I first discovered Magali Pascal’s eponymous brand in 2015, on a trip to Bali. In a sea of casual swim and resort wear, Magali’s beautiful boutiques stood apart, with their minimalist aesthetic, Parisian sensibility and laid-back, island vibe. I’ve been a loyal follower and wearer ever since and I am so excited to share a bit of the French-born founder and creative director’s story—how she found her way from Paris to the heavenly beaches of Bali, how sustainability is intrinsically and purposefully woven throughout the fabric of the brand, and how living on the Island of Gods’ inspires her creatively.
Tell us about the inspiration behind the Magali Pascal brand; how did it all begin?
I moved to Bali on a whim after visiting the island during my gap year after completing my university studies—When I landed here I had an immediate connection to the island. The brand started off as a small capsule in 2005 that was sold exclusively in a small boutique on the island. By mid-2006 I had opened my own boutique, bringing my Parisian flare to resort style pieces. I think the island was craving dressier pieces and my designs fit the mould.
Since 2006 the brand, the team and I have all evolved and now our collections follow the international seasons, complete with outerwear and knits.
How does living and working in Bali inspire you creatively?
Bali inspires me in so many different ways. Living on an island is definitely a change of pace from the Parisian lifestyle I was used. In Bali, I take things as they come and accept that creativity and inspiration comes in waves. Luckily I am surrounded by so many creatives and entrepreneurs that the waves come often!
There’s also an element of my island lifestyle in my collections, as I like to design clothes that I can wear whether I am in Bali or Paris. So my collections usually have a selection of resort-style pieces, crafted from cotton or linen.
What does operating a purpose-driven and ethical business mean to you?
The brand I have now is a result of many years of hard work, building a team that works well together and supports me in bringing my creations to life. So to have this business, knowing that my team feels supported and empowered in their roles, from factory staff to head office, is hugely fulfilling. I’m very lucky.
How is sustainability woven throughout the Magali Pascal brand?
Since starting the brand, sustainability has happened organically as we always focused on high quality garments produced in small quantities by a team of local artisans that I knew personally. Since this was part of the brand from the beginning, it was really easy to continue working this way, rather than having to make drastic changes to our core values. But of course, as time goes on, the more we learn and the more we can see that we need to improve on. We have worked hard to make the right choices, working with natural fibres—certified where possible—eliminating single use plastic from our production cycle and working on projects that help support and empower our local community. It’s an important part of the brand and our team.
“We have worked hard to make the right choices, working with natural fibres—certified where possible—eliminating single use plastic from our production cycle and working on projects that help support and empower our local community. It’s an important part of the brand and our team.”
What are you most proud of?
In terms of business, opening my first boutique in Sydney, Australia was a huge achievement as I felt that I had grown the brand to have international recognition at that point. Personally, I am most proud of my family and the life I have created here in Bali with them.
When are you most creative?
After a good night’s sleep! I’m an early riser and feel most creative first thing in the morning or after exercising.
Who and what inspires you?
I used to get inspiration from my travels however I’ve had to adapt due to the current world situation and it has been a real challenge. I get inspired by the world that surrounds me. From my vintage “founds” collection at home, my art books library or my favourite online blogs.
I am inspired by women, whether they’re my friends, or my muses, looking for the right balance between feminine and masculine looks to create a modern and wearable wardrobe. I love craftsmanship and attention to detail.
Go-to Spotify playlist when you need to get into a creative flow.
Hot water with lemon first thing in the morning when I wake up. And I always try and exercise at home before work.
Describe your go-to / everyday uniform.
It depends where I am, but I will always embrace the French nonchalant approach to fashion. Less is more! In Bali my go-to is a high-waisted pair of denim shorts with an oversized or relaxed fitting blouse, like the Giselle Top from my new collection. The lace details elevate the look and means I can easily transition the look from day to night with a few accessories.
In Paris, I’ll often wear a pair of high waist dark denim jeans with heeled boots and a classic white blouse on warmer days. On cooler days I’ll pair the look with a chic, plain turtleneck. And of course I will always wear red lipstick!
Describe your perfect Sunday.
A slow morning at home with the twins, followed by a tea at our local café by the beach. We are so lucky to live in a small village where the beach and our favourite coffee shop are within walking distance. I’ll usually visit the organic market to pick up food and we’ll spend the afternoon at home with friends enjoying a BBQ.
“Travel has taught me almost everything I know! It’s taught me to be kind and to be patient. I’ve learned about cultures, and I’ve learned about myself. Travel truly has been my biggest educator and my biggest source of inspiration.”
Where are you dreaming of traveling when the world opens up again?
First things first, I will head back to France to see my friends and family. It has been over a year now since I have been “home”, so I really can’t wait to get back. I am also looking forward to visiting the US again once things calm down, especially LA, as I love the vintage markets there. They are a great source of inspiration.
What has travel taught you?
Travel has taught me almost everything I know! It’s taught me to be kind and to be patient. I’ve learned about cultures, and I’ve learned about myself. Travel really has been my biggest educator and my biggest source of inspiration.
How will you travel a little lighter and more consciously in future?
I think I am a fairly conscious traveller, however when I am able to fly again I will definitely recognize how lucky I am to be able to visit new places and travel the world again. It’s something I took for granted before. Of course, from an environmental point of view I always try and carbon offset my flights when possible.
What advice would you give to young women trying to build a purpose-driven, conscious brand from the ground up?
Keep going! There will be lots of set-backs, but it’s worth pushing through. Always remember why you’ve chosen to build your brand/business this way, because there are much easier solutions out there but they might not align with your values.
Philosophy to live by
Slow fashion, slow life. Make conscious choices, and challenge yourself daily to continue to grow.
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