For designer Marta Goldschmied, it's all in the jeans. And in the genes.
Marta, 28, is the daughter of fashion denim kingpin Adriano Goldschmied, who founded Diesel in the late '70s and whose influence has spanned the decades since at labels including Replay, Evisu and, more recently, Goldsign. Now, Marta Goldschmied has teamed with industry veteran Shane Markland to launch her own line, Made Gold, which is to arrive at boutiques including Ron Herman and H. Lorenzo this month.
"I always grew up interested in what my dad did," she says, sitting in the newly built studio she shares with Markland in Vernon, the epicenter of the denim manufacturing trade. "I think I was the only one of the three daughters who was, so I always kind of tagged along, from the offices here to traveling to Tokyo. I did a lot with him so I was very lucky."
Similarly, Markland's first real gig was working with the elder Goldschmied to launch Goldsign more than a decade ago. Markland went on to help launch designer denim label Current/Elliott. "I got to learn everything from her dad," he says. "Basically my first job was learning from him and my next success was because of what I learned from him."
Born in Italy, the Goldschmied family moved to Los Angeles when Marta was 12 and her father went to work with Lucky Brand. "I didn't know any English. My mom dropped us off at school and everyone thought I was so stuck up because I didn't talk to anyone, but I didn't know how," she says.
Now she has an unrestrained fervor for her adopted home: "I love L.A. It's the most amazing place," she says. In a nod to West Coast street culture, the "A" in her logo has been replaced by the triangular three-dot symbol for "Mi vida loca" (my crazy life) suggested by her sister, Glenda Goldschmied, a graduate of London's Central Saint Martins art school, who's helping out with branding. ("It's a family affair," she says with a laugh.)
Her own easy "but a little grungy" style of vintage T-shirts and jeans is reflected through a luxe lens in Made Gold's debut collection, which is priced in the premium denim sweet spot, with jeans $190-$250. The vibe extends to jeans jackets and motorcycle-style leathers in black or white with brash gold hardware "to make it really fun," she says. Most noticeable is a hybrid category the team calls Indigo Activewear, using a knit fabric for leggings, shorts, sports bra tops, a pullover and a sweatshirt. It's their answer to premium denim's current flat-lining state at retail as the predominance of activewear continues to disrupt the jeans business.
"Everyone's saying that the denim business is slowing down and active is taking over, so we have a fabric that brings both of those worlds together," Markland says. "You see it looks like denim on the outside but on the inside it's activewear. You can Google all these articles about how [activewear] is killing the denim business. We're not afraid of that. It's more like, 'How can we embrace it?'"
There's also innovation in the true denim pieces, with an eye-catching jacquard that has a woven-in fringed texture and in a drapey, super-soft denim that puts a sexy spin on their version of the fashion world's counter trend to the omnipresent skinny —the '90s "mom jean," reinterpreted for comfort-loving millennials. "The darts make it feminine and it doesn't give you that boxy look," Goldschmied says. "It's the perfect blend of sensuality and comfort." And Goldschmied says she and her mother are both obsessed with her oversize update of the boyfriend jean, though they wear it in very different ways. To her that's part of the line's appeal.
"I wanted this collection to be a blank canvas. That's why we don't have a lot of coatings, and the washes are very subtle," she says. "I think our 'girl' could be the high school girl who's saving up for a really cool pair of jeans or it could be the mom who spends her days shopping and picking up her kids and she wants to be a bit elegant. Or it could be Rihanna wearing them on stage. Denim's like Coca-Cola. Everybody loves jeans."
Goldschmied and Markland say they aim to eventually develop an all-encompassing brand, similar to Acne or Rag & Bone. But for now it's one step at a time.
"I never could have done a denim line if I couldn't have done it a hundred percent the way that I wanted to, and I think that Shane and I have similar styles so we always agree on pretty much everything and we always come to the same place at the end," Goldschmied says. "I couldn't have done it with somebody telling me, 'Well, this is what's selling so let's do something like this.' I really wanted the freedom to express a different idea."