By: Maité Aramayo
Ever since the foundation of Maison Martin Margiela in 1988, the brand has always differentiated itself by rejecting traditional marketing, the use of logos and by adopting a neutral and anonymous image. From the days when Martin Margiela was in charge of the creative direction, the image of Maison Margiela has always had a mysterious tone to it along with its distinguished creative conceptualism. Even when John Galliano, one of the most flamboyant designers of our time took over the brand, Maison Margiela managed to maintain its reputation and heritage for the minimal bizarre, the deconstruction, the avant-garde and the unique creations that can be recognised by anyone who has a keen eye for the Margiela codes explained as follows:
Margiela is famously known for having a neutral personality when it comes to labels, which is why all Margiela labels are characterised by a white removable label with four stitches at the corners. This “design” as simple as it is, has become a reference that has majorly been used into various Margiela products ranging from cardholders, wallets up to bags throughout time.
In addition, the most famous Margiela products are distinguished for being white, such as the WHITE COAT, which is even worn by all Margiela workers from retail, headquarters to the atelier.
It was not until 1997, when Margiela introduced a new reference that can be found inherently on all products. Many people think the Margiela numbers ranging from 0 to 23 are just the label, but actually each number represents a collection to which the garment belongs. For instance, the famous 5AC Handbag created by Galliano, belongs to the collection number 11, which is why the label will have that number circled among all 23. Here is the cheat sheet:
0 "Artisanal" collection for men and women
1 Woman's collection (continued until 2008)
Fragrances (first one in 2010)
4 Woman's garderobe (since Spring/Summer 2004)
8 Eyewear Collection (since Spring/Summer 2008)
10 Man's Collection (current special collections such as REPLICA)
11 Accessories (since 2005, including a special selection of jewelry)
12 Jewelry (since 2008)
13 Objects and catalogs
14 Man's wardrobe (same as line 4)
22 Shoes (first one was on 1998 and in 2008 for male footwear)
6 MM6 (designed for a wider audience since 2006)
Margiela is one of the few brands that has established itself as the master of deconstruction. By that, it means that exposing the production process is part of the atelier’s DNA. Another way to recognize a Margiela garment is to look for over-sized clothing and the Trompe L’oeil, which is a technique meant to represent the house’s relationship with time and history.  
One thing that Margiela does that has put the house ahead of time from the one we are living now, is that the brand has always sourced its materials from recycling. The word the Maison uses for this in its creation of garments is “to repurpose”, and so it is common to find Margiela products that will be more unique as there will be a combination of patchwork in leather, denim and sometimes even plastic.