' Behind the Bag: Creating SS19 – MZ

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Behind the Bag: Creating SS19

Behind the Bag: Creating the SS19 Collection


Spring is IN! Nothing brings more joy than hints of spring after a long winter. Longer days, pink blossoms, and the promise of warm weather ... not to mention an opportunity to invite some style back into your life!

Our latest collection of 11 spring-ready bags are handwoven from a soft palette of dusty pink, a serene corn silk yellow, clay and ocean blues - a perfect pop of color to accessorize your warm-weather wardrobe. We’ve introduced a variety of bag models that feature a minimalist take on the traditional Zapotec designs.

“I wanted to go for softer tones this spring. Spring is a time for renewal and rebirth, and these colors foster a calm and harmonic energy.”

- Samantha Wattson, Design Coordinator

 

 

 

 

Spring is IN! Nothing brings more joy than hints of spring after a long winter. Longer days, pink blossoms, and the promise of warm weather ... not to mention an opportunity to invite some style back into your life!

Our latest collection of 11 spring-ready bags are handwoven from a soft palette of dusty pink, a serene corn silk yellow, clay and ocean blues - a perfect pop of color to accessorize your warm-weather wardrobe. We’ve introduced a variety of bag models that feature a minimalist take on the traditional Zapotec designs.

“I wanted to go for softer tones this spring. Spring is a time for renewal and rebirth, and these colors foster a calm and harmonic energy.”

- Samantha Wattson, Design Coordinator

The Collaborative Design Process

We wanted to explore simplifying and modernizing some of the woven designs, without losing the symbols that are unique to Zapotec textiles and contain such rich historical and cultural significance. (You can learn more about Zapotec designs here!)

In order to execute this, we employed a collaborative design process led by our Design Coordinator in Oaxaca, Samantha Wattson. Drawing inspiration from the Zapotec designs that you can see carved into stone in the Zapotec ruins here in Oaxaca, and prevalent in the local textiles, she mocked up some paired down versions of these same symbols to share with the weavers. The culmination of this line is also bittersweet, as it was Sam’s final project with MZ.

The samples the artisans end up weaving tend to draw from the design inspiration we offer, but with a unique spin all their own. We go back and forth between the artisan and the US-based design teams to make adjustments to the color or pattern, and then settle on final samples. The end results are the bags that achieve what we were intending -  designs that bridge the traditional and the modern.

“This is the last line I created with MZ, so it was extra special in many ways. There were a few designs that I had been playing with over the last year that really came together for spring, like the Milpa Maria Tote. Being able to include these designs in my last line with MZ was a personal success, and I am glad to not have them half conceptualized on my computer screen anymore.”

- Sam

Each bag from the collection is finished with a beautiful blond leather and metal hardware, and then sewn and finally tagged by the same artisan who designed it. Having one person carry a product throughout the entire process does take more time than having assembly line production. However, it also ensures that every single bag is quality ensured by the person who takes the most pride in it.

"I have worked with Josefina, Rocio, Malena, Maria Luisa and Antonia and their families for five years through MZ, and have known them for over eight years through other projects. For years I would meet with them on a weekly basis, I have watched their kids grow up and go to college and I have seen them grow as artisans. I have learned endlessly from them and can only hope that I imparted some knowledge to them. This wasn’t goodbye, but it was the culmination of many years of working together."

- Sam

 

 

Shooting the Lookbook


For the lookbook, we wanted to share the beauty of Oaxaca and show off the colors of the local landscape that inspired the SS19 palette. The perfect location was found in a newly renovated hacienda called Ex-Hacienda San Antonio. The wardrobe was comprised of pieces from two Oaxacan designers, Origen Textil and Maria Ospina. Shot by Jesús Alberto aka ChuchoPotts and modeled by Samara, we were able to match the beauty of the bags with the locale using local talent.

The Collaborative Design Process

We wanted to explore simplifying and modernizing some of the woven designs, without losing the symbols that are unique to Zapotec textiles and contain such rich historical and cultural significance. (You can learn more about Zapotec designs here!)

In order to execute this, we employed a collaborative design process led by our Design Coordinator in Oaxaca, Samantha Wattson. Drawing inspiration from the Zapotec designs that you can see carved into stone in the Zapotec ruins here in Oaxaca, and prevalent in the local textiles, she mocked up some paired down versions of these same symbols to share with the weavers. The culmination of this line is also bittersweet, as it was Sam’s final project with MZ.

The samples the artisans end up weaving tend to draw from the design inspiration we offer, but with a unique spin all their own. We go back and forth between the artisan and the US-based design teams to make adjustments to the color or pattern, and then settle on final samples. The end results are the bags that achieve what we were intending -  designs that bridge the traditional and the modern.

“This is the last line I created with MZ, so it was extra special in many ways. There were a few designs that I had been playing with over the last year that really came together for spring, like the Milpa Maria Tote. Being able to include these designs in my last line with MZ was a personal success, and I am glad to not have them half conceptualized on my computer screen anymore.”

- Sam

Each bag from the collection is finished with a beautiful blond leather and metal hardware, and then sewn and finally tagged by the same artisan who designed it. Having one person carry a product throughout the entire process does take more time than having assembly line production. However, it also ensures that every single bag is quality ensured by the person who takes the most pride in it.

"I have worked with Josefina, Rocio, Malena, Maria Luisa and Antonia and their families for five years through MZ, and have known them for over eight years through other projects. For years I would meet with them on a weekly basis, I have watched their kids grow up and go to college and I have seen them grow as artisans. I have learned endlessly from them and can only hope that I imparted some knowledge to them. This wasn’t goodbye, but it was the culmination of many years of working together."

- Sam

 

 

Shooting the Lookbook


For the lookbook, we wanted to share the beauty of Oaxaca and show off the colors of the local landscape that inspired the SS19 palette. The perfect location was found in a newly renovated hacienda called Ex-Hacienda San Antonio. The wardrobe was comprised of pieces from two Oaxacan designers, Origen Textil and Maria Ospina. Shot by Jesús Alberto aka ChuchoPotts and modeled by Samara, we were able to match the beauty of the bags with the locale using local talent.

It’s always an honor to share the rich culture of Oaxaca, both through its traditions and its contemporary interpretations. We can only hope this translates into the final collection.

“I hope everyone can find something that resonates with them in this line. Happy spring a todos!”

— Sam 

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