By Laura Camerlengo

BELLA NYC goes behind-the-scenes of MARYLAI NEW YORK, the luxury leather handbag collection with ultramodern edge founded by Mary Lai. Listen in on our exclusive chat…

Who is Mary Lai?

I studied Graphic Design at the Mason Gross School of the Arts but crossed over into accessories design when I started working in New York’s fashion industry. I’ve designed bags for Rachel Zoe, Be&D, Carlos Falchi, KVZ, among others. In the past year, I’ve been awarded the Independent Handbag Designer Award for the Best Handmade Handbag and the American Express Open Rising Star of Fashion Award at Women’s Wear Daily’s Magic Market Week.

What inspired you to launch your label?
Designing my own collection and brand was always a dream. After 10 years of working for different handbag labels, I decided it was a good time to launch my own collection. I started designing the collection a year ago, and had the samples made in New York.

What do you keep in mind when designing your bags?
When I’m designing my bags, I imagine what my girlfriends or I would obsess over. My collection is about getting an emotional connection and to have the customer love what they are buying. Each bag is made in New York by local artisans with an old-world attention to detail.

Who is the MARYLAI customer?
The MARYLAI customer is someone who is confident, creative and living their dream.  They live in a major city because they love the energy. They love life and traveling the world, and my bags align with their lifestyle.


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