I had the privilege of interviewing one of my favorite bloggers, Mary Jo Matsumoto of Trust your Style. Beyond blogging sheâ€™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. Theyâ€™ve been carried by the likes of Robin Wright Penn, and have appeared on Oprah, Extra, and the Oscars. Not bad!
Hereâ€™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 Mindï¿½? 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 firstname.lastname@example.org and for now, she won’t charge you shipping!!! Act fast!