Unveiling the Vision: Exploring Marrisa Wilson's Spring/Summer 24 "Wild Coast" Collection
Get ready to set sail on a vibrant and exhilarating fashion voyage as we dive into Marrisa Wilson's Spring/Summer 2024 collection, "Wild Coast." Inspired by the rich Caribbean cultures within Guyana, Marrisa has brilliantly woven together a collection that celebrates the spirit, colors and rhythms of the island.
In this exclusive interview, I talk with Marrisa to uncover the stories behind her designs, the cultural influences that shaped her creative vision, and the magic that unfolds when fashion meets the vibrant essence of the Caribbean.
So grab your sunglasses, feel the warm breeze on your skin and join us as we embark on a thrilling journey through Marrisa Wilson's "Wild Coast" collection.
Maxine Cesar: Can you share with us the inspiration behind your SS24 collection and how it influenced your design process?
Marrisa Wilson: The MARRISA WILSON New York Spring/Summer 2024 Collection was inspired by exploring a different side of my Caribbean culture, one that is not typically featured or discussed. It converges Western wear inspired by the primarily unknown southern Rupununi region of Guyana — a remote savanna grassland made up of sprawling ranches and inhabited by indigenous cowboys where the country's Afro-Caribbean population resides. In MW SS24, these two distinct cultures and aesthetics are merged, creating one beautiful, soulful Calypso sound. Before I started my design process, I dove into historical and cultural research of these two regions and people — both of which are a part of my heritage. I wanted to explore their differences, and their similarities, and then when I started designing I took that understanding to create the aesthetic behind and the details within every piece in the collection.
Cesar: What were some of the key elements you wanted to convey through this collection?
Wilson: Throughout the MW SS24 Collection, I wanted to express these two vastly different regions and cultures, allowing both to be featured individually, but also showing how they can come together in harmony. Because, despite how it's depicted in pop culture, the Caribbean is not one monolithic culture of sandy beaches. There is so much more to the region that is often expressed, and that is what I wanted to convey through this line. So this season, I hand-painted my signature prints throughout in muted, earthy tones with textural accents that hark back to Guyana’s remote savanna grasslands. I paid homage to the country's lush coastal region and “cast net” fishing trade through the development of a garment-dyed cotton netting — a key statement material used throughout the collection. In some pieces, those details live on their own — but in others, they are joined to create one beautiful sound.
Cesar: How did your personal experiences influence the creative direction of this collection?
Wilson: As a first generation Guyanese-American, it's important to story tell and express through the lens of my Caribbean heritage. There is so much rich history throughout the West Indies, so it was exciting to shed light on a side of the West Indies that people don't typically think of or know about. I am Guyanese-American, both of my parents and all of my family were born and raised in Guyana. So I wanted to use this collection to explore that Caribbean history and introduce people to aspects of world culture that they would likely never come across.
Cesar: Can you talk about the materials and fabrics you chose for this collection and why they were important to the overall aesthetic?
Wilson: There are several key materials, fabrics and detail accents that I incorporated into this line to highlight the inspiration. Seashell accents embroidered onto jacquard trucker jackets and strung along hemlines are redolent of Guyana’s historic Shell Beach. Floral-lace motifs that embellish the netting on maxi dresses and 5-pocket pants are reminiscent of the flora often found accompanying a fisherman’s catch. Self-fabric laser cut fringe that adorns western yokes and skirts replicate the blades of coconut trees that canopy the country. The influence of the remarkable Rupununi cowboys can be seen in the collection’s denim capsule. Expressed in both a natural ecru and in a yellow over-dyed wash, it creates a rugged, lived-in feel but with a signature MW spin of color.
Cesar: What techniques or innovative approaches did you include into the design process for this collection?
Wilson: The collection’s tailored assortment of classic suiting references the shape of traditional cowboy holsters and is given a modern update with dimensional, utility-inspired back panel pockets, punchy gold finishes and subtle accents of color. The angles of a classic chap silhouette are completed with a netted hem to enliven a traditional short; paired with a netted-back, cowrie shell-embroidered vest, the set converges both Caribbean cultures and creates a fresh take on conventional western flair.
Cesar: How did sustainability play a role in the development of this particular collection?
Wilson: We always develop very thoughtfully and carefully. Each season, we proceed with one round of samples. Our key fabric is a recycled nylon that we're able to print beautiful artwork on it with digital print ink. And as always, we produce in small batches and offer a made-to-order option so we can control inventory levels and reduce waste.
Cesar: Can you highlight any standout pieces or signature elements from the collection that you are particularly proud of?
Wilson: I love how the floral lace embroidered onto the netting was executed!
Cesar: What do you hope people will feel or experience when they wear your collection and what message do you want to convey in each design?
Wilson: My hope is that people will begin to understand the nuances and beauty of Caribbean countries, and see that we're not just one monolithic culture. There is so much to the Caribbean, so many different cultures and people.