Fashion, Interview

The Brooklyn Reader: From France to Fort Greene, Mina Miyaki Handbags are Here!

The small bags were perfect as summer totes. The color combinations were fun and playful and the designs, understated yet hypnotic. And after looking at it for a minute or two, I decided, I wanted one.
— Brooklyn Reader
Her signature product is the pink and camouflage-green “Nolita Bag,” a small purse, perfect for the summer with a long, chain-link strap. And there’s also the trapeze pouch, which is about the size of a makeup bag and comes in a variety of colors.
— Broolyn Reader
I was a character animator, and I really like organic movement and balance
— Mina
And New York is an inspiration because its’ so vibrant, the graffiti, the people, the movement…
— Mina
Get a Mina Miyaki bag now while it’s hot (and still cheap)! This Franco-American sensation recently was featured in British Vogue, so her next big move may not be overseas, but rather, into the sky… where there is no limit!
— Brooklyn Reader

Interview, Fashion

Independent Wire Profiles Mina Miyaki

Nature inspires me. Flowers, jungles, colorful feathers, fish scales, anything shimmering. And artist like Alexander Calder, Miro, Matisse, Dr. Seuss, fashion designer Christian Lacroix.
— Jasmina

Established in NYC in the fall of 2014, Mina Miyaki is a handbag design studio specialized in original prints. Bold prints, playfulness and a sharp sense of color are the hallmarks of Mina Miyaki. All the handbags and pouches are fueled by a desire to spread joy in everyday life. All of the bags are unique, handmade in NYC.

You can meet Mina in person on Saturday and Sunday May 16-17, from 1pm-8pm at Independent Runway in Crown Heights Brooklyn.

Tell us a little about yourself
I am a Parsons School of Design Alumni with an MFA in Design & Technology. And a BFA in Communication Design from France. I spent over a decade as a graphic designer, and animator in the print, web, broadcast, and video game industry. I have a passion for patterns and beautiful fabrics. 

How did you get started as a designer?
My mom taught me how to sew when I was a child. I was also drawing clothes non stop. As the years passed I got more interested in graphic design. That’s how I started my career. My interest has shifted every few years and I am now focusing on designing textile prints & handbags. 

What makes your designs special? 
It’s the fresh prints. They are colorful, joyful, playful, childlike but not childish. Mostly feminine. And the same goes for my handbags. 

Who or what inspires you?
As most artist or designers nature inspires me. Flowers, jungles, colorful feathers, fish scales, anything shimmering. And artist like Alexander Calder, Miro, Matisse, Dr. Seuss, fashion designer Christian Lacroix.

What type of people do you design for?
I design for young urban fashionistas that are not afraid to stand out. They are independent, bold, active and whimsical. Go-getters who always choose to be optimistic.

Any particular vision or goal you have in mind for your designs/business?
At this moment I am focusing on growing with more prints and more designs and more distribution channels. 

Describe one of the toughest challenges you have faced as a designer
Mostly finding a way to get my designs produced in small quantities and stay competitive. 

What has been your best moment as a designer so far?
The very first steps are always magical. The first design being produced. The first sales. The first articles. All very encouraging!

What advice would you give to others now starting out that want to do what you do?
It is good to make a plan. But especially as a beginner there are a lot you don’t know yet and can’t predict. Ultimately you learn and make progress by doing.

Are there any resources that you found really helpful that you want to share with the beginners?
If you live in NYC, you have many resources available, from Parsons Career week, to the “How to Make It” conference organized by Fashionista. There’s also mentorship opportunities with SCORE for example. If you went to a fashion school I would encourage you to keep in touch with your schoolmates and teachers. All these help grow a supportive network.

What do you do in your spare time?
I run. I draw. I make colorful juices. I go out with friends. Enjoy art shows. Discover different parts of the city.

Finish this sentence. INDEPENDENT MEANS…
FLEXIBILITY

Anything special coming up you want to tell people about?
Stay tuned for the next collection of bags. It will involve some hand drawn bunnies in a jungle. One of these bags will be on sale at Independent Runway May 16-17. I am inviting everyone to sign up to my newsletter (free shipping on the first order) and be the first to know about the next collection. www.minamiyaki.com.