had met and were keen to work together. Their target audience is perhaps a little younger so the pieces are playful but still indicative of the MOXHAM aesthetic. Like our mainline collection it ranges from simpler pieces to items that are the showpieces of the range.
11. There’s been talk of Moxham expanding into a clothing range. Shall we be seeing your design ethos applied to garments and a return to fashion design soon?
You will – although this may be slightly further away than originally intended. MOXHAM has really found its niche and with new stockists such as Harvey Nichols and Selfridges on board, we have decided to expand slowly. As we become more confident each collection is more sophisticated and focused than the previous one and we want to keep it like that.
12. What has been your highlight so far?
There are many… most recently the press request from Beyonce that just landed in my inbox and being approached by Natalie Massenet and Roland Mouret during LFW to ask where my ‘wonderful’ leg straps were from. I had made them that morning and they are our LYONS leg straps.
13. Where do you see the brand going in the future?
In five years time I hope to also offer MOXHAM footwear and apparel. We have started with jewellery & accessories but the vision is much bigger!