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OPINION: Ensemble co-founder Zoe Walker Ahwa responds to an op-ed written by Maggie Marilyn fashion designer Maggie Hewitt. A version of this was sent directly to Maggie.

Dear Maggie,

As someone in our New Zealand fashion industry who I have respected for using their platform to advocate for positive change, I was extremely disappointed by your op-ed published on Wednesday by the NZ Herald.

As retail stores open up again in Auckland, you said, “my belief in collectivism disables my ability to feel anything less than torn.”

“December 1, let's open up,” you wrote. “No traffic light system, no ‘us’ against ‘them’.”

“I can tell you one thing for certain: Maggie Marilyn has always been a brand that meets people where they are, a brand that doesn't cast judgment or exclude those with differing views or vaccination statuses, and we sure as hell won't start now.”

The above comments, and the entire column, platforms your privilege. It is unlikely that you and your customer base (or ‘believers’, as you describe them) need to be afraid of the consequences of any “opening up”. 

Many scientists and health experts (experts! Not fashion designers) have said that the wholesale dropping of public health restrictions - “no mandates, separation or segregation”, as you put it - would disproportionately impact Māori, Pasifika, immunocompromised and vulnerable communities. 

There was no mention of these communities in your op-ed, which instead focused on individualism, commerce, business trips. The perks of the privileged and protected; a stark contrast to the person with Covid who had to isolate in their car because they could not do so safely at home, or essential workers who have kept our economy going, or those being sent home from hospitals because of Covid’s impact on our health system.

But these at risk communities aren’t really your customers, are they? 

“We’re on a mission to Create a Better World,” is your Maggie Marilyn brand ethos, or at least your Instagram bio. Create a better world for who, exactly?

You often use the sustainable buzzwords of community and ‘collectivism’ in your brand marketing. You hyped a menswear basics line by declaring, “no man left behind”. Your brand has regularly declared that “the best is yet to come” and in your op-ed you wrote that it’s ‘what we do next that counts’ - one of the several lines you quoted from your father.

I believe that what we do today, right now, counts. 

I, and Ensemble, have always proudly and publicly advocated for public health initiatives, science and the genuine belief in the power of the collective/ensemble/group. The concept of an ensemble is similar to that of the collectivism that you wrote about, but perhaps we have very different interpretations of how that works.

In your op-ed, you acknowledged that the success of a country must be measured on social and environmental outcomes; on material deprivation, child poverty, and the sustainability of our planet for future generations. On this we can agree.

We have interacted many times before, both professionally and socially, and had interesting discussions about sustainability, retail, the state of the fashion industry; all important topics, and I have valued your perspective on these things. 

But given the conversations I have been having with others in our industry following the publication of your op-ed, I feel I would be a hypocrite to not directly share my disappointment and reaction to it.

I can respect differing opinions, and I don’t expect everyone to have the same liberal outlook as I do. I understand the need for retail to re-open; I have had plenty of conversations with fashion designers and store owners about the challenges of these recent months. 

But I feel that you using your platform to publish these views is a volte-face to the positive and passionate changes you have advocated for in the past.

I will be watching with interest to see how Maggie Marilyn as a brand navigates this new era - or “brave new world” that you often speak of.

Your op-ed was headlined, “NZ needs to remember what we have lost”.  I disagree. New Zealand needs to remember what and who we have saved.

No items found.

OPINION: Ensemble co-founder Zoe Walker Ahwa responds to an op-ed written by Maggie Marilyn fashion designer Maggie Hewitt. A version of this was sent directly to Maggie.

Dear Maggie,

As someone in our New Zealand fashion industry who I have respected for using their platform to advocate for positive change, I was extremely disappointed by your op-ed published on Wednesday by the NZ Herald.

As retail stores open up again in Auckland, you said, “my belief in collectivism disables my ability to feel anything less than torn.”

“December 1, let's open up,” you wrote. “No traffic light system, no ‘us’ against ‘them’.”

“I can tell you one thing for certain: Maggie Marilyn has always been a brand that meets people where they are, a brand that doesn't cast judgment or exclude those with differing views or vaccination statuses, and we sure as hell won't start now.”

The above comments, and the entire column, platforms your privilege. It is unlikely that you and your customer base (or ‘believers’, as you describe them) need to be afraid of the consequences of any “opening up”. 

Many scientists and health experts (experts! Not fashion designers) have said that the wholesale dropping of public health restrictions - “no mandates, separation or segregation”, as you put it - would disproportionately impact Māori, Pasifika, immunocompromised and vulnerable communities. 

There was no mention of these communities in your op-ed, which instead focused on individualism, commerce, business trips. The perks of the privileged and protected; a stark contrast to the person with Covid who had to isolate in their car because they could not do so safely at home, or essential workers who have kept our economy going, or those being sent home from hospitals because of Covid’s impact on our health system.

But these at risk communities aren’t really your customers, are they? 

“We’re on a mission to Create a Better World,” is your Maggie Marilyn brand ethos, or at least your Instagram bio. Create a better world for who, exactly?

You often use the sustainable buzzwords of community and ‘collectivism’ in your brand marketing. You hyped a menswear basics line by declaring, “no man left behind”. Your brand has regularly declared that “the best is yet to come” and in your op-ed you wrote that it’s ‘what we do next that counts’ - one of the several lines you quoted from your father.

I believe that what we do today, right now, counts. 

I, and Ensemble, have always proudly and publicly advocated for public health initiatives, science and the genuine belief in the power of the collective/ensemble/group. The concept of an ensemble is similar to that of the collectivism that you wrote about, but perhaps we have very different interpretations of how that works.

In your op-ed, you acknowledged that the success of a country must be measured on social and environmental outcomes; on material deprivation, child poverty, and the sustainability of our planet for future generations. On this we can agree.

We have interacted many times before, both professionally and socially, and had interesting discussions about sustainability, retail, the state of the fashion industry; all important topics, and I have valued your perspective on these things. 

But given the conversations I have been having with others in our industry following the publication of your op-ed, I feel I would be a hypocrite to not directly share my disappointment and reaction to it.

I can respect differing opinions, and I don’t expect everyone to have the same liberal outlook as I do. I understand the need for retail to re-open; I have had plenty of conversations with fashion designers and store owners about the challenges of these recent months. 

But I feel that you using your platform to publish these views is a volte-face to the positive and passionate changes you have advocated for in the past.

I will be watching with interest to see how Maggie Marilyn as a brand navigates this new era - or “brave new world” that you often speak of.

Your op-ed was headlined, “NZ needs to remember what we have lost”.  I disagree. New Zealand needs to remember what and who we have saved.

Creativity, evocative visual storytelling and good journalism come at a price. Support our work and join the Ensemble membership program
No items found.

OPINION: Ensemble co-founder Zoe Walker Ahwa responds to an op-ed written by Maggie Marilyn fashion designer Maggie Hewitt. A version of this was sent directly to Maggie.

Dear Maggie,

As someone in our New Zealand fashion industry who I have respected for using their platform to advocate for positive change, I was extremely disappointed by your op-ed published on Wednesday by the NZ Herald.

As retail stores open up again in Auckland, you said, “my belief in collectivism disables my ability to feel anything less than torn.”

“December 1, let's open up,” you wrote. “No traffic light system, no ‘us’ against ‘them’.”

“I can tell you one thing for certain: Maggie Marilyn has always been a brand that meets people where they are, a brand that doesn't cast judgment or exclude those with differing views or vaccination statuses, and we sure as hell won't start now.”

The above comments, and the entire column, platforms your privilege. It is unlikely that you and your customer base (or ‘believers’, as you describe them) need to be afraid of the consequences of any “opening up”. 

Many scientists and health experts (experts! Not fashion designers) have said that the wholesale dropping of public health restrictions - “no mandates, separation or segregation”, as you put it - would disproportionately impact Māori, Pasifika, immunocompromised and vulnerable communities. 

There was no mention of these communities in your op-ed, which instead focused on individualism, commerce, business trips. The perks of the privileged and protected; a stark contrast to the person with Covid who had to isolate in their car because they could not do so safely at home, or essential workers who have kept our economy going, or those being sent home from hospitals because of Covid’s impact on our health system.

But these at risk communities aren’t really your customers, are they? 

“We’re on a mission to Create a Better World,” is your Maggie Marilyn brand ethos, or at least your Instagram bio. Create a better world for who, exactly?

You often use the sustainable buzzwords of community and ‘collectivism’ in your brand marketing. You hyped a menswear basics line by declaring, “no man left behind”. Your brand has regularly declared that “the best is yet to come” and in your op-ed you wrote that it’s ‘what we do next that counts’ - one of the several lines you quoted from your father.

I believe that what we do today, right now, counts. 

I, and Ensemble, have always proudly and publicly advocated for public health initiatives, science and the genuine belief in the power of the collective/ensemble/group. The concept of an ensemble is similar to that of the collectivism that you wrote about, but perhaps we have very different interpretations of how that works.

In your op-ed, you acknowledged that the success of a country must be measured on social and environmental outcomes; on material deprivation, child poverty, and the sustainability of our planet for future generations. On this we can agree.

We have interacted many times before, both professionally and socially, and had interesting discussions about sustainability, retail, the state of the fashion industry; all important topics, and I have valued your perspective on these things. 

But given the conversations I have been having with others in our industry following the publication of your op-ed, I feel I would be a hypocrite to not directly share my disappointment and reaction to it.

I can respect differing opinions, and I don’t expect everyone to have the same liberal outlook as I do. I understand the need for retail to re-open; I have had plenty of conversations with fashion designers and store owners about the challenges of these recent months. 

But I feel that you using your platform to publish these views is a volte-face to the positive and passionate changes you have advocated for in the past.

I will be watching with interest to see how Maggie Marilyn as a brand navigates this new era - or “brave new world” that you often speak of.

Your op-ed was headlined, “NZ needs to remember what we have lost”.  I disagree. New Zealand needs to remember what and who we have saved.

Creativity, evocative visual storytelling and good journalism come at a price. Support our work and join the Ensemble membership program
No items found.

OPINION: Ensemble co-founder Zoe Walker Ahwa responds to an op-ed written by Maggie Marilyn fashion designer Maggie Hewitt. A version of this was sent directly to Maggie.

Dear Maggie,

As someone in our New Zealand fashion industry who I have respected for using their platform to advocate for positive change, I was extremely disappointed by your op-ed published on Wednesday by the NZ Herald.

As retail stores open up again in Auckland, you said, “my belief in collectivism disables my ability to feel anything less than torn.”

“December 1, let's open up,” you wrote. “No traffic light system, no ‘us’ against ‘them’.”

“I can tell you one thing for certain: Maggie Marilyn has always been a brand that meets people where they are, a brand that doesn't cast judgment or exclude those with differing views or vaccination statuses, and we sure as hell won't start now.”

The above comments, and the entire column, platforms your privilege. It is unlikely that you and your customer base (or ‘believers’, as you describe them) need to be afraid of the consequences of any “opening up”. 

Many scientists and health experts (experts! Not fashion designers) have said that the wholesale dropping of public health restrictions - “no mandates, separation or segregation”, as you put it - would disproportionately impact Māori, Pasifika, immunocompromised and vulnerable communities. 

There was no mention of these communities in your op-ed, which instead focused on individualism, commerce, business trips. The perks of the privileged and protected; a stark contrast to the person with Covid who had to isolate in their car because they could not do so safely at home, or essential workers who have kept our economy going, or those being sent home from hospitals because of Covid’s impact on our health system.

But these at risk communities aren’t really your customers, are they? 

“We’re on a mission to Create a Better World,” is your Maggie Marilyn brand ethos, or at least your Instagram bio. Create a better world for who, exactly?

You often use the sustainable buzzwords of community and ‘collectivism’ in your brand marketing. You hyped a menswear basics line by declaring, “no man left behind”. Your brand has regularly declared that “the best is yet to come” and in your op-ed you wrote that it’s ‘what we do next that counts’ - one of the several lines you quoted from your father.

I believe that what we do today, right now, counts. 

I, and Ensemble, have always proudly and publicly advocated for public health initiatives, science and the genuine belief in the power of the collective/ensemble/group. The concept of an ensemble is similar to that of the collectivism that you wrote about, but perhaps we have very different interpretations of how that works.

In your op-ed, you acknowledged that the success of a country must be measured on social and environmental outcomes; on material deprivation, child poverty, and the sustainability of our planet for future generations. On this we can agree.

We have interacted many times before, both professionally and socially, and had interesting discussions about sustainability, retail, the state of the fashion industry; all important topics, and I have valued your perspective on these things. 

But given the conversations I have been having with others in our industry following the publication of your op-ed, I feel I would be a hypocrite to not directly share my disappointment and reaction to it.

I can respect differing opinions, and I don’t expect everyone to have the same liberal outlook as I do. I understand the need for retail to re-open; I have had plenty of conversations with fashion designers and store owners about the challenges of these recent months. 

But I feel that you using your platform to publish these views is a volte-face to the positive and passionate changes you have advocated for in the past.

I will be watching with interest to see how Maggie Marilyn as a brand navigates this new era - or “brave new world” that you often speak of.

Your op-ed was headlined, “NZ needs to remember what we have lost”.  I disagree. New Zealand needs to remember what and who we have saved.

Creativity, evocative visual storytelling and good journalism come at a price. Support our work and join the Ensemble membership program
No items found.

OPINION: Ensemble co-founder Zoe Walker Ahwa responds to an op-ed written by Maggie Marilyn fashion designer Maggie Hewitt. A version of this was sent directly to Maggie.

Dear Maggie,

As someone in our New Zealand fashion industry who I have respected for using their platform to advocate for positive change, I was extremely disappointed by your op-ed published on Wednesday by the NZ Herald.

As retail stores open up again in Auckland, you said, “my belief in collectivism disables my ability to feel anything less than torn.”

“December 1, let's open up,” you wrote. “No traffic light system, no ‘us’ against ‘them’.”

“I can tell you one thing for certain: Maggie Marilyn has always been a brand that meets people where they are, a brand that doesn't cast judgment or exclude those with differing views or vaccination statuses, and we sure as hell won't start now.”

The above comments, and the entire column, platforms your privilege. It is unlikely that you and your customer base (or ‘believers’, as you describe them) need to be afraid of the consequences of any “opening up”. 

Many scientists and health experts (experts! Not fashion designers) have said that the wholesale dropping of public health restrictions - “no mandates, separation or segregation”, as you put it - would disproportionately impact Māori, Pasifika, immunocompromised and vulnerable communities. 

There was no mention of these communities in your op-ed, which instead focused on individualism, commerce, business trips. The perks of the privileged and protected; a stark contrast to the person with Covid who had to isolate in their car because they could not do so safely at home, or essential workers who have kept our economy going, or those being sent home from hospitals because of Covid’s impact on our health system.

But these at risk communities aren’t really your customers, are they? 

“We’re on a mission to Create a Better World,” is your Maggie Marilyn brand ethos, or at least your Instagram bio. Create a better world for who, exactly?

You often use the sustainable buzzwords of community and ‘collectivism’ in your brand marketing. You hyped a menswear basics line by declaring, “no man left behind”. Your brand has regularly declared that “the best is yet to come” and in your op-ed you wrote that it’s ‘what we do next that counts’ - one of the several lines you quoted from your father.

I believe that what we do today, right now, counts. 

I, and Ensemble, have always proudly and publicly advocated for public health initiatives, science and the genuine belief in the power of the collective/ensemble/group. The concept of an ensemble is similar to that of the collectivism that you wrote about, but perhaps we have very different interpretations of how that works.

In your op-ed, you acknowledged that the success of a country must be measured on social and environmental outcomes; on material deprivation, child poverty, and the sustainability of our planet for future generations. On this we can agree.

We have interacted many times before, both professionally and socially, and had interesting discussions about sustainability, retail, the state of the fashion industry; all important topics, and I have valued your perspective on these things. 

But given the conversations I have been having with others in our industry following the publication of your op-ed, I feel I would be a hypocrite to not directly share my disappointment and reaction to it.

I can respect differing opinions, and I don’t expect everyone to have the same liberal outlook as I do. I understand the need for retail to re-open; I have had plenty of conversations with fashion designers and store owners about the challenges of these recent months. 

But I feel that you using your platform to publish these views is a volte-face to the positive and passionate changes you have advocated for in the past.

I will be watching with interest to see how Maggie Marilyn as a brand navigates this new era - or “brave new world” that you often speak of.

Your op-ed was headlined, “NZ needs to remember what we have lost”.  I disagree. New Zealand needs to remember what and who we have saved.

Creativity, evocative visual storytelling and good journalism come at a price. Support our work and join the Ensemble membership program
No items found.

OPINION: Ensemble co-founder Zoe Walker Ahwa responds to an op-ed written by Maggie Marilyn fashion designer Maggie Hewitt. A version of this was sent directly to Maggie.

Dear Maggie,

As someone in our New Zealand fashion industry who I have respected for using their platform to advocate for positive change, I was extremely disappointed by your op-ed published on Wednesday by the NZ Herald.

As retail stores open up again in Auckland, you said, “my belief in collectivism disables my ability to feel anything less than torn.”

“December 1, let's open up,” you wrote. “No traffic light system, no ‘us’ against ‘them’.”

“I can tell you one thing for certain: Maggie Marilyn has always been a brand that meets people where they are, a brand that doesn't cast judgment or exclude those with differing views or vaccination statuses, and we sure as hell won't start now.”

The above comments, and the entire column, platforms your privilege. It is unlikely that you and your customer base (or ‘believers’, as you describe them) need to be afraid of the consequences of any “opening up”. 

Many scientists and health experts (experts! Not fashion designers) have said that the wholesale dropping of public health restrictions - “no mandates, separation or segregation”, as you put it - would disproportionately impact Māori, Pasifika, immunocompromised and vulnerable communities. 

There was no mention of these communities in your op-ed, which instead focused on individualism, commerce, business trips. The perks of the privileged and protected; a stark contrast to the person with Covid who had to isolate in their car because they could not do so safely at home, or essential workers who have kept our economy going, or those being sent home from hospitals because of Covid’s impact on our health system.

But these at risk communities aren’t really your customers, are they? 

“We’re on a mission to Create a Better World,” is your Maggie Marilyn brand ethos, or at least your Instagram bio. Create a better world for who, exactly?

You often use the sustainable buzzwords of community and ‘collectivism’ in your brand marketing. You hyped a menswear basics line by declaring, “no man left behind”. Your brand has regularly declared that “the best is yet to come” and in your op-ed you wrote that it’s ‘what we do next that counts’ - one of the several lines you quoted from your father.

I believe that what we do today, right now, counts. 

I, and Ensemble, have always proudly and publicly advocated for public health initiatives, science and the genuine belief in the power of the collective/ensemble/group. The concept of an ensemble is similar to that of the collectivism that you wrote about, but perhaps we have very different interpretations of how that works.

In your op-ed, you acknowledged that the success of a country must be measured on social and environmental outcomes; on material deprivation, child poverty, and the sustainability of our planet for future generations. On this we can agree.

We have interacted many times before, both professionally and socially, and had interesting discussions about sustainability, retail, the state of the fashion industry; all important topics, and I have valued your perspective on these things. 

But given the conversations I have been having with others in our industry following the publication of your op-ed, I feel I would be a hypocrite to not directly share my disappointment and reaction to it.

I can respect differing opinions, and I don’t expect everyone to have the same liberal outlook as I do. I understand the need for retail to re-open; I have had plenty of conversations with fashion designers and store owners about the challenges of these recent months. 

But I feel that you using your platform to publish these views is a volte-face to the positive and passionate changes you have advocated for in the past.

I will be watching with interest to see how Maggie Marilyn as a brand navigates this new era - or “brave new world” that you often speak of.

Your op-ed was headlined, “NZ needs to remember what we have lost”.  I disagree. New Zealand needs to remember what and who we have saved.

Creativity, evocative visual storytelling and good journalism come at a price. Support our work and join the Ensemble membership program
No items found.