Marshall Columbia on Launching Menswear and His Biggest Plush Bag Yet

Marshall Columbia on Launching Menswear and His Biggest Plush Bag Yet

A lot has changed for Marshall Columbia since he first launched his namesake label at the beginning pandemic, where he was making everything on the floor of his Brooklyn apartment. Not only is he still dressing stars like Charli XCX, Hunter Schafer and Coi Leray, but the retailer SSENSE now stocks his clothes, which has been key to the brand's growth.

He also got to create custom looks for all of Dua Lipa's backup dancers for a portion of her Nostalgia tour. "Seeing it all come to life onstage and knowing that I worked on the same project as some of my design idols like Donatella Versace, Demna and Casey Cadwallader was a total out of body experience," he tells PAPER.

He recently launched Collection 3, where he's introducing core pieces in new colors, a menswear capsule, footwear and a new bag silhouette. Like his first two collections, childhood memories and nostalgia are big influences this time around. Where in past seasons he explored things '90s arts & crafts, his reference point for this collection was the neighborhood skatepark he and his friends would frequent.

"When I was a kid growing up in the suburbs outside of Denver it’s where I spent so much time with my friends if we weren’t watching skate videos on YouTube or playing Tony Hawk’s underground," he says. "But as I started to figure out who I was as a queer person, I realized it wasn’t the safest space for me to be myself. There was a lot of homophobia and misogyny in skate culture at that time."

Grappling with the mixed emotions, Columbia sought to reinterpret what the skate park would have looked like if it was inclusive and welcoming for him when he was a kid. This was evident most in the menswear offering, his first for the brand, and as his brand evolve, he wants to continue taking it in a more unisex direction.

His signature neon beaded plush bags have evolved, too, thanks to an oversized version after introducing a mini style last year. A staple for the brand, he'll be expanding the bag range even more this year.

"I have always had a hard time finding clothes that represent me and felt like this would be the perfect way to explore my own personal style as well," he says. "I kept it sexy and mixed a lot of masculine and feminine elements into this collection and we created a wide range of sizes to fit men’s and women’s sizing. I really wanted this to be wearable for all genders and a wide range of sizes."

Photography: Oscar Ouk