Photos by MakMak.

Catching up with MaKenzie Godso, a Baton Rouge native turned Portland clothing designer

When Makenzie Godso was living in Baton Rouge, she was known for her one-of-a-kind style and enviable wardrobe of Prada and vintage finds. When 225 last spoke with her in 2018, she was a Time Warp floor manager and had the kind of closet you’d only dream of playing dress-up in.

Fast forward five years and one pandemic later, Godso is now designing original clothing from her new home in Portland, Oregon. Her apparel is made from upcycled fabrics and is sold online and in-stores around the country. 

After watching from afar as the now-27-year-old fashion enthusiast evolves into a trailblazing designer, we caught up with her to learn more about her clothing business MakMak and hear what’s up next. Shop MakMak on Etsy.

When did you start designing your own clothes? 

During the pandemic. I was still in Baton Rouge for the first year working at Time Warp. I had gotten a sewing machine for my birthday that year and had just been tinkering with it. My ex-boyfriend’s mom taught me the basics of the machine. 

I bought a bunch of vintage patterns and started Frankensteining them. I would take a sleeve from one pattern, the bodice of a dress, or a top from another and kind of mix them together.

What types of pieces do you make?

Everything that I make is really informed by what I want to wear. I don’t make the same thing twice, mainly because all of the fabrics that I use are upcycled. 

I’m constantly making dresses, and I started making more bloomer shorts again. Right now I’m really focused on the high/low silhouette. I amplify the volume and do lots of ruffles. 

Where do you source materials for your garments? What do you look for? 

Thrift stores. I shop the fabric and linen section. I use a lot of used sheets or curtains. I really like cotton. In the craft aisle, they have bags and bags of ribbons and accessories that I can tack on, like strips of lace. 

How would you describe your design aesthetic?

Unique, voluminous, colorful, chaos. 

Paint a picture for us. What are the vibes you set to sew your pieces?

I’m very cliche. I’m always listening to true crime podcasts, or podcasts that discuss movies. Usually, I’ll go watch the movie they discuss after, which is fun.  

Tell me about your favorite piece that you’ve ever made.

I made a puff-sleeve opera-style coat. It’s very voluminous, colorful and fun. It’s got layers of tulle on the bottom and on the sleeves, and a bow at the neck to close it. It took so much time to make, but that’s been my new favorite method. 

Last year I saw this video by an Australian designer (@fromcarlyb on Instagram). She made a video about this technique where she was basically creating her own fabric using scraps. I’ve always kept my scraps because I didn’t want to throw them away.

What you do is: Get a base layer of fabric, arrange your scraps however you want, then you lay a sheer fabric over top and sew over it. 

It’s kind of like a quilted material. You can see the fabric from the outside because the material is sheer. I played around a lot with that last year. 

Tell us about any upcoming releases or collaborations.

I’m doing a collaboration with a shop in New York called Berriez. It’s very body inclusive. I made some special pieces for a release on the shop’s website. The pieces fit from an XL to 4X. 

What are your plans for the future? 

I really just want to keep having fun doing this. The dream eventually is to take it full-time. I also would love to have my stuff in a store in the United Kingdom or somewhere across the sea. I want to continue to grow my small army of MakMak wearers.

This article was originally published in a January 2023 edition of 225 Daily. It has been updated for the October 2023 issue of 225 magazine.