For clothing designer Brigitt Goldman, her line of children’s dresses, called “Malibumermaid,” symbolizes bringing love and healing from the ocean and land of Malibu. She started her line about two years ago; however, Goldman always had a connection with sewing. Growing up in Germany in the ’70s, she looked up to women who wore fashionable outfits, which inspire her designs today.
Life in Germany was confusing for Goldman as a child. She was raised by parents who were child Holocaust survivors in the 1940s, and their trauma followed her from childhood to adulthood. Her brother was murdered when she was 11, and at 18, her father committed suicide.
“I feel like sewing and being creative had a healing effect on me,” Goldman said. “My kids said, ‘Mom, sewing saved your soul.’ Somehow, there’s something uplifting around us,” Goldman said.
She moved to the United States, got married and had children. She ceased contact with her mother shortly after that.
Goldman worked with immigration services and, after 20 years, she became a citizen. She said she was the first German woman who was granted asylum.
Goldman remembered that when she was six, she loved to play with dolls and create dresses with fabrics that were given to her by family and friends. She remembers when her mother gave her some old curtains to craft with.
“When she handed me the curtain, I created dolls’ clothes,” Goldman said. “People knew I was the little girl who was into sewing.”
About 18 years later, in 2001, she reconnected with her mother. To move past her troubled childhood, she took her mother to Zuma Beach for Mikva, a Jewish tradition to heal and cleanse the soul.
Goldman woke up one morning to hear her mother had passed. She drove to Zuma Beach and thought about creating her line of dresses.
“I realized when you do artistic stuff, it does some healing,” Goldman said. “If you paint or [practice] photography, I think it’s this extreme concentration—it kind of kept me normal.”
When her daughter, Josephine Pocasangre, had a child of her own, Pocasangre named her after her grandmother, Elise. Goldman knew it was time to make her Malibumermaid dream a reality.
Goldman believes Malibu is more than a city for the “rich and famous.” She said it’s also for people who want to heal through the ocean and the land. In her mother’s memory, Goldman started connecting with orphaned children in Africa to pass on healing and love. She is donating a percentage of her profits to organizations that help orphaned children, such as Ovi Children’s Hospital.
Her partner, Alberto Sanchez, has been in the fashion industry for 20 years and has known Goldman for about 10 years. Sanchez has been working with Goldman on this clothing line for two years.
“It is pleasant working with Brigitt. She has a great product. She’s ambitious and she’s done this before, and it’s about working together,” Sanchez said. “Finding honest people is essential when doing business.”
Her production is done in a small factory in Van Nuys. However, she comes to Malibu to promote and take photos of her designs, and she also gets inspiration near the ocean.
“As you get older, you discover who you really are through different challenges,” Goldman said. “Once you find your way and have people helping you, you become your own person. You go through different stages and different experiences in life, and one day it hits you: This is who I am. This is who I want to be.”