Interview by Virginia Villari
The creative mind behind the
new and sleek handbag brand MCCLLM is New York-based designer Rachel McCollum,
a strong, independent woman living a busy and dynamic life, always on the go. Her fast-paced, glamorous lifestyle and the
challenges that it presents are the inspiration for the MCCLLM handbag
collection: versatile, elegant, minimalist, functional and representative of female innovators, tastemakers, and
self-starters who know what it means to be a woman in charge.
Rachel McCollum with MCCLLM black Tote bag.
us about the concept behind your brand.
in 2016, MCCLLM is a luxury handbag brand designed in New York and handcrafted
in Italy. Our brand essence lies in a refined sense of functionality combined
with modern sensibility and inimitable craftsmanship. Our mission, to create versatile,
high-quality and elegant handbags for women on the move, informs all our
creative and strategic decisions.
core of my design philosophy is the concept of ‘less-is-more’. I draw a lot of
inspiration from modern architecture so every bag’s design references
sculptural shapes and a clean-edge aesthetic – with unexpected elements. Each
bag has multiple padded compartments with paperboard folding for office files
and devices as wells as pockets for cords. We exclusively use rare and highly resilient
materials and the interior leather has been treated to have soft fibers,
enabling computers and other electronics to be placed inside without protective
covers. Each product is also completely water-resistant from the inside out!
Large Totes from the Black On White Collection.
How was the
journey from the idea to the full realization and launch of your bag line?
say that my initial inspiration to create my own handbag line was sparked while
studying at Parsons The New School for Design in New York City. Back then I
faced a personal problem: finding a spacious bag that I could use everyday for
school without having to compromise on quality or style. After an unsuccessful
quest for the perfect work-life bag I decided to just design my own backpack. A
couple of my girlfriends were having the same issue and since they really loved
my “prototype”, I ended up having a small series of them handmade in Colombia.
Then a couple years later, when I was working with the Austrian luxury
accessories designer Devi Kroell, I came to realize that there was still a rigid
dichotomy between fashion and function in the luxury handbag industry. I could
see that most high end products were mainly focusing on aesthetic properties
and design, instead of putting much thought into the usability of bags and
women’s lifestyles. This realization pushed me to reimagine the women’s work
bag. After 2 year of extensive research and endless prototyping, I finally
launched my own handbag line “MCCLLM” in 2016. All pieces in this first
collection of functional handbags feature clear lines, use luxurious materials
and are effortless to wear.
Clutches from the Black On White Collection.
How much did NYC influence the style of the
lifestyle definitely had a huge influence on my creative process that went into
designing the first collection called “Black On White”. New Yorkers live in a
fast paced environment and are constantly on the move. That came especially
apparent when I looked at New York women. Most women usually go from the gym to
the office and then to after-work drinks, without having time to stop at home.
They literally carry their whole life inside their bags. I put this need for
“travel-friendly” bags at core of MCCLLM. I wanted to create bags that allowed
women to seamlessly transition throughout all their daily activities, without
having to compromise on elegance and style.
Small Totes from the Black On White Collection.
kind of woman do you have in mind when you design your products?
describe the personal style of the MCCLLM woman as elegant understatement
paired with a take-me-seriously quality. She is a
modern, independent woman who buys what she wants, when she wants. This woman
is a driven professional who strives towards the top, but she definitely also
wants to look good when she gets there ;).
your brand in 3 words:
are the bags made? Where can they be purchased?
All products are handcrafted in Italy by a small team of artisan
masters who are recognized as a symbol of quality and tradition. Our craftsmen
hold a strong commitment to creating handbags that are supremely constructed,
providing long-lasting product use to a standard of perfection. Our first
collection “Black On White” was launched at beginning of 2017 and can be found
online at MCCLLM.com
next step for your collection in 2017?
want to explore new colors for the upcoming season since the first collection
was dominated by black and white. We are also working on adding new little
touches that will have a big impact on versatility, allowing our bags to do
more and to be used in more contexts.