Madeline Hill | Masculine Streetwear Designer

Madeline Madden | Masculine Streetwear Designer

Fabric Guides My Creativity { I like my work to be a little imperfect.

–Madeline Madden

Uniquely Masculine Streetwear, Woman, Girl | Tomboy–Style

Madeline and I began our conversation via Instagram when I noticed that her designs were of a unique look that is sought but often not found in retail shops. Yes, there are a few companies that cater to this style of fashion–Tomboy look. However, the majority of fashion is designed for and is exclusively designed for a specific gender–the category of–men or women. Here, you can see Madeline has created a uniquely individual look and a style that is liked by many but hard to find in today’s mass-marketed products for women and girls that seek masculine streetwear.

So take a few minutes to learn about who Madeline is, why she creates this style and line of clothing, and what her plans are for her work as a masculine streetwear designer.

Would you say that you are a reseller of fashion?

Madeline: A fashion reseller is somebody that resells second hand clothing. I would not consider myself a reseller. Everything that I sale is made by hand by me. My early pieces were secondhand clothing that I upcycled by altering the silhouette or by embellishing the original garment. I have moved away from upcycling and now make my own pieces from scratch from secondhand clothing.

Would you say redesign is a hustle that you stumbled upon or a hidden passion you’ve always wanted to pursue?

Madeline: Fashion was a hustle that I stumbled upon. Throughout my life I knew I had creative energy but struggled to find the medium that cultivated that energy and gave me outlet to release. I experimented with different mediums including painting and music production, but none of them matched the energy I felt.

Would you say that you are a fashion designer?

Madeline: Yes I consider myself a fashion designer. I specifically make new garments from used fabric. I take secondhand fabric and clothing, completely de-reconstruct them and put the salvage small pieces back together to make large sheets. After I cut shapes out of the newly developed fabric, I sew it back together to make a wearable garment. Every patch and every stitch is there for a purpose. Not only are the patches and stitches there to keep the garment together, but they are also placed in their locations to tell a story. Not only am I making clothing to wear for protection and style, but I am making walking art pieces.

When did you decided to become a fashion designer?

Madeline: I started sewing three years ago and decided to become a fashion designer two years ago. I started off selling my pieces to my friends, family, and at local community markets in Minneapolis, MN.

Did you receive any formal training or did you teach yourself? If you received formal training where? If taught or inspired by another who?

Madeline: The only introduction to fashion design that I had had in my life up until the age of 22 was my middle school FACSFamily and Consumer Scienceclass where we made a pair of pants and a fashion design class I took in high school where we made dresses out of every day materials. I enjoyed both of those classes but at the time the medium of fashion design and textile art did not stick with me. When I reflect back onto why those two mediums did not stick with me at the time I know it’s because of two reasons. One, I grew up in a town where you were considered ‘weird’ if you don’t like the same things as everyone else or didn’t live in the same way as everyone else. As a young closeted queer person, I already felt different from everyone else. Therefore, I did not pursue activities that fell outside the status quo in an effort to keep my queerness under the radar. The second reason why the medium of fashion design did not stick with me at the time is because from what I knew, fashion design was primarily composed of feminine garments. Although my closet consisted of Although my closet consisted of feminine clothing to blend in as a teen, I yearned to wear and embrace masculine clothing.

It wasn’t till the age of 22, where I was out and proud with my queerness, that I was re-introduced to the medium of fashion design. At the same time as being re-introduced fashion, I was introduced to the masculine side of garment production. The re-introduction/introduction to masculine fashion design came through a Instagram post. The Instagram user was a man who had up-cycled a men’s button up shirt. He took two button ups from the thrift store, cut them in half and sewed them back together making two new half and half shirts. I thought this looked like a blast so I took out my grandma’s vintage sewing machine, went to the thrift store to get two shirts and gave it a try.

Not only did I find this first project extremely enjoyable but I also felt as though I had done a pretty good job. Although at that point I knew I had much more to learn about sewing and garment production, I finally felt like I had found a form of art that matched the creative and masculine energy that I have been feeling my whole life.

Have you sold your work beyond Minnesota? If so, where and would you do it again and why?

Madeline: Yes I have sold my clothing to people who live in different states. I can’t remember the exact states, but it’s been around six different ones so far. Yes I definitely plan on continuing to ship and sell my clothing to people in different states through online orders.

What is that you strive for when you are creating a new design?

Madeline: I strive to make a piece of walking art that does not negatively impact the environment in order for it to exist.

Where do you get the fabric/clothing that you redesign? When would you say you are most creative early morning, afternoon, or evening? Why?

Madeline: I only use secondhand fabric to make my handmade garments. I source my fabric from the thrift store and the dead-stock section at the fabric store. In addition to the thrift store and fabric store, I also source my fabric from community clothing swaps and community free markets. Community clothing swaps and community free markets are my favorite places to source secondhand fabric. Not only do I get to find materials for my projects, but I also get to bring clothing that I have found through my different excursions and share them with friends and community members.

Damaged clothing and fabric is not off the table for me, in fact using damaged fabric with holes or stains is one of my favorite materials to use. Damaged clothing for many people is automatically viewed as garbage and as a result end up in the trash. With the work that I do, it’s extremely feasible for me to use the salvageable parts of a garment or fabric for a project. I can either cut around the parts of the fabric that are ruined, and only throw the damage part of the fabric away, or I can use the damaged part of the fabric as a base and sew a collage of fabric scraps over it. The accessories and non-fabric materials on secondhand garments that I source do not go utilized either. I cut off the buttons and zippers of secondhand garments and use them for my recreations.

I am 100% a morning person. I think I’m a morning person because I was born in the morning.

What guides your creativity?

Madeline: The fabric. When I sew and start to put the ideas in my head together, I truly feel like the fabric is guiding me. Even if I come to the table with an idea, the fabric ultimately decides if the idea is physically feasible. There has but numerous times where I knew exactly what I wanted to make, but the fabric didn’t mesh together.

Once you have completed a design project, what do you hope you have accomplished?

Madeline: I hope to have created something that will leave someone with their jaw dropped. Not because I am looking for validation from others on my art, but because I want to have created something that someone sees and automatically knows it was made for them. I want people to be stunned by elements they want and enjoy, but are unable to find with mainstream fashion.

What do your friends and family think about your business as a re-designer/reseller?

Madeline: I’ve never once doubted that they support me. I think they think it’s impressive that I am trying to change careers into a completely different field.

Do you create from inspiration or passion or both? Provide an example of a garment you created from inspiration.

Madeline: Both. I’m constantly inspired by the fashion I see in print and on the bodies of everyday people living their lives. The first garnet I ever made, a half and half men’s up cycled button up was made out of inspiration. I was so in spired by what
the random Instagram user had made, that I went out the next day and made my own version.

What do you like most about redesigning?

Madeline: I’ve fallen in love with the process of taking something old or damaged, and turning it into something new. I’ve also learned how wasteful fast fashion is and how detrimental it is to our environment and the people that work in mass factory production sites for large fashion corporations. There is currently an excess amount of fabric on our planet. I have no interest in contributing to the number of garments already made on our planet. I’m extremely proud of the fact that my garments, my pieces of art, slowly make the pile of excess fabric on our planet smaller one piece at a time.

What does sustainable and eco-friendly fashion mean to you?

Madeline: To me, sustainable and eco-friendly fashion means creating a garment that does not negatively impact the environment in order for it to exist.

Why do you choose the garments you redesign?

Madeline: Most of the secondhand fabric I use to create my pieces of work include denim, cotton and polyester. The reason why I choose these fabrics is because often times, these are some of my only options at the thrift store. These three types of fabrics are extremely popular and are durable, so it comes as no surprise that many garments that are made from these fabrics last long enough to be in the thrift store.

How would you classify your designs: casual chic, bohemian chic, artsy fashion, etcetera?

Madeline: I would classify my designs as sustainable masculine streetwear.

What does fashion redesign mean to you and how do you determine success when designing?

Madeline: To me, fashion design means being limitless. Knowing how to sew and design gives you the power to be anything and everything you want to be. Through the clothing that I make I can be any and all combinations of feminine, masculine, polished, messy, soft, edgy, etc. the list goes on. How I wish to be perceived and how I want to feel can be a reality through the clothing that lays on the chest. | MM

Madeline Madden | Masculine Streetwear Designer