His childhood friends in Mizpah, Manchester may not recognise him now. He is all grown up, a sought-after couturier and stylist with an appetite for high fashion and a lavish jet-setting lifestyle that sees him travelling across the globe. In fact, when SO finally caught up with Glenroy March, who now goes by his label moniker 'D'Marsh', he was comfortably ensconced in a Netjets private flight from New York City, his permanent home, to LA for a night of celebration in honour of President Obama. Who was he there to style? The ultra private couturier would not say much, other than, "I promised my client she would shine at the elite fundraiser for Barack Obama hosted by George Clooney". His lips were sealed after that. The celeb-friendly D'Marsh refuses to discuss his clients with the media, or other clients for that matter. He says the respect and admiration he enjoys among A-listers is due to his stance on privacy. The 29-year-old says he doesn't make couture pieces or style the global fabulocracy for love of publicity, but rather, for love of style. His clients want to feel that he is their secret weapon and he remains mum on his long list of Hollywood who's who. He further stated that by creating a House of D'Marsh Ready to Wear line for everyday stylish folks, he was responding to the demand for his line. Couture remains exclusive. When next SO caught up with the svelte style guru, he was sipping a crème de menthe stinger at the Sunset Marquis in West Hollywood.
Heather Elliott (HE): You grew up in Mizpah, Manchester, (Jamaica) a far way from New York, Italy and Paris, your frequent playgrounds. Tell us about your transition from humble beginnings to your current lavish lifestyle.
D'Marsh (DM): It was while living at home in Manchester that I realised my dream of becoming a successful fashion designer was far too grand for my surroundings. I decided to venture out on my own from the age of 17, and the rest is history. New York is where my real journey started and since then I have worked hard in order to get to this point in my career. I do not view my lifestyle as lavish as such, but having been in the industry for a while working my way up and having now gained name recognition, I am able to enjoy the benefits of the industry.
HE: You could be a bigger household name than you are now, but you choose to remain private and exclusive by turning down multiple contracts that you think will reduce the currency of your brand. Doesn't that cut into your earning potential as a designer?
DM: Yes, it does cut into the earning potential if you look at it that way. However, this is a sacrifice that I am willing to make. At one point, there were investors who wanted too much ownership of the D'Marsh brand and I did not feel that I needed to give up ownership in order to be successful. My exclusive clients keep my brand alive and they know that when it's custom-made by D'Marsh Couture, it is fit for royalty.
HE: You were recently named a McDonald Fashion Design Fellow. Tell us about that.
DM: The McDonald's corporation held its inaugural fashion showdown in New York City and D'Marsh Ready to Wear walked away with the top prize. It transformed the RTW brand and exposed it to more of the target audience and other sponsors alike.
HE: On several occasions, I have heard you say that Valentino is your fashion god and you are gearing up to move in the direction of his camp. How close are you to realising that dream?
DM: Yes, I do love the Emperor of Fashion, Valentino. His fashion has been worn by the world's best and brightest for decades and it never gets old. That is my ultimate vision for D'Marsh couture. Picture this: 2012. A young lady purchases a stunning gown created by D'Marsh couture and wears it to the gasp of her friends. Flash forward 30 years and now a grown woman handing down to her daughter that same stunning gown looking just as stylish and fresh as it did the first day she first wore it. That's Valentino. That's who D'Marsh is striving to be --relevant in the future as it is now and this is the energy of Valentino that I wish to emulate.
HE: Red, white and black are the signature colours of House Of D'Marsh. You very seldom deviate from that. What's the inspiration behind your signature colours?
DM: Those three colours have very deep meaning to me that's private for now... LOL! One day I will tell you the full story behind the trinity, as I like to call them. I do deviate and play with other colours, but you are right... the core of my scheme is the red, white and black.
HE: You celebrated D'Marsh's 10-year anniversary recently. What have you done to mark this milestone?
DM: We had a great private gala event in New York for my team, industry top agents, models, stylists and decision makers. We took a look back at how the D'Marsh and House of D'Marsh brands got started, the hits and misses and flashed forward to our vision for the next 10 years, which is taking the RTW line to the next level.
HE: Who would you like to dress and why?
DM: I would like to dress the whole world just so everyone can experience just how fabulous feels. But if I had to choose a current personality it would be a toss-up between Michelle Obama and Nicole Kidman. Both are so graceful. Nicole has that the old elegance of Hollywood with a modern feel that is simply breathtaking. Breakfast at Tiffany's, anyone?
HE: What is it about Jamaica that inspires your dream and your ambitions as a couturier?
DM: Jamaica is home forever and ever. It is my desire to do her proud that gives me most of my drive. Jamaica has the determination of a salmon swimming upstream, and a heart big enough to keep the whole planet happy. It is with that resolve that I push forward and make great clothes for some great people.
HE: What's your best advice to young struggling designers reading SO this morning?
DM: Do not give up even when you feel defeated, after countless failed projects, buyers not calling you back, or negative reviews. Your time will come, and when it does be ready as the wave of success will not wait. The strength that you gained during the low times will allow you to surf that wave to your dreams. Getting into fashion is the easy part; being successful in such a competitive arena is rare and all depends on your desire to withstand and blossom.