On a warm Saturday afternoon, we gathered around the table to celebrate the launch of a reinvented Mari-go-Round.com. Here’s what went into the top-to-bottom redesign.

Rebranding a Fashion Blog: Behind MGR’s Redesign

On a warm Saturday afternoon, we gathered around the table to celebrate the launch of a reinvented Mari-go-Round.com. Here’s what went into the top-to-bottom redesign.
January 26, 2024
article by Mari Alexander/

photography by Mari Alexander, Rini Jain, and Dhruv Bhatia

It’s that time of day right before afternoon submits to evening, and the signs of a pitch-perfect al fresco gathering are all there.

A hint of warmth, a whisper of cool breeze. A long table composed of an impressive spread of cured meats and cheeses, sliced baguettes with a shattering crust, and olives glistening under the light. The clinking of silverware and the din of laughter.

And of course, what’s arguably the most important part — treasured friendships, all a direct result of running this little blog for the past few years. Designers I’ve interviewed for stories. Fashion week strangers turned best friends. Creators I met at this event or that, over and over until a bond was formed. They’re all here at La Pharmacie du Vin, a Silver Lake wine shop and bar, to celebrate a big milestone with me: The launch of a redesigned and rebranded Mari-go-Round.

On the leftThe blog's redesign included a striking-yet-understated logo as well as a seamless mobile browsing experience.

How it Started: From Travel to Fashion

If you came to my site today and thought, “Something looks different ’round here,” you’re right. It does. Early last year, I began toying with the idea of giving the blog a facelift. It was time. After all, I’d come a long way since I first started this passion project years ago. Back then, it lacked focus, and the self-imposed workload of running a blog felt very much like that — self-imposed. The fire went out every time it was rekindled. 

It wasn’t until the pandemic that I decided to soothe the emotional impact of having my work hours cut in half (and my partner’s lay-off) by writing, writing, and writing more than I’d ever written for myself before. No deadlines, no prompts. Just a blank page, an open road and the whole day ahead. For months, my significant other and I explored remote places like Death Valley, planning outfits, and penning stories about our road trips. I started collecting and styling unusual pieces – garments with unexpected fabric combinations, unique detailing, and patterns — and shooting them with my partner. It became our little escape

The blog was part travel, part fashion. I spent a great deal of time trying to find unique, cool brands — under-the-radar designers who were using their craft as a way of communicating not just something about themselves, but also, about the world we lived in at the time. My research into eco-friendly designers led me to Copenhagen. The Danish capital had earned a reputation for its dedication to sustainability. So when the world opened up, we began exploring the idea of taking it one step further and following my passion to its source — Copenhagen Fashion Week. 

Runway shows, for the most part, are very inaccessible to most people, and so, I was hoping that with my journalism and narrative-style writing skills, that I’d be able to write in a way that would put anyone reading the story right there in the front row – in the middle of all the action. Initially, it was tough going. As a newbie to the fashion circuit, the rejections came in at the rapid-fire pace of a server rattling off the day’s specials. But then, one brand saw potential; others followed. 

Fast-forward two years, and here we are. During my bi-annual transatlantic pilgrimage, I’ve had the opportunity to see so many incredible shows and meet brilliant creatives. Designers spend a great deal of time pouring parts of themselves — their passions, beliefs, pieces of their childhoods — into the clothes they create. Seeing them within the context of a runway show or a presentation is akin to leaning in for a good story — and maybe even becoming a part of it yourself.

Where We Are Now: Redesigning MGR

New experiences bend the trajectory of personality. I’d grown as a writer — as a fashion writer — and it only made sense that the blog would grow with me. My clunky, DIY-ed WordPress theme just didn’t do it anymore. So I reached out to Attention Trading, a full-service digital marketing agency. I’d gotten to know co-founder Steven J. Alves and Kristen Ritzenthaler, senior digital designer and art director, through my day job, and I was blown away by their work. After our initial consultation, I was certain they were the power duo I was looking for, so I sprinted toward the pool’s edge and dove head-first into the project. 

First, we addressed the look. “There’s nothing better than having a client come to you with a vision — even better if that vision is purposeful, thoughtful and creative,” Kristen said. “My job? To take the vision to a new level. By incorporating custom typography from an elite foundry, adding decorative typographic elements of underlines and italics, a splash of color, and branded image treatment to add cohesion to images from varied sources and aesthetics.” Mari-go-Round’s old font was retired. Instead, Kristen handpicked a typographical style that toed the line between the big-sister friendliness of a blog and the elegance of an editorial fashion magazine. 

Then we discussed navigation design and how it would guide readers through the four pockets of my website: Runway Reviews, Table Talk, Style Notes, and Around Town. Kristen came up with an imaginative solution: color swatches. “I have always considered fashion more of an art form, so it was important for me to convey this artistry and creativity in the design,” she said. “I thought of how fashion designers use fabric swatches — spendings days, weeks, or even months holding them up to their sketches when conceiving their work.” Each category earned its own color, which accompanies all associated blog posts through every element of design. (Try it out — it’s quite clever.) 

Of course, all of this had to be brought to life and executed in a way that fulfilled its intended function. “When approaching MariGoRound.com our main goal was to present the most important elements and content from both Mari’s perspective and in terms of the overall user experience,” Steve said. “Because Mari applies such an immense amount of time and detail into both her writing and visual assets, it was important to strike a balance between the two without one superseding the other.”

On the leftWith its incredible roster of wines and an assortment of delicious nibbles, La Pharmacie du Vin was the perfect playground for a petite and intimate celebration.

With crisp, easy-to-read text, bold typography, and generous white space, every story on the site offers readers the kind of plush reading experience I’ve always wanted. Large, luscious imagery is woven throughout. All the details you typically miss when the models whoosh by on the catwalk — every pleat, stitch, and embroidery — you can visually dissect right here. And it all works beautifully. The auto-rotating sliders are butter-smooth. The scrolling experience is seamless. Everything loads in a blink of an eye. 

To say that Attention Trading knocked it out of the park would be a colossal understatement. But it’s more than that. Anyone who’s ever tackled a personal project like this knows that finding the right people to get it done is no easy feat. The luckiest among us will chance upon experts who are excellent listeners, skilled communicators, and passionate storytellers in their respective fields. Emphasis on that last one because I truly believe passion is a prerequisite for the success of a project just like. 

Where We’re Going: Looking Into the Future

Back at La Pharmacie du Vin, as evening falls, we order more bread and wine. Another bottle of orange wine made in Kakheti, which sits in the eastern part of Georgia’s wine country. It’s nice to see my friends enjoying something from my home country; there’s nothing quite like seeing an immediate, positive reaction to something you introduced — whether it’s a movie, a local hair salon, a bottle of wine, or a favorite brand. 

As a writer, you can only hope that the recommendations, advice, and information you give freely and abundantly are read. In redesigning my blog, I hope fashion lovers can find a place to escape from the present moment through Runway Reviews, to unearth a new closet mainstay through one of my Style Notes shopping guides, or to fall in love with a new designer through Table Talk. I hope it becomes the impetus for discovery or rediscovery — for myself too as much as readers. 

I hope you find something new here. And I hope you come back.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to celebrate with me — Jacquex, Rini, Dhruv, Priscilla, Jacqueline, Lily, and Marie-Anna. Thank you to everyone who reads and supports my little blog.