Marissa Montgomery has answered all of our fashion prayers by launching her brand, Rotten Roach, which delivers cool and edgy simple slogan tees to the fashion set which go perfectly with jeans. The London based designer has flourished with everyone from Cara Delevingne to Rosie Fortescue and Kate Moss wearing her art influenced creations. We headed to her Chelsea home to find out more about her business, fashion and her secret passion for acting.
DONNA IDA: Where are you from and where did you grow up?
Marissa: I'm born and raised in London. I lived in NYC for four years after University. My father is from NYC and I grew up spending a lot of time in the states so it also feels like home there.
DONNA IDA: How did you get started in the fashion world?
Marissa: I grew up surrounded by my parents friends who were either photographers, models, stylists and designers, so our house was always a hub of creative energy. My mother had worked at Vogue and my father was a fashion photographer; so it only seemed normal to start creating something. I started an underwear brand when I was still at school and then went to work for Victoria's Secret in NYC. After what seemed like forever in underwear, I wanted to go into outerwear and started up the Rotten Roach brand.
DONNA IDA: What inspired you to start your line?
Marissa: I wanted to start the line because I basically live in T Shirts and liked the idea of making them more than a tee by transforming them into wearable art. That idea started on a trip to Miami Art Basel with my business partner and so each tee features artwork created by amazing artists. Our main artist is the wonderful Hugo Guinness who is insanely talented and I just love his handwriting .
DONNA IDA: What are your tips for taking a great photo?
Marissa: My top tip is always natural light. I shoot lots of my friends in the tees and always prefer outside especially if you don't have a big budget for lights and equipment.
DONNA IDA: Tell us about Fashion Week; what are your show highlights, what are you looking forward to and what are your survival tips?
Marissa: This fashion week was great fun. I love to watch the shows in London. Even though I wasn't in Milan this season, Versace's show was next level with Claudia, Naomi, Carla and all the old school supermodels on the catwalk. I used to do London, Paris and NYC for NYLON TV and would be totally exhausted because it's so much fun. Before Fashion Week I always head to KX Gym to get in a good shape with their Barre Classes. To survive you need to sleep when possible, stay hydrated keep Echinaccea with you as the fashion flu is rife! I also always travel with my FaceGym tool which helps de bloat the face essential! I love a blowout at Neville's they are the best and last for days. A really good moisturiser is key so I love the Blink Rose Water Gel to keep my skin glowy. I always have an adapter and phone charger on hand at all times.
DONNA IDA: What are your wardrobe essentials and how do you wear your jeans?
Marissa: Lots and lots of T Shirts. I love jeans and the variety that's on offer from skinnies to flares, boyfriend jeans and cropped styles. Canadian Tuxedo (denim on top and bottom) is one of my favourite looks and a salute to Neil Young.
DONNA IDA: Why do you think jeans are such an iconic item?
Marissa: Nothing is more chic than blue jeans and a white shirt or T Shirt. I love that denim jeans have stood the test of time as they have been a constant staple in our wardrobe and in our parents and grandparents and so the legacy lives on. There is something reassuring about their strong durable fabric in a world of delicate chiffons!
DONNA IDA: Which are your favourite jeans from our shoot and why?
Marissa: My favourite jeans were the black Sidney Jeans as they are a classic jean that can take you from day to night and look awesome paired back with a T Shirt. They are also the most comfortable jeans as well as being the most flattering.
DONNA IDA: Who is your denim icon?
Marissa: Neil Young.
DONNA IDA: Where in the world are girls best dressed? What kind of style do you admire?
Marissa: Stevie Nicks is my pin-up because I love that California hippie-dippie lady of the canyon look. Italian women also wear colour and print beautifully.
DONNA IDA: Describe your style highs and lows?
Marissa: Every morning when I can't find any of my clothes because my cupboard is so messy that's a low! My style high is when I feel comfortable and confident so it can be in a gown or pyjamas just depends on my mood! I really loved wearing Zac Posen to the Vanity Fair Oscars party.
DONNA IDA: What’s your favourite restaurant?
Marissa: La Famiglia for the best Spaghetti Vongole in town
DONNA IDA: Where’s your ultimate holiday destination?
Marissa: Anywhere with a beach and a book.
DONNA IDA: What is your favourite fashion magazine?
Marissa: Depends on my mood as now we have Instagram I find I look there for clothes and style more than magazines. I still love to buy Vogue and Grazia for inspiration.
DONNA IDA: What advice would you give to a younger you?
Marissa: Don't panic just enjoy yourself and smile more.
DONNA IDA: What’s next?
Marissa: I'm back at drama school while also running Rotten Roach. I am planning some more exciting collaborations with amazing artists for the next collection.