TITLE: Mara, who are you, where are you from?
Mara: I am a 21 year old girl living in Frankfurt, where I am doing a 3 years apprenticeship to become a custom tailor.
TITLE: I would describe you as a creative creator – you have your own brand and a podcast. Is that your job or a side hustle?
Mara: I would agree with the title of a creative creator, because creativity is my daily business, however, the podcast (@modemood_official) I am doing with my best friend and my small fashion brand (@ave__mara) are still just side hustles, which I am doing whole heartedly in my free time. My main job at the moment is the apprenticeship. But I will definitely continue to work on my “babys” and watch them evolve year by year.
TITLE: When did you create your brand Ave Mara?
Mara: I graduated High School in spring 2019 and it was the first time after 13 years of school that I felt free to make up my mind for new things. When I wasn’t traveling I spent time in my mom’s little store in Kassel. She’s selling handmade leather bags and jewellery. I used the time there to sew my own items and since my first “AVE MARA” coat, I knew that fashion is my language. In November 2019, I felt ready to present my brand on social media, so I put my best friends in a car and we drove to the old house of my grandparents for the first photoshoot. Today, I am still sewing all items on my own and they are all unique pieces. I sell them on my depop account which is called @verphantasieren.
TITLE: How would you describe your own style and Ave Mara’s style?
Mara: That’s a difficult question, but I guess if you would ask my friends, they would say that my style is always a bit too much. My motto is „more is more“ and I don’t like to dress “normally”. I would say that my own style is pretty similar to the style of my brand. I get inspired, by religious aesthetics, although I am not religious at all, hence the name “Ave Mara”. I like a vintage aesthetic and get inspired by past times and trends. Colors are a big component in my style, I love working with monochrome looks or stark contrasts.
TITLE: How do you work? What do your processes/ routines look like?
Mara: I like to get the fabric first and then decide what I am going to sew. After I bought new fabrics I start to draft and wrap them in a way I think they can work well. I am no a person who’s planning everything ahead. I like to see where my process leads me. So, sometimes a shirt ends as a dress or trousers as a skirt.
TITLE: Has anything changed for you during the pandemic?
Mara: Of course, I guess everyone’s life and work changed, but the change was not too bad. On the one side I had more time to sew, but on the other side I had less input and cultural inspiration. I miss travelling and visiting exhibitions and other creative places. So, my inspiration only comes from things I can access at home. Regarding fabrics, I wasn’t able to touch them and buy them live, so I used lots of old fabrics, like old aprons or old handkerchiefs from my grandma and my remaining stocks. That was a great challenge and I improved my upcycling skills.
TITLE: Where do you find inspiration and motivation?
Mara: Actually I find my inspiration everywhere I am going, especially traveling inspires me a lot, but also the lovely people around me, my family and friends, old photos of them, or the worldwide web. Besides that, I do read lots of fashion magazines and I do also love watching alternative fashion shows. But not only fashion inspires me to do fashion, I also love books. Especially old classics, such as Hermann Hesse’s give me great input. Art is another beautiful way to get inspired. My sister is studying fine arts so I get in touch with art trough her and when it comes to color combinations or past fashion styles, art can teach you a lot. About my motivation, I don’t really know where it comes from, it just feels like an automatism.
TITLE: You told me beforehand that body positivity is important for you – what does it mean to you?
Mara: In my eyes, body positivity means to feel good in your own body and showing it. I love that nowadays fashion is about diversity and that models like Paloma Elesser and Jill Kortleve appear on covers and in fashion shows. It´s the most natural thing to show curvy and normal bodies, every body type should be able to identify with the models that are presented by the fashion industry. There are still many high fashion brands which produce their clothes only until the size 42 or XL, that’s a shame. I guess we have to spread body positivity to give people, especially women, their confidence and power back.
TITLE: In your opinion, what should change in the creative and fashion industry?
Mara: First of all it is important to never stop changing and to see changes as a good thing. In my opinion we should still work on a greater diversity. And of course, sustainability should be improved because the planet is our home we need to protect it. Especially fast fashion is still very problematic, but I guess the industry is on a good way. We just need to take care that we never take steps backwards, only forwards. There’s still a lot of work to do, to make the fashion industry a fair one.
TITLE: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Mara: Let’s dream:
<< I will wake up in the morning, then I am gonna drink my cappuccino and walk my dog through the streets of a beautiful city. I will be living in NY or maybe Antwerp. After the walk with my dog I will go to my own studio where I will design for my brand “AVE MARA” which is now bigger and international. In the afternoon I will do an episode of my Podcast and visit exhibitions or go to a park. In the evening I will go to clubs, because there’s no pandemic anymore and I will celebrate my fashion life with my friends. >> That’s my dream life, but all I really want for me and my closest people is to be happy and healthy.
TITLE: Who is your icon?
Mara: I’d never had one specific icon, because for me it was most important, to become myself rather than like anyone else. But there are of course people I am fascinated by, for example Vivienne Westwood and the“upcycling-Queen” Marine Serre. I also admire the creative director of Gucci, Alessandro Michele. But next to all these famous, talented geniuses one of my biggest icons is definitely (as cheesy as it sounds) my mom, because she empowers me every day.
TITLE: At TITLE we always ask: What does true identity mean to you? Have you found it yet, and if so, how would you describe it?
Mara: I am in my early twenties and people who already found their identity at this young age must be from another planet I guess. I don’t know yet who I really am or who I want to be. The identity of someone can grow and change over time and I am excited for what´s to come.
TITLE: For which three things are you most grateful for?
Mara: Family and Friends I can write memories with. The possibilities I got in my privileged situation. The sun.
Photos by Ave Mara
Header artwork by Celine Nguyen