Nothing like a little success to up the style quotient. When country music duo Maddie & Tae first made the charts with their hit “Girl in a Country Song” in 2014, they were still teenagers who liked to shop at mall retailers and off-pricers. Fast forward to today and the twentysomethings are touring the country, working on their second album and promoting the launch of their capsule collection with Bloomingdale’s, Aqua x Maddie & Tae, which is targeted to a Millennial girl with a youthful sense of adventure.
The duo made a stop in New York during fashion week to take in a few shows and make a personal appearance to introduce the line at Bloomingdale’s 59th Street flagship, where they met with fans and held an acoustic concert on the sales floor Thursday night. WWD spoke with them before the appearance about fashion and music.
WWD: When we first spoke last year, you shopped at American Eagle Outfitters, TJ Maxx and Marshalls. Now you have your own fashion line.
TAYLOR DYE: That goes to show that this pulled us out of our comfort zone in the best way possible. I’ll never forget, we walked into our first Bloomingdale’s meeting to see if we wanted to create our first capsule and I was wearing a Forever 21 outfit and so was Maddie. And we said, “This is us.” And they said, “Great, that’s what we want.” So we said, “Let’s do it.” We really got to incorporate the authentic, youthful aspect into the line.
MADDIE MARLOW: We think we captured the Millennial perspective with this line, but a little more elevated. When we pick out clothes for ourselves, it’s just like jeans and a T-shirt or a cute little blouse, but this capsule really pushed us fashion-wise in a good way. We learned a lot and weren’t afraid of different fabrics and styles and mixing things.
WWD: You’re both wearing pretty dressy pieces from the collection right now, though.
T.D.: There are some pieces that are dressy, but that’s what I love about it. You can dress it up or down. You can wear it with some flats for a day date or at night. There are also some cute bombers and we also do jeans and normal T-shirts.
M.M.: We had to do jeans. I don’t like dresses but I love some of the dresses in this line because they’re comfortable. This line did such a good job — the dresses are breathable, you can move around. But we do have two pairs of jeans: a black wash and then a denim wash and they’re higher-waisted so they feel better. I was pretty excited about the jeans. Then we have these crazy leather leggings that are so much fun.
T.D.: It’s fun to get to dip into the fashion world a little bit. We did an in-store appearance at Bloomingdale’s in Chicago last week, but we’re excited because we actually get to incorporate some music this time. We get to play some songs and talk about the line and our favorite pieces.
WWD: Speaking of that — you’re in New York during fashion week. Did you take in any shows?
T.D.: We saw Anna Sui and Georgine and we went to an Aldo shoe party, which was really fun.
M.M.: And they gave us free shoes! In the gift bag were some free shoes, so that was pretty awesome.
T.D.: We love music but we do that all the time, so it’s kind of fun to express ourselves in another creative outlet. And we tie it all together — we wear our line onstage and play music here at the store.
WWD: Are you working on your second album yet?
M.M.: We’ve definitely written a lot of songs that we want on the second album.
T.D.: It’s tough though, because we had so long to write the first album and now we’re creeping up on having to release the second album. We feel like we have a lot of content but I think it’s just making sure that we’re telling the right part of the second story. We want it to be cohesive with the first album, not totally different, but we’re also living pretty much totally different lives. We’re in our early 20s and we’re experiencing new emotions so we’re trying to capture all the feelings, which is tough as a woman.
M.M.: It’s a cool phase of life. So far from our experience, the 20s are trying to figure who you are, what you want to say and who you want to be and at some point, you realize, I don’t have to have anything figured out, I’m just going to go with the flow. You’ve got to be OK with not knowing anything.
T.D.: And there are plenty of songs on this record that kind of explain that feeling. In your 20s, you know you have absolutely nothing figured out and I don’t know anything, but I’m just going to enjoy the ride.
WWD: When do you think we’ll see the new album?
M.M.: Spring or summer of next year. We’re crossing our fingers that our first single should be released in January or February of next year.
T.D.: We’re almost done with the album, we just need to go in the studio and cut it and see what we have.
WWD: Are you still touring?
T.D.: We’re on tour with Brad Paisley right now. We have two weekends left.
WWD: Will you then take some time off for the holidays?
M.M.: Yes, we always take time off for Thanksgiving and Christmas because we don’t really have weekends or many days off during the year so we just do a whole two-week block in December for Christmas so we can go visit family and just relax and unwind for a little while.
T.D.: But we’ll probably be using most of that off time to write and record.
WWD: So it seems like you guys are still getting along really well.
T.D.: Everyone thinks that because we’re young women, that we fight a lot, but no.
M.M.: We’ve been working together for almost six years so we understand each other.
T.D.: After that long, you don’t really get sick of one another. It’s a marriage.