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Founder of Marfa Stance

88/ The Pioneer: Georgia Dant on Marfa Stance & The Gee’s Bend Collaboration

For this week's Pioneer journal we're speaking with Georgia Dant, founder of British fashion brand Marfa Stance. The brand’s beginnings are deeply rooted in art and creativity, as Georgia solidified her business idea upon seeing Donald Judd’s geometric and multifunctional desk during a trip to his studio in Marfa, Texas.

Georgia describes Marfa Stance’s core values as being “Creativity, community, resourcefulness, and social and environmental responsibility”, traits that also represent their latest partnership with the traditional artisanal community of Gee’s Bend quiltmakers.

Through this collaboration, Marfa Stance shines a light on the work of this talented community, creating expressive practical works of art with surplus materials.

We invite you to read as Georgia describes the joys of this unique project, the importance of supporting these makers and business owners, and the beginnings of Marfa Stance.

 
 
 
 

Can you tell us a bit about you and how you started Marfa Stance?

I had worked in the industry designing for other fashion houses for around 15 years in London and New York prior to launching Marfa Stance in 2019. I travelled a lot across climates and environments in my last few years living in the USA, and I was frustrated that I couldn’t find women's clothing that combined both style and function for my trips. Also, I had the equally frustrating problem of packing too many items to accommodate different weather patterns and to satisfy attending different occasions – particularly on long trips. 

I came up with the idea mid-air during one of my trips to create a garment that could be adapted, reversed, converted, and built to suit endless needs – both for function and for style. I also started playing with the idea of personalisation and creativity within this concept, through attachments – collars, hoods, sleeves, etc and wanted to enable a playful and expressive element to the idea, which could enable endless updates to a garment and therefore allow me to pack less. Simultaneously the idea of renewability and creating a brand with social and environmental responsibility became so important to me.

The idea continued to develop in my mind between 2014-2015, and then in 2016 I took a trip to Marfa in Texas and this is when the idea fully crystalised. I stood in Donald Judd's architecture studio and studied a desk that had an understated, reductive, and geometric aesthetic but with a multifunctional and intelligent design to efficiently maximise storage. At that moment, I visualised the products I wanted to launch the brand with.

 
 

 

What are Marfa Stance’s core values?

Creativity, community, resourcefulness, and social and environmental responsibility.

Can you tell us a bit about Gee’s bend and how the collaboration with them came about? 

I have been inspired by the quilters' work since I discovered them early on in my career. I loved their modern, distinctive, and geometric aesthetic and I loved that they created pieces that were crafted for function but created with such artistry and expressive beauty. I also love the creativity and resourcefulness of reclamation and loved that their blankets were made from scraps and old materials (along with all the artists from the Souls Grown Deep movement).

When I launched the brand I wanted to create a brand with values alongside beautiful products. The word Marfa represents creativity and community and Stance symbolises our social and environmental responsibility. In this way, we partner with many non-profit organisations to support causes around the world. One of which is an organisation called Build A Nest, who are instrumental in helping artisanal communities monetise their craft to thrive. They had just started working with the quilters and when I learned about this, I jumped at the chance to form our partnership and begin our first-ever collaboration.

 
 
 
 

Why do you think it’s important to introduce the art of the Gee’s Bend women to a wider audience?

It's so important to celebrate historical and traditional artisanal communities such as the quilters to shine a light on their work and their craft in a meaningful way to keep it alive. The quilters of the Gee's Bend have been such an important part of US art and cultural history, and despite the global reverence from the art world, they have not always been rewarded financially. We wanted to use our platform to collaborate and through our partnership create ongoing relevant, modern works which provide revenue streams for the quilters to be business owners able to continue their work, passing on to the next generation.

 
 

 

What’s been the most rewarding/exciting part of the design process?

For me, solving problems and creating solutions is my favourite part of any design process; it always starts with a question and hopefully, the product provides an answer. I love designing for a purpose, i.e. how can I fuse style and function in one garment and I love how the quilters have the same view; the blankets are firstly made for function, but the quilters' innate creativity is to make them with such distinctive beauty.

I also love the idea of using surplus materials and how leftover materials can be combined to create something new from something old. Working with the quilters in this way, it has been exciting to become tighter with aligned values and processes, it has been an organic process and full of amazing creative surprises.

 
 
 
 

What do you hope people take away from this collaboration?

I hope they see the fusion of both art and function, perfect and imperfection, reclamation and transformation in modern interpretations and contexts of a tradition. I also hope that people are inspired to support craft, artisanal communities, artists, and/or small businesses to keep these communities and works alive and thriving.

 
 
 
 

What’s next for Marfa Stance?

Lots of exciting things! We have some new collaborations to reveal later this year, a potential store opening at the end of the year, many pop-ups around the world, and of course some beautiful new Marfa Stance additions coming very soon.

 
 
 
 

QUICKFIRE ROUND

Favourite textile artist? I have 2! Annie Albers and the Quilters of the Gee’s Bend

Must-see exhibition? Souls Grown Deep like the Rivers - Black artists from the American South exhibition at the Royal Academy

Can’t live without? Creativity

Favourite place? Greece - my spiritual and creative sanctuary

Your muse? Our brand ambassadors and customers are my muses. I love that our customers have such diversity of age, background, industry, gender, sexuality and ethnicity and that Marfa Stance brings everyone together with a common interest, passion, appreciation, and mindset for the values we stand for and the concept and aesthetic we offer through our design practice

 
 
 
 

FOLLOW GEORGIA & MARFA STANCE

@marfastance
m
arfastance.com
@geesbendquiltmakers

Marfa Stance and The Quiltmakers of Gee's Bend at The Royal Academy
:
Marfa Stance x Gee's Bend - The full collaboration and new collection of artworks can be viewed online, as well as in person at the Royal Academy. The seven reversible quilts will be on view in The Academicians’ Room in The Keeper’s House, Burlington House, and the five framed quilts and three wearable art pieces will be in the Burlington Gardens Shop. Until 14th August 2023.

Photography credit Stcacy K Allen



Georgia Dant's Curation

  • Desert Road
    7485423

    I’m immediately transported back to a very special trip to Marfa, Texas. The place I decided to make the leap and start my brand and of course where one half of the name comes from. It represents the inspiration, creativity and heart of the brand.

    Vendor
    Matt Ritson
    Regular price
    £80.00
    Sale price
    £80.00
    Unit price
    per 
  • Linear Motion Sold
    Linear Motion | Terence Finch | Original Artwork | Partnership Editions

    I love the geometric yet abstract feel and the composition of colours feel very Marfa Stance!

    Vendor
    Terence Finch
    Regular price
    Sold
    Sale price
    £1,100.00
    Unit price
    per 
  • Cornwall 2020
    Cornwall 2020 | Lily Bertrand-Webb | Photography | Partnership Editions

    I am lucky enough to know the incredible Lily as she is one of our Marfa Muses. This image takes me back to the first ever campaign shoot we shot on location back in 2021. It was a magical day on the Cornish cliffs and one of the hottest days of the year!

    Regular price
    £1,800.00
    Sale price
    £1,800.00
    Unit price
    per 
  • Into the Dark
    Into the Dark | David Hardy | Original Artwork | Partnership Editions

    This reminds me of Richard Serra’s series of drawings, I'm a big fan.

    Vendor
    David Hardy
    Regular price
    £260.00
    Sale price
    £260.00
    Unit price
    per 
  • Paul 03 Sold
    Paul 03

    I was firstly drawn to the bright quilting design and then upon reading more about Catherine-Marie’s inspirations we are very aligned! Albers, Rothko and of course the Quilters of Gee’s Bend.

    Regular price
    Sold
    Sale price
    £440.00
    Unit price
    per 

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