We sat down with New York-based designer Rebecca Minkoff to discuss her life, career, and her new collaboration with the members-only site that provides access to exclusive offers, Mintbox.com.
We’ve loved Minkoff since our very first M.A.B, or Morning After Bag. The sturdy and sleek carry-it-all has become an iconic silhouette seen on the shoulders of countless celebrities. With a hugely successful line of footwear and romantic yet edgy ready-to-wear, this fashion mogul sat down with us to discuss what’s next.
Q: In 2009, you returned to apparel design and introduced a ready-to-wear collection. What made you decide to expand your successful handbag collection into apparel?
Rebecca Minkoff: I’ve always imagined the girl who picks up one of my handbags as someone who experiences life to the fullest with a sense of classic style with edge. When I looked at the marketplace, I didn’t see apparel that fit with that vision of my customer, so I decided to go back to my roots and create clothing designed with her in mind.
Q: While we know your bags are a cult favorite of celebrities, describe the everyday woman who identifies with your aesthetic. Who is she and what lifestyle does she live?
Minkoff: She’s the downtown romantic. She’s someone who juggles friends, love, and career with a sense of style. Someone who sees the world with a bit of whimsy and isn’t afraid to let loose and have a good time. She’s the girly girl with edge, a woman who balances the delicate with the hardcore.
Q: What is one accessory, regardless of trend or season, every woman should own?
Minkoff: A carry-all like the Morning After Bag.
Q: You’ve been known to be an innovator in the social media space, and now you’re collaborating with Mintbox to bring everyday consumers into your showroom for the first time. What made you want to open your showroom to non-celebrities or members of the media?
Minkoff: Our brand was built by our customers, and any opportunity we have to connect to them is one I try to embrace.
Q: We love attending your runway shows during fashion week. They have so much energy and there’s always some sort of surprise, such as Sean Lennon playing. What can we expect from the upcoming Spring/Summer 2012 Rebecca Minkoff show?
Minkoff: If I told you, it wouldn’t be a surprise!
Q: While you were born in San Diego, you moved to NYC after high school to pursue your passion of fashion. So, that makes you a New Yorker. What are your favorite NYC haunts?
Minkoff: My favorite spots right now include Freeman’s Alley, Sperone Westwater, and Saks Fifth Avenue.
Q: We’ve seen all sorts of celebrity/designer collaborations: Kate Moss/Topshop, Chloe Sevigny/Opening Ceremony, Loeffler Randall/Suno, and so on. What are your thoughts on these, and who would be your dream collaborator?
Minkoff: Wow. All of these [people] would be amazing to work with. The Kate Moss collection was so exciting, and I’d love to be able to work on something like that.
Q: First bags, then clothing, now you’re in men’s with the Ben Minkoff collection, shoes. Where do you want to go next with the brand?
Minkoff: We have a few very exciting announcements coming up that will show how this brand is quickly becoming a lifestyle brand. Right now, our most exciting announcement is the opening of a shop-in-shop in Los Angeles, which has already attracted celebrity clientele such as Jayma Mays, Lauren Conrad, Agyness Deyn, Ashton Kutcher, Chris Pine, Jennifer Carpenter, and other California-based fans of the brand.
Q: Congrats! You’re having a baby very soon! How has this changed your outlook on life and work?
Minkoff: Right now, not too much has changed. I still think both work and my home life are important, and I still leave [work] after 6 p.m. and get in at 9 a.m. latest! I am, though, going to take a full month off once the baby arrives.
Q: When you’re not wearing Rebecca Minkoff, what designers do you rock?
Minkoff: Balenciaga, Eddie Borgo and Isabel Marant.
Q: You’ve organically created a successful brand and have the recognition of being the No.1 independent accessories brand in the U.S. What advice would you give to budding designers who aren’t funded and scared to take the plunge into the industry?
Minkoff: It’s better to try and fail than to never try at all.
Pialy Aditya and Zoe Neuschatz are co-founders of Mintbox (www.mintbox.com), a members-only site that provides access to exclusive offers and cash back from top brands such as Bloomingdales, Saks, Shopbop, and Sephora.
Neuschatz has worked with leading fashion and media brands such as Urban Zen by Donna Karan, Tiffany & Co., Teen Vogue, MTV, and Departures Magazine. Aditya has advised luxury fashion houses including Donna Karan International. She sits on the Board of Alicia Keys’ company, AKW, and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School.
They can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org