(Courtesy The Daily Herald)
PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten – Maza Rombley is a local fashion designer, who focuses on full-figured and curvy women, using vibrant and colourful designs. After meeting with a prospective client, she will design something a bit more unusual than most, but these designs are still very wearable. Rombley likes to use fabrics she shops for in the States and Trinidad. Rombley was one of the designers who showed her work at the Breast Cancer Fashion Show in Princess Casino.
Where were you born and when did you come to St. Maarten to live?
I was born in Leiden, the Netherlands, and came to St. Maarten to live in 1979.
Where did you go to school and was it at school that you first became interested in fashion design?
I attended M.P.C. for two years and then transferred to Sundial High school. Around the age of 14, I started taking my jeans and making holes in them by hand. I would then sew on patches or bleach it. I would always dress differently and never wanted to follow what was in style; I wanted to be different. I started collecting Right On magazines to check out the latest styles and hairstyles and see who the latest artists were. I still collect fashion magazines so I can stay in touch with all the latest fashion trends around the world.
You recently opened a store on Walter Nesbit Road, tell us about it.
I opened Majaka Boutique on December 17, 2009. The name was given to me by my father when I was 16 (he has no recollection of this.) The name is taken from the first two letters in my name and the first two letters from my siblings names. Majaka Boutique is for the trendy Fashionista who likes colourful clothing. We cater to women of all shapes and sizes. We sell accessories and handmade accessories, our prices are affordable and the warm feeling in the store makes you feel right at home in your closet. In the near future, “Diva In Me” designs will also be in the store.
Does one only buy off-the-peg in your store or do you design and make to order?
You can buy from the rack or ask that I design something special for you.
Who do you design for?
I design clothing for all women in all shapes and sizes. (Not for children or men; perhaps in the future).
What gives you inspiration for your designs?
Ideas pop into my head and I turn these ideas into designs.
Tells us about the fabrics you like to work with and where you get them from.
I like to work with cotton, nylon, jersey, silk, etc. I love colourful fabric, animal prints, and metallic fabric. I order from online. I find fabric in the stores here and when I go to New York. There’s a lady that I know in Trinidad who sends me samples to pick and choose what I would like to have.
Once designed, who sews your pieces up for you?
Usually I do a lot by hand, but when the work load is too much, Digna, a lovely seamstress, helps me out.
Have you shown your work anywhere?
Yes, my first show was the Stile Diva show in 2008, then the Aids show in 2009; my designs were shown at the Breast Cancer Show at Princess Casino this month (October 2010).
What big plans do you have for the future?
My future plans would be to make “Diva In Me” designs a household name and for my designs to be on runways around the world. I’d like to expand my store to other Caribbean islands and open more stores on St. Maarten. I am looking at launching my party planning “Creative Style” (which is in operation already) and have a Foundation for the youths to express themselves through their talents. I will also continue helping people in need.
Which fashion designer do you most admire?
There are a lot of fashion designers I admire. One I found recently is Rachel Roy, I love her designs. They are colourful, animal prints, sexy, feminine and exotic, which describe my style of dressing.
Choose two people you would love to invite over for dinner and what would you serve them?
My favourite fashion model is Tyra Banks. She shows that she is not just a model but an entrepreneur as well. She has her own talk show, her own foundation for girls called TZONE Foundation and America’s Next Top Model TV show. She is a strong, black woman who never allows any negative publicity to spoil her dreams. She just keeps pursuing her happiness.
I would also invite Kaisha Peters who is a well known local designer. Not only is she a creative and gifted designer, she is also always there to give tips and advice on the fashion industry. (She has designed clothes for me and everything she designed fit perfectly without her taking measurements.)
I would serve both of them fish soup, provision and fungi, salad and roti. These are my favourite foods and I can make a great fish soup…ahhahahaha!
Maza, helping the youth and those in need are not at the top of many folks’ lists but they are on your list and as the saying goes, “What goes around, comes around.” With your “joie de vivre” and drive for fun and perfection, you will most definitely achieve your dreams.
Maza’s Boutique is on Walter Nisbeth Road.