Maggie Burns, the founder and head designer at Marie-Margot Couture, has gained a following of brides within the past few years. With national recognition as one of Denver’s few handmade designers, it’s no wonder that brides and clients are traveling long distances to be fitted by Burns. A Colorado native and self-taught designer, she proves that hard work will always lead to success.
Burns is a vital force in the Denver fashion industry, helping us get on the map through her handmade designs. While she is known for her bridal-wear, her last collection presented at 303 Magazines Denver Fashion Weekend showcased red carpet-worthy gowns. We took a visit to her studios to learn more about her history as a designer, tour her racks of garments, and get a sense of her life as a Denver-based designer.
303 Magazine: First off, can you tell our readers a bit about you and your history as a designer.
Maggie Burns: I am a native Coloradoan and a self-taught designer after a few basic classes at university. I’ve always loved sewing and designing beautiful garments. My love for bridal gowns began when various friends and family asked me to make their wedding gowns when they couldn’t find anything that truly expressed their vision.
To me, each gown is a work of art because it’s one of a kind and I can infuse the design with my own creativity. Throughout an extensive corporate career, I continued designing gowns during evenings and weekends, and then in 2010, I left the rat race and started my own business. I feel so blessed to be doing something I love and being able to support myself at the same time. Even though there are challenges, as with any small business, I can’t imagine doing anything else.
303: How did you get started as a designer in Denver. Did you find it difficult to get started?
MB: I just started designing gowns and eventually met Brandi Shigley with Fashion Denver, who at that time was producing area fashion shows. After vetting my designs, she kindly included me in a few shows and then the rest is history.
“For me, inspiration comes from anywhere! Sometimes it’s the lace and silk fabric that speak to me and dictate the design; sometimes it’s the way a fabric drapes in a particular way; sometimes it’s an inspiration I get when I see a painting, movie or video.” – Maggie Burns
303: What is it like designing bridal wear? Do you think it’s particularly more difficult than other areas of fashion?
MB: Designing bridal wear is particularly gratifying since it’s a garment with such special meaning. It’s a huge part of the bride’s memory and is treasured forever as it lives on through photos, videos and the retelling of the story for years to come. And, yes, there’s pressure to make it perfect. I particularly enjoy sharing this time in a bride’s life with her as it’s such an optimistic time in a woman’s life. Each bride has a story and some are quite unique, but each is special to her in her own way. I love being even a tiny part of her happiest day
303: What kind of pieces are your favorite to design?
MB: Making unique gowns that match the bride’s personality is the most fun! Some choose bright colors, some choose exotic lace, some choose bright flowers, but each is a perfect match for the unique bride. As far as my studio collections go, my specialty is the convertible gown that gives the bride the option to have two gowns in one with the addition of a removable skirt or overlay. The bride can wear one look for the wedding and have an entirely different, but coordinating look for the reception without having to play the Kim Kardashian gown roulette with four different gowns at an exorbitant expense.
303: What do you think about the Denver fashion scene, where do you see your business fitting into that?
MB: Denver’s fashion scene is progressing at light speed. When I first got into the industry, there were few designers. Some have toughed it out, some have dropped away. What I find encouraging is the very talented new designers coming on the scene, as well as photographers, show producers, models, and hair and makeup artists. It’s wonderful to see the talent and quality of work that is coming out of Denver now. This benefits me personally as it pushes me to constantly advance my skills and imagination!
All photography by Canada Albin.