Designer Emily Mahy from MAHY. Image supplied.
Emily Mahy is the designer and founder of handbag brand MAHY, which she recently rebranded from her former label Go Ask Alice. Emily began handcrafting handbags in 2011, and creates each handbag using sustainable practices with a focus on slow, considered fashion. MAHY handbags are classic in design and are carefully created to be functional, versatile and last season after season. The brand is a reflection of Emily’s sustainable and ethical values that echo her personal commitment to quality and longevity.
We caught up with Emily to find out more about her brand, what inspires her and what you would never catch her wearing!
Tell us about your latest collection?
My latest collection is also my re-brand to MAHY, previously Go Ask Alice. Putting my name on my brand makes it personal to me and what’s important to me, an extension of my ideas and ethics… New Zealand made, supporting local businesses, slow fashion, slowing down, quality and longevity.
The collection consists of simple pared-back design with totes, a festival bag, cross body bags, clutches and small cases. There is a pop of colour with an electric cobalt blue and candy pink along with more subdued tones and quality solid brass hardware. The MAHY campaign is sleek with a natural sophistication and a nod to the eighties with inspiration from Duran Duran’s Girls on Film in the mix.
What made you become a designer?
I came from a creative family, my Dad was a glassblower and my Mum always nurtured and encouraged my creativity so that’s where it all began. Early on in my career I studio managed creative design studios and got a solid understanding of the importance of creativity within our society. I love the tactile, hands-on nature of making and creating and was drawn to working with leather, the smell, the way it feels and the way it falls in form and it’s longevity as a material. Form and function is at the centre of my design approach. Simple pared-back design that works well and lasts.
Bags from MAHY’s new collection.
What inspires you?
My peers. Seeing other local small fashion businesses do well and not necessarily solely focusing on their bottom line but wanting to do good in an industry that is often fickle, wasteful and unsustainable.
Describe your personal style and how it influences your designs?
My personal style is simple pared-back design, often black or muted tones but I do like a pop of colour sometimes, very similar to my collection.
What is your all-time favourite purchase?
My coffee machine ha ha… it would have to be my industrial Pfaff sewing machine, she is about 70 years old and is amazing. Working on a machine that was made so well is a dream.
What wardrobe item should everyone invest in?
It doesn’t matter what the item is but everyone needs to think about where their wardrobe items have come from. Have they been designed and made in a sustainable and ethical way, what is the quality of the material and how long will it last?
Do you have a style rule you always obey?
Quality over quantity.
Bags from MAHY’s new collection.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Establishing Further Doings Studio with two fellow business women where we showcase our individual brands and share a creative workspace. Having the opportunity to work alongside other strong creative women and for us to be able to support and encourage each other on a daily basis has definitely been a highlight.
What can’t you live without?
My family and coffee.
Finish this sentence – You would never catch me wearing…
Fast fashion labels that only care about their bottom line.