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The Life of a Pearl

By Jordan Staggs | Photography courtesy of Magnolia Pearl

One of the most beautiful things about all life forms is how they continually adapt and evolve. To quote the fictional Dr. Ian Malcolm, “Life finds a way.” Take, for example, the pearl. What begins as a microscopic deposit of calcium carbonate—inside what most would consider an unattractive host, a mollusk—evolves, layer by layer, into what is thought to be one of the rarest and most beautiful materials on earth. No two natural pearls are alike.

While pearls are not living beings, they still find a way to grow, and the word pearl has been adopted to mean anything rare, unique, and valuable. This meaning certainly holds for the fashions crafted by Robin Brown of Magnolia Pearl in Fredericksburg, Texas.

Almost two decades ago, Robin began making one-of-a-kind handbags out of antique and repurposed materials. Many of them including vintage pieces that were left to her by her grandmother, which added a heartfelt component to her wearable art. As her fan base grew, Magnolia Pearl morphed into a lifestyle brand that includes apparel, accessories, shoes, and more. The denim pieces are particularly popular, though collections include everything from soft cotton and linen to lace and patchwork. “It is always evolving,” says brand ambassador Marisa Scott. “New designs are created almost daily with small collections released each week.”

The comfortable, funky style is part bohemian, part edge, but wholly undefinable, which seems to be something that Robin loves most about it. “It’s a combination of Fried Green Tomatoes meets The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, then throw in a little Oliver Twist with a splash of the Texas Old West,” she says. One thing that is constant throughout every collection and evolution of the brand, Marisa assures, is the love that goes into each design.

The denim pieces are particularly popular, though collections include everything from soft cotton and linen to lace and patchwork.

“Magnolia Pearl appeals to the nonconformist who’s free-spirited,” Robin shares when trying to pin down her audience—which is impossible. “Her approach to style doesn’t fit in a box. She’s the woman who wants her outsides to reflect her insides. She’s happy, confident, and very in tune with her inner child and has a fearless craving of style. She embodies the energy of art, which is more of an energy than a thing.”

Although there is no ideal Magnolia Pearl buyer because the brand encompasses many personas, one Northwest Florida local comes incredibly close to defining the brand: Roxie Wilson of The Zoo Gallery, an art-meets-beach-lifestyle retailer on the Emerald Coast since 1979. A couple of years ago, Roxie spotted the clothing brand on a friend who designs jewelry carried at The Zoo Gallery, and she immediately called Magnolia Pearl headquarters to inquire about adding it to her Grayton Beach and Sandestin store locations. The Zoo Gallery is now the exclusive Northwest Florida retailer for the brand. When styled by Roxie, Magnolia Pearl takes on a distinct artsy, rock-and-roll vibe, and its synergy with all that The Zoo Gallery stands for has been perfect, says Marisa. “The fact that they are an art destination and stationed in a beautiful area means they’re going to do excellent things,” she says. “Roxie and her team are the icing on the cake, thanks to their love and enthusiasm for the clothing designs released each week. Her curiosity turned into a wonderful and prosperous adventure and a great relationship that’s only grown over the last year.”

When styled by Roxie, Magnolia Pearl takes on a distinct artsy, rock-and-roll vibe, and its synergy with all that The Zoo Gallery stands for has been perfect.

Thanks to social media, storytelling, and word of mouth, Magnolia Pearl’s reach continues to grow daily. The brand is found in 140 retailers worldwide, and Robin doesn’t plan to stop with clothing. Her Fredericksburg HQ is located in a converted barn that she redesigned into a haven for all things beautiful and, of course, Texan. It’s not only the flagship store but also a design studio, a backdrop for photo shoots, a venue for intimate gatherings, and an embodiment of the brand’s way of life. “We’re working on a live music venue and possibly more!” Marisa reveals.

The story of Magnolia Pearl is far from over, but its beginning and middle are already fascinating; Robin has a book in the works to chronicle her journey, along with a separate design book that will no doubt be a welcome addition to coffee tables far and wide.

In the meantime, we’ll be following the story through Magnolia Pearl’s fashions at The Zoo Gallery and other locations across the globe, on social media, and deep in the heart of Texas.

— V —

Visit MagnoliaPearl.com or follow the brand on Instagram (@magnoliapearl) to learn more. Northwest Florida readers can find Magnolia Pearl exclusively at The Zoo Gallery—89 Hotz Avenue in Grayton Beach or 500 Grand Boulevard, Suite 104 in Sandestin.

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