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When Janis Joplin took to the stage, there’s no doubt she commanded the spotlight with her raspy, emotionally charged vocals. But beyond her legendary performances, the late rocker also possessed another talent: helping shape the stereotypical “hippie” look through wildly original patchwork, bell bottoms, leather, tie-dye and layers upon layers of beaded jewelry. To honor Joplin’s signature bohemian style and to celebrate both her confidence and independence, Malyn Joplin decided to start a fashion collection inspired by her aunt in 2013.
Called Made for Pearl — named after the celebrated crooner’s nickname — Malyn started the line as a means to “pay tribute to her fashion sense.” The designer never had the opportunity to meet her aunt, but shares that she would hear stories about Joplin through her dad [Michael Joplin], as well as those who knew her personally.
“As I grew up, I sort of realized how much of an impact she made on the world from other people who would tell how she affected them,” Malyn explains to Pret-a-Reporter of how she became acquainted with her famous aunt. “It was all through hearing other people’s stories that I felt how influential she was. To me, she was just another member of the family. It’s hard to tell a 10-year-old that your aunt is a music star.”
Though Malyn knew she wanted to get involved with the family estate someday, she didn’t initially know how she would take part in it. It wasn’t until she gave birth to her son five years ago that she had a conversation with her dad and realized she wanted to start the Joplin-inspired line.
“She is paid tribute constantly in the music world […] In the fashion industry there’s a nod to it, but she played such a huge role in defining style and really liberating women to wear whatever they wanted and layer it all on, giving them this confidence and commanding their space,” says Malyn, a FIDM alumna who studied visual communications. “That was something I really wanted to explore.”
For the L.A.-based brand’s holiday range, Malyn focused on gold details, which she notes of the inspiration: “There was this gold outfit made for her and that was how she noted her success. Not by how much money she made but how she felt wearing something.” The collection, which is manufactured and designed in L.A., also features a velvet kimono in paisley prints, shift dresses in solid gold and black with gold patterned, long-sleeve crop tops, velvet mini dresses and full-length lace rompers. Priced between $130 and $1100, Made for Pearl is available on madeforpearl.com and Shopbop.
Made for Pearl may be dedicated to Joplin’s bold fashion choices in the ’60s, but according to Malyn, the line is “more about ‘What would Janis wear if she were 26 today?’ ” We think it’s safe to say we know which fashion brand the rocker would choose.
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Tracee Ellis Ross