Amanda Vitasovich and Kristin Armstrong from Mavrick & Mere. Image supplied.
Best friends Amanda Vitasovich and Kristin Armstrong recently launched their new handbag brand Mavrick & Mere which has been two years in the making for the designer duo. They wanted to create luxury accessories without the luxury price tag and make sure their leather was ethically sourced. The result is a small but perfectly formed debut collection of bags that are modern and sophisticated.
We caught up with Amanda and Kristin to find out more about their brand, what inspires them and what you would never catch them wearing!
Tell us about your latest collection?
Our collection embodies the blending of our two different personal styles and made them one, which really defines our brand. Often how a woman is feeling will be reflected and emphasised by her style choices in that moment.
The Mavrick in us is the stiletto wearing, quick-witted, martini drinking heart-breaker; she is always stylish, unique and ahead of the curve. Our Mavrick will love you under the lights of the club, and break your heart in the morning.
Our Mere is the girl-next-door, beautiful and sophisticated; she screams understated confidence and dresses to match. Our Mere is working hard or out to brunch with the girls, she is always dressed with trend in mind whilst navigating her life with finesse.
With the personalities of both of us flowing through the ‘KISS BANG collection’ our unapologetic statement pieces are both unique and stylish, a quality finish and simple yet beautiful custom made embellishments and hardware. The textured leather is to die for and the attention to detail we have made happen shouts luxury high-end fashion.
What made you become designers?
Amanda: A big passion for all things creative; growing up I’ve always been creative, from drawing, painting, sand-art, music, interior design, to my terrarium making obsession. To be in the fashion world creating accessories is a dream! I mean I’ve spent more time planning my outfit for work then getting to work on time!
Kristin: I have always known my creative gene has been more predominant than my academic one haha. I’ve always loved fashion and the beautiful things in life, when we decided to create our own handbag brand, it seemed like a great idea to use both our strengths and what we are passionate about! With blending our two different styles together it created the essence of Mavrick and Mere and now something unique in the NZ market.
What inspires you?
Amanda: You could say art! I always have been a lover of anything creative, which has inspired my love for textures and geometrical shapes and lines, and being experimental in these areas. Creating bags that people want to stare at because they are slightly abstract from the norm”
Kristin: I personally like my bag to be the statement feature of my outfit, especially when you are wearing jeans and a tee, we want our bags to lift your outfit from something ordinary to fab! What inspires me is putting an outfit together to be something that turn heads, adding a well-designed handbag and shoes can make all the difference!
Bags from Mavrick & Mere’s debut collection.
Describe your personal style and how it influences your designs?
Amanda: My personal style is versatile. I get bored easily, I love to feel sexy in something super chic/classy and then the next day something a bit edgier; very much seen through our branding and designs. Our bags are diverse with their own differing features and our brand is built on the two sides to a woman. We want to resonate with busy women who juggle work, family, brunch and nights out with the girls, with handbags that mould into any occasion.
Kristin: My personal style is quite diverse; I love to dress like a boy but then l’m all about dressing up to the nines to go out with the girls. You will see this in our collection, how all our bags can be diverse for any occasion.
What is your all-time favourite purchase?
Amanda: Anything purchased from Sass & Bide – never a boring item when you walk in their doors!
Kristin: My pair of Jeffery Campbell boots, every girl’s closet needs a good pair of black boots!
What wardrobe item should everyone invest in?
Amanda: A pair of black leather pants! You can dress them down with a casual tee and a pair of vans, or dress them up with a silk blouse and a pair of heels – the best, especially when traveling!
Kristin: A handbag of course! It’s undeniable a quality leather bag is an investment piece.
Bag from Mavrick & Mere’s debut collection.
Do you have a style rule you always obey?
Amanda: Rules? Rules are made to be broken in especially in fashion, that’s how killer outfits are born! Be experimental, always accessorize – an interesting outfit will often steal my eye. I have always thought your style choice that day can really be your mood changer! If you feeling a bit off, wear a colour – it can totally turn the day around! You feel how you look, right?
Kristin: No, I always dress as I feel on the day.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Kristin: Having our samples come to life and even to have come this far is amazing. Also, it can be a lot easier for an idea to only ever stay as an idea, but we have remained determined and kept pursuing our dreams to make it a reality.
Amanda: Most definitely getting this far! It’s been a whirlwind just to make it to here.
What can’t you live without?
Kristin: My doggie Kobi!!!! He’s my world and Amanda will laugh when she reads this haha.
Amanda: Since I don’t have a dog.. my boyfriend? Haha. On a serious note, the seaside and nature, I’ve always lived near the water, what else can be more inspiring!
Finish this sentence – You would never catch me wearing…
Kristin: Cork wedges, well wedges of any sort!
Amanda: Well in that case I’ll make sure I hide all my wedges next summer! Haha.. Kitten heels, I know Kristin has a few pairs, although in saying that, there’s nothing I would never wear! I’m open to experimenting in all areas of fashion.