- When you have the chance to get inside one of your favorite designers’ mind and find out more about her, it’s priceless! There are no words to describe my feelings when I get to spend time with my Mal Bags. I’m like a kid in a candy store. Mali’s “Close to the body” 2011 spring collection is the perfect time for a One On One Break with this special lady.
Mali Rokach Danai, take it away ;)
I’d love to hear about you, your journey, how it all began.
After finishing my design studies at the Accademia Italiana in Rome, I cam back to Israel and studied architecture for five years. My thesis work focused on the “inner garden”, which characterizes the overall vision of the “middle space”.
Why did you decide to design bags?
I find my design processes as a continuation to my thesis. I define a bag as a transition space where the woman carries her personal belongings: transition between the woman’s private space and the outside world. It’s not only bridges over places, but also over styles and states of mind. It becomes a personal posession which will accompany its owner for the years to come.
What led you to start your own label?
Like all good things in life, even my love affair with leather began accidentally in 2002. I went into a furniture store in order to collect leather leftovers from the upholsterer and started binding various products such as diaries, phone books which I made as gifts for friends. Then, without any expectations, I went with these product a well known store in Tel Aviv and introduced the products to them and the rest is an history. All these unique products, which were created by me one by one in my home, sold in surprising quantities and from there the way into expanding the product line and spreading into other shops was a short ride.
I’m curious to know where does your inspiration come from?
I’m inspired by the world of architecture. You can say that I’m a magazine junkie cause I have subscriptions to many architectural magazines from around the world and it definitely has a massive influence on my designs. I enjoy the unpretentious architecture. For me, the beauty is hidden in the simplicity of everyday life. I don’t appreciate busy or over decorated designs and it translates directly to the process of my design and the bags themselves.
What was the concept behind your spring collection?
I decided to name my collection “Close to the body”. The concept for this collection was anti – design, almost an unsensed sophistication, invisible even. There is a raw beauty in the items, not pretending and based on the paucity of the material itself.
And what about the inspiration for this collection?
I drew inspiration for this collection out of industrial aesthetics and the basic packing methods. This along with the motifs of the Japanese art of folding paper, origami. I sculpted the leather into a bag or purse and added only the necessary details, nothing more. Other than that, the natural colors palette is a reference to the nude human body.
What’s next? What is your dream?
I don’t have big dreams when it comes to professional aspect because I believe that things happen when the right time comes, I believe in slow and steady growth and I have lots of patience. Where I got and all I have is above and beyond what I have ever expected. Really, I didn’t think I would get to this point where I run a successful business which has two stores (the third is on the way) and sale all over the US, not to mention in the store of the SFMOMA Store and in the well known ABC Home in New York City.
Can you tell me which designers inspire you?
I have a close friend, who is also a designer and from time to time we brainstorm together. Whenever we sit together and start talking about design and fashion, I get a burst of inspiration and all I want to do is start sketching. BTW, Her name is Luci David and she is amazing and talented all at once.
Can you tell me which websites and blogs do you visit regularly?