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By Ruthe Stein | Published 5:07 pm, Thursday, November 10, 2016

Marge goes upscale for tall women

Marge by Kaersten Cooper, a San Francisco design house, offers women 6 feet tall and over upscale clothing previously hard to find in ready-to-wear lines. The fall collection (available solely at www.margeclothing.com) favors silk chiffons, double-faced satins and natural fabric knits in a muted color palette. Evening wear dramatically plunges down to the small of a client’s back. Prices range from $100 for a jersey tank top to $1,200 for self-lined overcoats.

“I very much do classic design,” said company founder and designer Kaersten Cooper. “I find inspiration from Chanel jackets and Dior knits.”

Frustration over finding elegant ensembles to fit her own 6-foot-1 frame motivated Cooper to start Marge in 2014. She found that retailers catering to the tall usually simply add inches to the length of standard clothing.

“No factors were taken into account like the placement of a hip curve. I wanted to reinvent the whole pattern-making design process for tall women,” said Cooper, who named the company for her grandmother Marge, a designer who taught her to sew.

Each item is manufactured to order in standard Marge sizes 4-12 or extra small, small or medium. Delivery time ranges from one to three weeks. The company also provides a private client service where, for an additional price, a client can have an item custom designed to her measurements. Alterations are also available with this option. Cooper takes pride in contracting out the entire Marge line to five sewing factories in South San Francisco and Oakland.

“My vision is to keep it all local,” she said. “Manufacturing is kind of a dying business, so we wanted to help where we could. Also I can be very hands-on. Since we are upscale I have to make sure every specific design requirement is met. I am there at the factory examining every piece.”

— R.S.

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