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Old City Philadelphia with Maddie Flanigan

STORY BY JULIE O’BOYLE AND RACHEL SCHWARTZMANN – FOLLOW MADDIE – PHOTOS BY Maddie Flanigan FOR THE STYLE LINE

“What’s old is new – that’s a theme that plays throughout

every facet of my life,” explains Maddie Flanigan, founder of Madalynne Intimates, below, “Old City is exactly that.”

When one thinks of classic Philadelphia, whether they realize it or not, they’re most likely picturing the picturesque cobblestone streets (some of the oldest in the country) and close-quartered brick rowhomes of Old City. Once home to Betsy Ross, this historic neighborhood is now home to pretty boutiques, streetside cafes, and art-filled galleries. And of course, Old City is where Maddie Flanigan hangs her hat.

An expert designer, seamstress, pattern creator, and educator, Flanigan chose Old City as her home for its community and charm, characteristics that could just as easily be applied to her line of gorgeous intimates and learn-to-sew workshops, where she teaches students how to create a custom bra that expertly fits their unique measurements. A native of Florida, Flanigan has carved out a home for herself in Old City where she is able to nurture her business while nurturing herself.

Discover Old City through Maddie’s eyes and read more about her creative approach in the interview below.

Hi! My name is Maddie Flanigan and I am the owner

of Madalynne Intimates. I am very fortunate that my hobby is also my career, and an all-consuming one that is, but I do have a life outside of it. I am a very active person both mentally and physically. I wake up every day around 5/6AM (with no alarm clock) and dedicate an hour or more to myself – running, cycling, yoga, meditation, etc. I dedicate so much time and effort to others, but I can only do that (and do my best at it) if I dedicate time to taking care of myself. Photography is another love of mine. When I’m not sewing, I have my Canon Mark IV (most likely with a 50mm/f1.2) with me.

You grew up in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida – a far cry from Philadelphia! Tell us about your journey here – why choose Philly as your home?

Like most things that ended up lasting in my life, I came to Philadelphia on a whim. I was a student at Johnson and Wales in North Miami when I applied for an internship at Urban Outfitters. I started off as a summer intern and only planned on staying 10 weeks. At the end of the summer, I didn’t go back and made the decision to stay when I was offered a full-time role. Gasp! Yep, that means I’m a college dropout! I started off in technical design and throughout the 2 ½ years I was in the department, I always maintained my blog, Madalynne. When the company started an internal blog, they asked if I would design and develop a website for their home office employees. I was hesitant at first because I wouldn’t be in the design world, but I took the position. For 4 1/2 years, I handled all internal and corporate communications and was the resident photographer, in-house graphic designer, and blogger for URBN, which comprises the brands Anthropologie, Free People, Urban Outfitters, Terrain, and BHLDN. I consider myself one of the luckiest people to have had that experience. It was a dream job and set me up to eventually branch off and start my own business.

What is one question you wish people asked you more often?

“Why?” Live with a purpose.

You’re an avid runner – what role does running play in your creative process if any?

I don’t consider myself the brightest crayon in the box; if I were to pick three words that describe me, it would be loyal, committed, and hardworking. My mom was an avid runner. She passed away from breast cancer when I was just a teenager. Even when she was confined to a wheelchair after her spine collapsed, she would be on the beach every morning. Running is my commitment to myself, to having a purpose, to living life every day to the fullest.

Philadelphia is home to a huge array of neighborhoods, what drove you to choose Old City as your home base? How would you describe the creative community here?

What’s old is new – that’s a theme that plays throughout every facet of my life. Old City is exactly that. The cobblestone streets, the rickety floors in the shops and the boutiques, the small, local community within a big city – it’s everything I am.

What other neighborhoods do you spend a lot of time in? Are there any you haven’t yet explored that are on your list?

My studio is in Kensington, so I spend a lot of time there. However, I haven’t explored much that’s around the area, but I hear that El Coqui, which is across the street, has amazing empanadas. Yum!

“I think it’s really interesting how political, racial, religious and other domestic and global issues seep into the fashion world.”

Shop Maddie’s Look: Target Sweater (Similar, $27.99)Anthropologie Cargo Pants (Similar, $88), Kate Spade accessories

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Old City Coffee

Address: 221 Church St, Philadelphia, PA 19106

“Literally tucked away on a cobblestone street, Old City Coffee feels like a treasure that you just uncovered that only you know about. Not only do they have the best coffee, but their granola and yogurt dish is divine.”

Lately, there’s been a boom in small and independent businesses either starting or relocating to Philadelphia – why do you think this is? What makes Philadelphia ideal for small business owners, specifically women?

Moving to Philly from Florida, one of the first characteristics that stood out was the hometown pride. In the last 8 years, I’ve been here, there hasn’t been a boom per se, but a continual growth that I believe will get bigger and bigger, stronger and stronger as the years go on.

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Rennes

Address: 135 N 3rd St, Philadelphia, PA 19106

“Her designs are inspirational. The simply laid out store and the unique, fresh designs get my creative juices flowing.”

How do you think creativity contributes to some of the world’s bigger conversations and what role is Madalynne (the brand) playing in this?

I think it’s really interesting how political, racial, religious and other domestic and global issues seep into the fashion world. As an example – I am obsessed with anything and everything colorful. Bright hues and pops of color. I’m currently trying to source rainbow elastic. Two years ago, I would have gawked if someone told me this would be the current trend, but I believe that the most recent presidential campaign has us all taking a closer look and being more accepting. My mom told me to never talk politics or religion, so I’ll end it right there. Hopefully, you get my gist.

“One of my mottos is a great answer to this question – ‘A flower doesn’t think about competing with the flower next to it; it just blooms.’ You do you. Be you.”

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Fezziwig’s Sweet Shoppe

Address: 17 N 3rd St, Philadelphia, PA 19106

“A recently opened ice cream shop that it not even two blocks away from my house. It has a mom and pop feel, which is nicer than a few other Old City establishments that have lost that vibe. And they have the best popcorn around.”

How would you advise the next generation of designers to leave an imprint in the world simply by doing what they love?

One of my mottos is a great answer to this question – “A flower doesn’t think about competing with the flower next to it; it just blooms.”

You do you. Be you.

“What’s old is new – that’s a theme that plays throughout every facet of my life. Old City is exactly that. The cobblestone streets, the rickety floors in the shops and the boutiques, the small, local community within a big city – it’s everything I am.”