The story of Madtown Collection

by Anna Radke
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A California-born model, Madison Kaplan, combined her business degree from the University of Southern California with extensive experience in the fashion industry, and became a designer. In January 2015 she launched her own clothing brand – Madtown Collection, and she has already been named one of the top five emerging designers in Los Angeles. Let us tell you the story of Madtown Collection – a story about effortless sophistication and simplicity with sleek silhouettes and whimsical bold colors that many women have fallen in love with.

What inspired you to establish your own brand?

I’ve always been passionate about fashion. I grew up working as a buyer in my parents’ boutique in Fresno. After modeling in New York and Paris for Marchesa, Michael Kors, Akris, DVF, Thakoon, Versace, and Alexander McQueen, I decided to combine my entrepreneurial skills and knowledge about fashion. That is how Madtown Collection was born.

How being a model helped you in founding your own business?

Working behind the scenes inspired me to establish my own line. I’ve worked with many photographers, designers, and buyers and I have been closely observing. Working as a model provided many insights into this business.

What was the biggest challenge you’ve encountered while building your company?

There were so many! I wanted to create something different – lasting and quality designer looks that are not at crazy designer prices. My goal was to design practical pieces – pieces that women keep in their closets and love to keep wearing in different ways. It is important to me that my designs are functional as well.  The crop tops can be worn with a bra, reversed back to front, and have separating zippers so you can get into them without your makeup ending up all over.  A dress with an open back has a hook and eye so if a girl would rather wear it with a bra and not show as much skin, she can.  A skirt with a tie waist can be worn at her waist with a crop top, or lower on the hip for versatility. Those are small, but very important things. I wanted to offer great dresses that are an alternative to high-end designers. Not everyone can, or wants to, or needs to spend that much for beautiful clothing. Madtown Collection consists of timeless pieces that transition seamlessly from day to night out of one of the most luxurious and iconic fabrics: silk.

Who would you say is the target market of Madtown Collection?

While I was designing the line I envisioned my friends who work in magazines in NYC, entertainment in LA, are super fashionable, have lots of events to attend, travel frequently and love to always look amazing. We’ve had customers ranging from 12 to over 60 years old. I am happy to say Madtown is a versatile and feminine collection. Our client is a woman who has a lot going on in her life. She loves minimal but sophisticated pieces that will distinguish her from the crowd.

You currently sell the dresses online. Are you planning to move to stationary stores as well?

Online shopping is amazing for its ease and opportunity for women to find new and unique things. However, I think that the traditional shopping experience is something that can’t be replaced. Customers want to feel the fabric, and try it on.  And nothing beats having a sales person who knows what looks best on you and can encourage you to try new styles and expose you to new designers. That’s why I’m already selling some of the pieces from the collection at my parents’ boutique in California with great success.  People are loving it! Our next phase is to introduce the brand in New York.

Madtown Collection is all about dresses. Do you plan to expand the brand?

Absolutely. In the beginning I thought I’d just do one thing right. Madtown started as a small collection, but next season there will be lots more great stuff.

The manufacturing process takes place in Los Angeles. Have you been thinking about outsourcing?

Not really. I support the domestic garment industry. We must import our silk from Asia, but I believe in supporting the local labor market and economy.  Los Angeles is a strong fashion capital.  There are very cool things happening in the downtown LA fashion and arts districts. It’s exciting!