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Interview with blogger/fashion designer: Mary Jo Matsumoto (Trust Your Style blog)

Trust Your Style blog by Mary Jo Matsumoto, designer of fashionable bags. Interview for Maquette blog.

I had the privilege of interviewing one of my favorite bloggers, Mary Jo Matsumoto of Trust your Style. Beyond blogging she’s a fashion designer/ fashion/beauty editor/non-profit founder whose stunning bags were snapped up by the lux Fred Segal, one of L.A.’s hippest boutiques, in the first week of designing! Bergdorf Goodman is another one of the exclusive boutiques worldwide that carry Mary Jo’s designs. They’ve been carried by the likes of Robin Wright Penn, and have appeared on Oprah, Extra, and the Oscars. Not bad!

Here’s the interview, some photos from her blog of the bags and some little illustrations I did for the fun of showing off her beautiful and delectably colorful bags.

I read that you studied film at NYU, what made you decide to get into fashion and design your bag line?
I must’ve been crazy. I had this idea to cover a bag with flowers. I made up 4 bags and took them to a go-see at Fred Segal on Melrose. One of the owners started laughing at them because they were so tiny, but her daughter took me aside and told me to make up as many as I could and they would take them. They sold out within 2 weeks and I figured I could make a living doing this. I wasn’t planning on leaving film, it just sort of happened. This isn’t the route that business school recommends–I didn’t have a business plan, funding, or any idea what I was doing. But I just had a ‘feeling’ and I had a lot of good luck when I started out.

What or who is your biggest inspiration artistically?
I’ve always been into art and studied painting in college. I loved Matisse growing up. In terms of fashion, what I feel about Valentino I can’t even put into words. I just think he’s brilliant and love everything he ever does. And Diane von Furstenberg–her clothes are so perfect for real life. I’m also very inspired by Natalie Chanin http://www.alabamachanin.com/Collections/Collections.htm and the world she created for herself. Instead of getting a gritty loft in NY, she went back to her hometown in Alabama and cultivated a group of women who use the dying art of quilting techniques; she has a family, a community of artists, and lives in a place she loves. For an artist, I don’t think it gets any better than that.

Can you describe your design process in a few sentences?
I’m always interested in the fusion of the past and the present, of vintage and modern, plus somehow giving pieces a handmade, individual feel. My new textile, “Magical Mind�? let me express part my inner world and add that to the design as well.

What advice can you give to an artist or designer that wants to launch his or her own business?
I’m not really a business person but I would say that if you are passionate about creating, try and find a way to make it happen. And don’t give up, you will have setbacks.

Until her web store is updated, you can purchase an Infinity bag by emailing her directly at trustyourstyle@cox.net and for now, she won’t charge you shipping!!! Act fast!

3 Responses to Interview with blogger/fashion designer: Mary Jo Matsumoto (Trust Your Style blog)

  1. kate neckel September 8, 2007 at 6:54 pm #

    always fun to hear about how people got started etc…nice job with the interview!

  2. admin September 9, 2007 at 12:10 am #

    Thanks Kate! She had a really amazing start. I love her clutches they’re really pretty colors and she is really nice and was a fun interview. Glad your reading Maquette. Keep your drawings coming.

  3. Aditi June 26, 2008 at 11:20 pm #

    Great collection of bags and an amazing designer idea of an interview is appreciable and they way she have described her design process is nice.
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    Aditi
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