What year will you turn 100? For Maria Pinto, it will be 2057. That future date — and her mother nearing her centennial birthday — became the inspiration for naming her new collection, M2057. An entrepreneur who has never followed convention, Maria took to Kickstarter for the brand’s launch. Six hundred and twenty-seven backers and over $270,000 later, she has customers all over the world who join loyal fans including First Lady Michelle Obama. From the White House Fashion Education Workshop to the Women’s Wear Daily CEO Summit, Maria Pinto is making waves this fall.
You are on a panel at the upcoming WWD Apparel and Retail CEO Summit which is a huge honor. What topic will you be talking about?
I will be on a panel with Yancey Strickler CEO of Kickstarter. The title of the discussion is: “Funding Creativity-A new Model of Innovation”.
What gave you the idea to do a Kickstarter campaign? How did you approach this new opportunity?
I had read about Kickstarter the year before we did our campaign, and thought it was interesting. As I was creating the vision of M2057, the core concept of the brand is fashion meets technology. So it made complete sense to launch with Kickstarter.
To what do you attribute the success of this Kickstarter campaign, which raised more than $274,000?
Reaching out to a wide network of clients and friends getting the word out. Events hosted, much like a trunk show, but it still came down to seeing and touching!
You have been in the business for many years and always maintained your vision without bowing to the trends. Is this challenging?
Not at all. I take what I do quite seriously, and appreciate my customers too much to not respect their investment in my collection. Therefore, the objective in my designs is always to create timelessness with an edge.
Why did you decide to launch M2057 by Maria Pinto?
After working as Creative Director at Mark Shale, I realized I live to design. My experience at Mark Shale, led me to recognize a void in the market for a collection like M2057, which offers core pieces that focus on design integrity, fit and an overall sense of accessibility.
What are the three M2057 pieces every woman has to have in her closet?
The Isabella Dress, NY Skirt, Ali Skirt!
What inspires and excited you about designing?
I love textiles, and I love sculpture, and I am never happier than when I am in front of a mannequin draping and creating new forms.
What are your business and creative mantras?
Don’t sweat the small stuff, and never ever compromise! Oh, and trust your gut!
You’ve dressed First Lady Michelle Obama on several occasions. How did this come about?
We met when President Obama was running for Senate. A client introduced us.
Do you have a favorite FLOTUS x Maria Pinto moment?
Wow! There are so many. My favorite was tuning into the DNC, not knowing she would be wearing my design, and there she was looking stunning.
Who is your next dream client?
I love dressing dynamic, intelligent women. So the list can be quite long!