Life is Long: A Conversation with Young Fashion Visionary MollyKate Cline
MollyKate Cline on fashion, sustainability and what drives her
At only 20 years old, MollyKate Cline has her own eco-friendly clothing business and has graced the emerging designer list at fashion week in several major cities.
She gave Hope for Women some insight on mental health, owning a business and what motivates her. Read on to find out more about the glowing message she has to offer the world.
Hope for Women: What was your first big break into fashion?
MollyKate Cline: My first year of fashion college in 2017 was a very transformative time. I went into college excited to finally focus on my craft, and it was quickly noticed. Within months, I won a national fashion design competition and had the chance to showcase at fashion week in Miami, D.C. and Los Angeles. The school year ended with me finding out I was invited to New York Fashion Week!
HFW: Who or what has contributed most to your overall style or artistic vision?
MKC: Throughout high school, I spent some time in Paris where I went to class and lived with a host family. The natural beauty of France was a nice juxtaposition against urban America, and I thank my time in Paris for evolving my design aesthetic and inspiring me daily.
HFW: What has been the driving force behind your choice to use natural/ biodegradable materials? And where do you acquire your materials?
MKC: Definitely my faith. I believe God gave me the ability to create clothing so I could make the world a more beautiful place, and I don’t think I can glorify this earth if I’m harming it at the same time. It’s all about protecting the planet God created for us.
I try to use recycled fabric as much as possible. (I saw someone wheeling garbage bins of fabric to a dumpster once and stopped them immediately to rescue it!) When I do purchase fabric, I make sure it’s sourced here in the US and made out of 100% natural fibers.
HFW: I love that you showed an Empower Women collection at LA fashion week. Can you tell us a bit about your inspiration for this and what it consisted of?
MKC: My Empower Women collection was definitely a political statement and my reaction to the women’s march that happened a few months prior. I was inspired by all the women coming together for rallies, and I thought, “Let’s bring this to the runway!” The result was a ready-to-wear collection with a black and pink color palette, hand-painted feminist quotes, and a whole bunch of beautiful women marching down the runway to Beyoncé’s “Run the World.”
HFW: In addition to sustainable clothing, what are other day-to-day steps women/ people in general can take to be more eco-friendly—big or small?
MKC: Great steps to being eco-friendlier are shopping secondhand, whether it be antiquing for furniture pieces or finding a resale store for a ‘new’ bike. Also, replacing everyday items like K Cups or plastic straws with washable ones. Overall, just having a more modest consumerism mindset and being selective with what you own and purchase will help environmentally—as well as contribute to greater mental health. I know having excess is a huge stressor for me!
HFW: You are a mental health advocate as well. What advice would you like to give someone facing issues like suicide, depression or other mental illness?
MKC: My mom told me once that life is long, and it’s stuck with me because it’s so true. It really is. I know we always hear people say, ‘Life is short!’ I don’t like to say life is short because it can induce stress or put pressure on us to achieve all the things. I like to remind others that life is long, meaning you might be hurting today and even tomorrow, but you won’t be hurting forever. I encourage others in a dark place to try to imagine life in the long-term. There is nothing today that will quantify giving up your tomorrow. Make no rash decision today. Life is long, and it always gets better.
HFW: How have your battles in life helped you get to where you are now—both professionally and as a woman?
MKC: Losing my father at such a young age has instilled a fire in me that will never burn out. It has made me so motivated, driven and determined to live a full life and achieve my dreams. Living for my dad will always be the driving force in my life. This drive has given me confidence and has helped me tackle my career head-on at a young age, and there’s been no looking back.
HFW: What advice would you give to other aspiring young designers, artists, entrepreneurs, etc.?
MKC: Done is better than perfect. If you wait until your art, product, website, packaging, etc. is 100% how you want it before you release it out into the world, you never will. Share your work now, and you’ll figure out the rest as you go. Now’s the time; today’s the day. You can do this!
MollyKate Cline is an Ohio-based fashion designer and currently one of 10 in Phoenix Fashion Week’s Emerging Designer Bootcamp. From there, she will be working on her senior collection and graduating in May 2020. Following graduation, Cline hopes to design for a clothing company while still growing her business. Her goal is to one day work on her own fashion business full-time and travel often!