Blog Post for CtoureLife Mae Couture: The Modern Woman’s Battle Gear By Ashley Hizer She’s always introduced by her first name, but the story of her budding brand begins with her middle. Twenty-five-year-old designer Caroline Mae Heidenreich has always shared three letters, and a fondness for dresses, with her great grandmother Mae. Although they never met, Mae left behind a legacy as a dress shop owner in Tallahassee. And so sparked within Heidenreich the passion that would later become Mae Couture. After relocating from the Sunshine State to Georgia to attend the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), Heidenreich began her journey in fashion, including experimenting with textures and fabrics. She landed a coveted Style Lab mentorship with celebrated New York designer Yigal Azrouël, whose encouraging words reshaped her design ideology. One day when unassumingly browsing a military surplus store, she unearthed mosquito netting for $15. For Heidenreich this was a fitting homage to her roots as her great grandfather and brother (and now roommate) were both in the military. “I’ve always had the military influence and been intrigued by it,” she said. Ironically, her first gown crafted from this material became the very masterpiece that would be splashed on the cover of Sally CongdonMartin’s book, Emerging Fashion Designers I, and showcased --and purchased that evening-- at Vogue’s Neiman Marcus Fashion’s Night Out in 2009. Since graduating from SCAD in 2009, Heidenreich has managed to create a successful line from re-purposed international vintage military parachutes and collaborated with other designers on side projects. Besides beautifully handcrafting everything from avant-garde runway looks to ready-to-wear designs, Heidenreich has built a sustainable brand. “I want to be a positive person in society,” said the designer. “Getting into fashion I had this lifechanging revelation of what am I doing with my life? How can I do something that actually means something?” And her eco-friendly work has meant something, specifically to distinguished retailer Jeffrey Kalinsky, who awarded her with the New Talent Award at Fashion Cares 2009. This and the other accolades she’s achieved at such a young age could be due to her understanding of the perfect blend of feminine and military-inspired edge. Heidenreich, who is now based in Atlanta, describes Mae Couture as silhouette-flattering cuts and pieces, but with materials that offer subtle rowdiness. This blossoming artist hopes to continue to deliver to strong, independent women by debuting her online boutique this spring and expanding her presence in boutiques such as local force Bill Hallman. Visit Mae Couture online at www.maecouture.com.