We tend to only congratulate others during special occasions such as graduations and weddings. The significant life events certainly deserve the applauding, but what about the day-to-day small victories and milestones we accomplish?
These seemingly lesser occurrences may actually carry far more weight than we are commonly accustomed to but simply overlooked. That’s why Maggie Wu, founder of lifestyle brand Maggie Wu Studio, strives to encourage women to celebrate all triumphs and moments, big and small. In fact, Maggie Wu Studio’s brand message is all about inspiring you to celebrate you!
In all honesty, however, even Maggie herself didn’t notice the message she was sending out initially.
As seen on major media outlets including VOGUE.com and Forbes, Maggie Wu Studio started out as a bridal hair accessories brand in 2017. Maggie was planning her own wedding and had trouble finding elegant hairpieces that she liked. So she went ahead and made her own that embodied a well-balanced mix of Eastern and Western flairs. Most of her all-time best-selling bridal accessories are modern designs inspired by branches seen in Chinese paintings.
Maggie rebranded Maggie Wu Studio a year later when she started feeling uncomfortable to suggest the idea that only brides are worth being celebrated. So in addition to the bridal accessories, Maggie introduced a collection of ivory silk pieces that are designed to be worn anytime, anywhere: at home, on the big day, on vacation, etc. A few months ago, she expanded the collection by adding red and champagne silk pieces, too. Readers of MW Stories, the brand’s blog site, can find multiple how-to-style posts providing outfit inspirations.
With the intention to use sustainable materials, Maggie went for silk, a natural fiber. But she also went for silk because it is soft to touch and comfortable to wear.
“I want to remind women that we should all be ‘comfortable’ with who we are. So naturally, I thought, the clothing I offer must be very ‘comfortable’ to wear, and there really isn’t any other material softer than silk that is equally refined and elegant,” said Maggie.
As a third culture kid who grew up between Canada, Taiwan, and the U.S., Maggie has witnessed the modern-day “superwomen” playing multiple roles and taking on multiple responsibilities on a daily basis.
“It doesn’t matter where the person is from or where they live – often times, women simply do not give themselves enough credit for what they have achieved,” Maggie told The Nuwa team, “and that’s why I create products and gift sets that underlines the concept of self-care.”
The concept of self-care is not new, but till this day, it is still not commonly practiced nor widely talked-about, especially in the Asian culture. Some of the brand’s thoughtfully-curated sets, such as the popular Celebrate You Self-care Set and Headstart Beauty Ritual Set, for instance, is her attempt at promoting self-love and the notion of women taking care of themselves.
The Nuwa team sat down to speak to Maggie to further explore her journey. Read on to learn more:
What makes your silk pieces different from others?
Each item is designed to capture a sense of joy and light with thoughtful details in mind — from the adjustable straps of the dresses, to how the robe can be tied and turned into a shirt – allowing the woman who wears it to feel and be in the best version of herself. There are subtle details that I hope to surprise and delight the customer as she puts on each piece.
I have also created special Curated Sets, that combine a few of my different items for various different occasions. These pieces are really meant to create a timeless capsule wardrobe that will allow you to create many different looks with your existing pieces.
How do you think your cultural background has influenced your designs? Do you think your brand has a cultural identity?
It definitely has an influence on my designs and my brand. I’ve moved around a lot all my life, mostly between North America and Asia. My identity is not defined by one or the other, but rather a mix of East and West. Since my brand and my designs are extensions of me and my life experiences, my cultural background and identity are instilled in them.
This became particularly clear when I moved from New York to Asia a year and a half ago. It saddened me tremendously to see how in the pursuit of modernization, many people in the region have chased after westernization and forsaken the beauty of their own heritage. As I moved across the region from Taipei to Singapore and Hong Kong, I have witnessed traditional crafts being viewed as outdated and often forgotten, historical buildings being torn down and replaced by modern skyscrapers, and young women seeking to replace their Asian features with western ideals of beauty.
At the same time, I found beauty in hidden places – from the Cantonese opera performed in an ancient alleyway of Guangzhou to tea ceremonies held at secluded salons hidden away from the busy streets of Taipei. I wanted to capture the beauty in the often forgotten crafts of her heritage into my work, but with a fresh modern take. Not just in my designs, but also down to the materials I use and the creative direction of my photoshoots. Heritage should be treasured and tradition can be modern and beautiful when you interpret it in your own way.
In what way do you think your brand speaks the “global” language?
It speaks a global language because “encouragement” and “celebrations” are not something that requires translation, just like how a smile is universal.
My brand aims to encourage women to be true to themselves and to celebrate themselves no matter where they are in life. It resonates with women from anywhere.
Additionally, by incorporating my own interpretation of western and eastern influences in my designs, it appeals to a large Asian community from around the world; a lot of our customers are of Asian descent from the U.S. and Australia.
Which piece from our silk collection is your favorite and why?
This is a very difficult question! Every time I think I have a favorite in mind, it always changes again. I would say my current favorite piece is the Pura Midi Slip. I am wearing it right now, sitting on my sofa, as we speak. It is just so comfortable, yet it makes me feel so elegant and put together even when I am alone at home — it is just a special moment completely dedicated to myself.
Anything else you’d like to tell us about your brand?
I hope my brand will be more than just about selling products. I want to be able to send a positive message to the world, especially to women. We as women tend to feel that we are not good enough or not doing enough, and tend to always think about taking care of others before we think about taking care of ourselves. I hope to inspire women to remember to love themselves, take care of themselves, and celebrate themselves, just as the way they are. I hope this idea will come through not just from my products but from curated content in our blog featuring many inspiring women from around the world as well.
Prior to launching her namesake label, Maggie worked behind the scenes at Prada and Carolina Herrara. She is currently based in Hong Kong and travels around the globe to source inspiration for her designs.