We caught up with Style Coordinator, Samantha Wattson, who guides the creative process of producing our seasonal lines, to get the behind-the-bag story of designing the SS16 Collection.
MZ: How is this collection different from previous bags the weavers have made in the past? Do you see certain styles of weaving that feels fresh and different from other lines?
Sam: The designers played more with stripes, a new addition to our bags. We’ve never used stripes before because it’s not a unique design, but what they did really worked. They also played well with space, leaving open places in the design which creates a really nice standout simplicity. The designers were able to apply multiple design techniques from the past and bring them all together very nicely.
How is the idea of creating a seasonal line received by the weavers?
At first it was difficult for them because they were used to using what they had on hand. Now they need to make designs with specific colors which can take more time. It’s been a challenge for the designers to communicate this with the weavers, that the colors can’t be switched.
How much of the pattern and models of the bags are designed by you and the rest of the US based team and how much is created by the artisans themselves?
About 80% is designed by the artisans and 20% by the US team and myself. First, I make an inspiration board with design ideas. For the SS16 line I used visual art focused on geometric design and then let them work creatively from there. Once they make up an example tapete (wool rug) I approve, disapprove, or have them make slight changes to color and/or design.
Was creating this line easier or more difficult than the past? Why?
Easier! This is our 4th collection now and the designers are having a better understanding of the US market and what people are attracted to. Many of them have been with us for 4 years now and have seen what bags sell more. I think they’re getting used to timelines, I see the dye process has become quicker and quicker.
“The designers have grown a better sense of simplifying a design, while keeping it interesting.”
Were any new designers involved in the process of making this line that hadn’t worked with MZ before?
We have one new designer joining the MZ team, Graciela, who has two clutches in the SS16 line. Graciela and her husband join the MZ Spring collection, bringing in some wonderful creativity. We’re really excited to see what Graciela brings to the table.
Which new bag is your personal favorite? Why?
I adore our newest bag, this Spring’s Antonia tote. This tote is super versatile, I can bring it to the market or stick my computer in it for work.
I find the Antonia tote to be really sophisticated and softly beautiful. I absolutely love the new papaya color used in the Spring 2016 collection.