Designer Spotlight Marguerite Wade, Full Court

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“I was playing tennis one day wearing sports clothes, no ball pockets. I said to my partner, ‘Somebody should make clothes that are more city-inspired… you know, something people would want to wear.’ He was like ‘Yeah, somebody should.’ So I said, ‘OK, I’ll do it!’ And for some reason I just got it into my head that I was going to do this. I talked to a couple of designers that I was helping at the time about presentations and kits, and it blossomed from there.

My background is in production design, and this was a side project that kind of snowballed into something real. It brought me out to Portland—I was like, ‘Where do people make this kind of stuff?’ And it’s all in Portland. All of these things that I discovered along the way, it’s sort of fun when you have to figure it out. It forces you to learn things and be clear.

Friend of a Friend: Where do you source your inspiration from?

Marguerite Wade: I feel like it’s just an aesthetic choice… Super clean, it has sort of a streetwear sensibility but it’s also super functional. The colors are really important, the textures are really important. All that stuff kind of comes into play.

FOAF: Were there any other designers inspiring you?

MW: It’s so funny—because I was doing sportswear, there are certain really simple references that I would pull, like old Nineties Calvin Klein. Simple and layered. That’s how I put the collection together, the original pieces were so simple and I like that about it. It’s funny because the second collection was a little bit more difficult for me. It’s like your sophomore slump in a weird way, you’re trying to do to much, you’re listening to too many people, everyone’s got a suggestion, so I feel as though I lost the thread a little bit. I’m trying to circle back around to what I thought was the essence of it all.

FOAF: Athleisure is so big right now—how does Full Court fit into that?

MW: I really hit it exactly when that trend was sort of blowing up. That was just a weird accident. I’ve always been that kind of vibe, I've been wearing this kind of stuff for years—everyone’s like ‘Hey, have you been working out?’ and I’d be like ‘No, this is just what I'm wearing today.’ I’m kind of riding the current of that for now. But I think Full Court isn’t a trend, it’s a constant.

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FOAF: Where did the name came from?

MW: That’s a good story. For some reason I was joking around with someone about doing something with such intensity and they were like, “You gotta go full court press” and so from there we used to always say that: “I'm going full court press on this.” I was gonna call it “Full Court Press” but it was just too basketball, and then it kind of just dropped to “Full Court” which seemed like a better fit.

FOAF: What’s next for the brand?

MW: The design has been fun, but what I’m working on is the sales portion. I'm really pushing my duties with that and getting a little bit of help. I’m excited about ecommerce. And I’m excited about getting people to wear the brand!

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FOAF: What’s been the hardest part about starting a company?

MW: With my production job, I sort of facilitate other people’s visions and ideas, so for this project it was my vision and my ideas—that was so fun to realize that. I’d say the hardest part is keeping the momentum going. It’s really hard to consistently have this force of energy to keep it going. It can get a little bit daunting, so you have to shake it off and keep your head down and move. I’d say that’s the hardest part—but the rewards are so great that it keeps you going.

FOAF: What advice do you have for people who want to start their own brands?

MW: You should have a really clear idea of what you want to do—but not to the point where it’s making it impossible for you to begin. You have to go for it, just go for it in a smart way. The other thing I would say is that I feel like sometimes there is this desire to start something too soon. I always say this about Full Court, that I could have never started it ten years ago. It’s almost like I didn’t have the wherewithal, nor did I have enough people on my side. I feel like you kind of have to wait, grow up, grow with your crew together, and then get your stuff started then. Don’t rush it.

 

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