Shaina Mote is the Los Angeles based designer behind her eponymous line, which she launched in 2012. Since her company’s inception, Shaina’s collections have been guided by the principles of sustainability, and longevity - opting for natural fabrics and designing with a distinctly modern and feminine woman in mind.
We paid her a visit on a recent sunny afternoon to ask her the questions from this ongoing Journal series in light of our recent Moura Tote bag collaboration and Are Studio’s month-long residency at her new brick & mortar store in Highland Park.
How does choosing your bag and its contents tie into your daily ritual?
Each day brings with it a different feeling, need and agenda I base my choice of what I carry based on the events of my day.
What are the non-functional/meaningful things that you carry with you on a daily basis?
I am minimal and practical when it comes to what I carry on the day to day. However, I am deeply romantic at heart and I carry a classic passport image of my partner with me at all times.
What expressive function does your bag have for you?
I like to think of my bag as an exclamation point to the outfit I put together. I believe a bag can bring a look together and solidify an idea or feeling within ones style. My mood and style changes ever so slightly every day, but I always gravitate towards monochromatic, tonal looks and soft, sensual yet utilitarian styling.
How does your bag (read: shape, features, size, material, etc.) inform the way you carry yourself, the activities you choose to do, the way you engage with your surroundings?
I find a softly draped leather bag, like the Barrel Bag I have had for years, an essential piece for my day to day as a designer. I can tuck my moleskin into the main pocket, my lipstick into one front pocket and any colored or textured fabrics I am drawn to into the other front pocket. This is my bag of choice for work.
I sometimes carry a small beaded bag I got at a thrift store in Paris with me, it has a small envelope shape and a texture that feels exciting with uniform dressing and fancy with an evening look. This piece has a playful and dainty feel to it that makes me feel very feminine.
Choosing a bag can be an act of expansion or a pairing down to essentials. Which one of these do you gravitate toward (and why)?
I have a very essentialist style and point of view. Though my home has a warm feel, it is quite paired back, open and airy. I like things this way — free, open, easy to navigate and paired down. I never carry much and this tends to make me feel so much more free.
What shapes, features, materials, textures, and/or functions are inspiring your creative process currently?
The color emerald has been so powerful in my creative mind recently. It is such a classy, neutral hue that we don't see much of currently in terms of fashion or interiors. Texture wise, I love a roughly hewn ceramic vessel that does not feel precious or pretentious with high sheen and lacquer finish. I love a humble idea paired to an opulent finish.
Shop the limited edition Moura Bag.
Photographs by Jane Dylan Cody
Shot on location at Shaina Mote's Highland Park store and studio, located at
5003 N Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, CA 90042