Artist Spotlight: Maddie Kulig
This week we caught up with Philadelphia-based lingerie designer & sewist, Maddie Kulig. Maddie is the founder of Madalynne Intimates, a brand known for its stunning, size inclusive bralettes, panties, & bodysuits. This Saturday we'll be hosting a pop-up with Madalynne Intimates where you can shop their latest spring collection in-person, learn more here!
Can you introduce yourself for us - who you are, where you’re from, what you do
My name is Maddie Kulig and I am the owner of Madalynne Intimates. We are a lingerie brand for a new generation. We offer DIY lingerie kits, online bra making tutorials, bra making workshops and lingerie sewing patterns. Our bra making workshops have been hosted as far away as London and regularly sell out. For people who can’t sew, Madalynne offers ready made lingerie, which Ritual carries, that is hand-crafted by a small team of sewists out of our Brewerytown studio. We also wholesale our DIY kits to 8 sew shops around the world (US, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden) and ready made lingerie to 8 boutiques around the country.
What's your zodiac sign?
How did you get your start in your field of design?
I learned to sew at the age of 18 - I discovered my mom’s sewing machine in her linen closet shortly after she passed away from breast cancer. I took it to my local tailor and one lesson turned into a two year apprenticeship at a tailor who once worked for Christian Dior.
At the age of 21, I landed my dream job. I applied for a summer internship at URBN (parent brand for Anthropologie, BHLDN, Free People, Terrain, Urban Outfitters) in technical design. Only intending to stay for 10 weeks, I ended up staying 7.5 years. It was during my stint in technical designer for sweaters, knits and intimates that I discovered DIY lingerie. I gave myself a challenge to make a bra - the best designers know how to make their products, I thought. Sewing that first bra, I found my calling. Hungry to learn more, I continued to make more bras, then panties, then bodysuits, and so on. I would post about my me-mades on social media and share my tips, tricks, patterns, etc. When people started asking me to teach lingerie, I began hosting 1 day intensive bra making workshops.
Standing in line to get coffee one day, I was approached by an executive of Urban Outfitters, who expressed how she loved that I was making her own lingerie in a fast fashion world. In the summer and fall of 2016, Urban Outfitters launched 2 exclusive Madalynne collections in 50 stores and online. That same summer, Simplicity Patterns launched the first two Madalynne patterns, #S8229 and #S8229 (I still create patterns for Simplicity seasonally).
In August 2016, I put my big girl panties on and left my 9-5 job at URBN to took my business full time. Since then, Madalynne has grown into a lingerie brand for a new generation. WE combine an attention to sewing and fit with exclusive fabrics to create customized me-made and ready made lingerie for all sizes, races, genders, and styles. We are the only brand offering lingerie you can buy ready made or sew yourself.
How and where do you find inspiration?
Yes, I find inspiration from Pinterest, Instagram, magazines, etc., but what inspires me the most are the people I teach and fit. Lingerie is more than just fabric. It’s the closest thing you wear to your heart, and it can make you stand taller and feel more confident. It is the ultimate form of self care. To take a bit of lace, elastic, and an underwire and turn it into something that shapes and supports your body is close to miraculous. Being able to offer lingerie for all people - which most often is people who until coming to Madalynne have struggled to find lingerie that fits them - inspires me the most.
What’s your favorite part about the design process?
I enjoy the whole journey - from sourcing fabrics, to creating the pattern, fit testing, coming up with kits, releasing a new style. I enjoyed every part from start to finish.
Who are some other artists/designers/brands you look up to?
Angela Monaco, of course. She was the first boutique to carry Madalynne back when the shop was in Fishtown. Other than that, L.Priori (Philly), Interwoven (Asbury Park), Hidden Intimates (online only), and Expect Lace (Manayunk). All are female-owned shops that are forging their own path in their industries.
Any words of wisdom for fellow makers or peers looking to get their business off the ground?
Keep going. Most people don't know that I've been doing Madalynne for 16 years. First as a hobby, then as a side hustle, and now as my full time gig. I was bad for 10 years before I was good. It took me a long time to get where I am now and our success was not over night. There have been ups, but lots of downs. I've had set backs, disappointments, and failures, but what I've never done is give up. Show up and give your A game every day.
What is a dream project/goal for you?
I'm living my dream now ;)
WHAT’S YOUR RITUAL? What are some of your most important self-care rituals?
I exercise every morning. My days are hectic and long, but I devote 1-2 hours to myself every morning since I was eighteen. I've only missed a few days.
Your top 3 ritual shoppe product picks...