Marle Woman: Melissa Mikletic

Industry leaders, new talent, quiet achievers and progressive thinkers, Marle Women is a regular journal series featuring one-to-ones with women of all ages and stages of their lives; women who challenge, excite, teach and inspire us.

In our latest edition, we speak to curator and storyteller Melissa Mikletic. Founder of Before March, a long time friend, supporter and retailer of Marle, Melissa has been able to channel her interests in fashion, art direction, music and literature throughout her career.

Here she talks us through the conscious creation of Before March, the gift of music and how working together can bring the biggest change.



Hi Melissa, please share a little bit about yourself, your upbringing and any defining moments that lead you to where you are today?

I was born and raised in Melbourne. Growing up, I spent a lot of time with my grandparents, who immigrated from Croatia with two children and worked tirelessly to open their own pie shop, which they ran together for decades. When I was a teenager, my mum also opened her own boutique, which is now 18 years old. I worked in both of these family businesses from a young age, forming an early appreciation for the heart and dedication it takes to run a small business.

How would you best describe what you do?

I both work in and do the buying for Before March, a Northside sanctuary I’ve rented for 7 years. Everything we stock is meticulously chosen, with longevity at the forefront of my mind. I’ve studied design, worked in textiles and have run my own small label, the way I curate is supported by this history. I know the difficulty of making things well and attainably priced.

The shop has been a conduit for different strands of creative expression, including my love of image making. Lately, I’ve been building our project ‘Guest of Honour’, which invites creatives from different fields to interact with the space, through workshops, intimate gigs, exhibitions and poetic installations.



What do you want people to feel and experience when they shop at Before March?

A little reprieve in their day. Genuine community connection. A hot tip. A funny anecdote. We experience so much through a screen, devoid of context, which can’t compare to the tactility of walking into a space. All the senses are engaged, you’re physically creating a memory.

We know you share our sentiment in making considered purchases that offer versatility and longevity. What are the top 5 foundational pieces you think everyone needs in their wardrobe and why?

A tailored pant (preferably black) - I’m less about jeans than I am about tailored pants. None are powerless to the way that good tailoring makes you feel; like you can get your project funded, call your friend for a spontaneous drink, seize the day.

A silk slip or slip skirt - there isn’t a season in which you can’t wear it. It packs light & dries quickly.
Leather boots - they’ll take you everywhere.
A lightweight knit - it will cover more months of the year than a heavier counterpart. As it gets colder, layer it. Layering outfits creates more dimension and variation than a single dominant piece. It is also a joyful act of creativity.

A long coat - if you need to run out quickly in something questionable, a long coat will conceal all and is the chicest staple. It will conjure all your literary heroes. No one needs a nylon puffer jacket (save for an Antarctic voyage).



Outside of Before March, you’re a talented vocalist and musician. Tell us about Serene Dreams and how music influences your life…

I make music with my friend Alan. We’ve been friends for over 10 years. This practice is medicinal to me. Music is central to my experience of the world and is a constant source of wonder and awe. No other medium makes me feel the way music does, the magic in the way poetry is mined from the mysterious subconscious, something deep running waiting to be articulated. Music is a universal language, it belongs to everyone and we take ownership of songs, imprinting them with our own memories and experiences. It is the greatest gift.

Do you have any daily rituals or practices that you swear by?

Daily - read something thought provoking.

I kiss my partner goodnight and good morning everyday without exception.

Weekly - the farmer’s market every weekend. It’s the thing I look forward to the most. I love meeting people who have a direct hand in what they’re selling/making.



What do you wish more people spoke about?

Collective action. Working together to preserve the best of what we have, that which is fragile. We speak a lot about personal goals and ambitions, but there are systems we only have hope to change together. I think so many stale political and economic policies rely on our despair.

We also need to seriously consider our relationship toward scaling and economic growth, nothing can grow infinitely.

How would you describe your personal style and how has this evolved over the years?

It has always revolved around the same central themes. I’m the kind of person who owns versions of similar pieces, each with subtle differences. I like tailoring, I like pieces with sensuality that both cover and suggest the form, fluid silks that feel romantic. I am a long-time vintage collector, I like clothes that have lived past lives. The way you’re inexplicably attracted to something second hand that you hunted out is revealing of your character and what draws you in. In a way that is separate to how we buy new clothing, some of the attraction to which can be really good marketing. I think the prevalence of social media has numbed our connection to the things we attain, with some exception.

Marle is designed to add effortless ease to a woman’s wardrobe, how does wearing Marle make you feel?

Marle’s clothes make me feel like myself. I mix them with my vintage pieces and they feel individual. They’re simple but not strictly minimal, there’s intelligent detailing and a point of view, but not so dominant that they enforce a particular personality on the wearer. I’ve seen the same pieces worn by different people with such contrasting styles, across a spectrum of ages, which is a testament to their adaptability and ageless appeal.





What is your most treasured object and why?

My grandma gave me a whole lot of crochet table cloths and placemats, made by various friends and family of hers. It felt like pirate loot. They’re linked to her birthplace and heritage. I have a fixation with crochet that runs through my DNA. I display them around the store.

Favourite home cooked meal?

Pasta is my kryptonite, with a really good glass of wine.

Favourite thing to wear?

Tailored pants, sheer layers, a soft coat and a little bit of blush.

Your non-negotiable daily rituals?

Reading in the morning, either a book, The Marginalian or The Red Hand files.

Spring/Summer or Autumn/Winter?

Autumn/Winter - the cold makes me smile. Autumn for its colours, when the deciduous trees are in song. Cuddles from my cat & whisky by an open fire in the winter.

Last Book You Read?

Sheila Heti’s ‘Motherhood’.

Current Podcast Recommendations

How to Fail with Elizabeth Day, Desert Island Discs, Tetragrammaton with Rick Rubin and On Being with Krista Tippet.

Favourite Spotify Playlist?

I have gotten back into the habit of making playlists for friends, like a love letter. I made this one for my friend Genevieve.



Photographer: Stephanie Cammarano

Photographers Assistant: Amy Pollock 

Location: Tempo Rubato

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