Meet Marrisa Wilson, a first-generation Guyanese-American designer who we had the honor of collaborating with this year for New York Fashion Week. Check out Marrisa's Spring 2023 runway show video here and her Spring 2023 runway show looks here, both of which feature The Two Strap.
Marrisa launched her eponymous womenswear brand in 2016 to provide women with attainable and inclusive high-end fashion that doesn't sacrifice style for comfort. Her pieces are functional, relaxed, and vibrant. Marrisa has also worked with brands such as J. Mendel, Oscar de la Renta, Rag & Bone, and Calvin Klein.
Read on for a glimpse of how Marrisa gets All Worked Up!
Where do you reside and what is your favorite local spot close to home?
I’m a Jersey girl and I currently live in Jersey City (although currently in the process of moving!). There’s this BBQ spot pretty much right across the street from my apartment called Hamilton Pork that is too good to live so close to. If you ever find yourself in the Hamilton Park neighborhood in JC, that’s always my recommendation!
What is your go-to power outfit?
I love a good blazer when I want to feel sharp and confident. A personal favorite is the MW signature Billie Blazer with contrast lapel and collar, a contrast wrap with front body tie, flap pockets and fabric covered buttons :)
What are the top three hair/beauty products or tools that you can't live without?
- Briogeo Deep Conditioning Mask has been in my rotation for a while and gives my curls a pop of moisture from time to time.
- I am constantly going to Lush to trade my five empty containers for a free face mask. Most of those containers are their Ocean Salt Body and Face Scrub, which I can’t live without.
- Fenty Skin’s TOTAL CLEANS'R REMOVE-IT-ALL CLEANSER is another staple. It really melts away my makeup and leaves my face feeling moisturized and fresh!
Where do you draw inspiration from for your pieces?
A few places, but music has a really big influence on my work. So I usually start a new season by creating the right playlist. It’s a fun way to set the vibe for the season and, once I’ve found the right musical style and tone for what I want to create, it allows me to think less in the design process and just follow my creative instincts. Once I have that soundtrack ready, I’ll then be able to hand paint and render all the prints in my collection. So I’ll always start the design process with a really expressive print story and expand and explore from there.
What are current fashion trends that you love, and ones that just aren’t for you?
I love that people are feeling inspired to get dressed up again, but are finding new, fresh, relaxed ways to wear tailored pieces. After being locked down for so long, it’s nice to feel like there are occasions to get dressed up again but without feeling stuffy or overly constricted. I think there’s a strong trend now towards being comfortable even when getting dressed up, and customers are prioritizing clothes that are not constrictive and impractical. That’s something I’ve always valued when designing my line, and I prioritize using made-for-movement fabrics. The MW line is created for multi-faceted women who believe they shouldn’t have to sacrifice style for comfort.
Low rise jeans are not for me and I don't understand why that Y2K trend is starting to come back. I can live without trying to close those tiny 3” fly zippers.
How can women embrace fashion trends, while making them their own?
I personally like working within familiar silhouettes and experimenting with prints, patterns, and textures. It’s easier to try a new trend if it works within something you feel comfortable in, like a shift dress in an interesting fabric or a new take on a favorite blazer. Sometimes, trying out a novel silhouette and a bold texture or print is too much and feels overwhelming. Less can be more.
What are the top essentials every woman needs in her wardrobe?
I wear a lot of prints and colors and so I think every woman needs a good black or white t-shirt in her wardrobe. A basic, solid-colored tee always goes really well when layered with a bolder piece, such as one of the MW signature trucker jackets, or when paired with a statement bottom, like the MW Sonia Color Block Cargo Culottes!
What's your favorite Rebecca Allen style and what would you wear it with?
My favorite Rebecca Allen style is definitely the black Two Strap Heels! Not only did they pair perfectly with so many of the styles in the MW SS23 Runway Collection, but I also wore them recently to an event with a black suit and it’s the perfect way to complete an evening look.
What constitutes a good day at work?
I do always love checking off boxes on my to-do list. But sometimes a productive brainstorming session and feeling like I’ve got a good, creative flow going is a really rewarding way to end the night. It’s fun to go from mind-mapping an abstract concept to figuring out how it can be executed. I truly appreciate the journey going from concept to execution and, while those days might be more abstract and allow for less concrete tasks to be checked off a list, they are often the most important and fulfilling for me.
How do you unwind and turn work off?
I love a good candle. So towards the end of the work day, I’ll often burn a candle to transition out of the work day and into the off-hours of nighttime. I also try to sketch in my notebook, early in the morning or late at night, to relax and stay loose and inspired. I’ll just quickly get some things down into a notebook and try not to put too much pressure on myself. Sometimes that’s the best way to keep my hand working and keep me relaxed when I have a block or feel overwhelmed or stressed.
What is your number one piece of advice to anyone who wants to work in fashion?
Find your point of view and your ‘why’ and then stick with it. Your ‘why’ may develop and change as you learn more about yourself and your work, and it should so you should always be open and able to adapt! But figuring out what you want to say and why you’re the one saying it is a great exercise to get you started, and will help you steer clear of all the noise.
Want to learn more about Marrisa? Follow all of her social channels: @MARRISAWILSONNY