East meets West with bag design Mehru Mu
Melis Alphan ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Mutlu aims to stay simple about her design philosophy. ‘It has to have a form that supports busy lifestyles. The tote will never go out of style,’ she says.
Güneş Mutlu designed the first Mehry Mu bag when she could not find any quality designer bags that were also affordable to sell on her website at the time.
She decided to create a bag that incorporated some ikat fabrics she had bought from the Grand Bazaar and some Eastern patterns. And just like that, the first Mehry Mu bag was produced. She made a few different colors of the same bag and called it the “Spice Bag.” It was an instant hit.
A few years later, Mutlu decided to improve Mehry Mu as a full brand with a bigger collection.
The hand of Fatima as a symbol (also referred to as hamsa) seemed to have a huge impact on people. It was widely used in jewelry and in her experience with online retailing, she knew that it did well in sales. So she had a huge and simple, gold metal hand of Fatima made and mounted onto her signature tote bag.
She added a Moroccan tile motif leather cutout with hand stitching and lined the bag with an ikat fabric once again. The first “Rez Bag,” soon to become a popular bag in Turkey, was produced.
Mutlu started sales at Midnight Express Bebek, an exclusive boutique in Istanbul, where her brand became an instant success.
After Midnight Express, Mehry Mu entered Beymen Blender, which carried the brand to even more people. It is the only Turkey-based accessories brand at Beymen Blender, where it is sold next to the likes of Marc by Marc Jacobs, and is doing very well.
“It was a tough decision in the beginning, to decide whether to start the growth process in Turkey or abroad,” said Mutlu. She decided that a Turkey-originated brand should have a strong presence in its own country first, before expanding internationally.
“And it did become popular and strong here, also allowing us to finance our future international investments,” she added.
Mehry Mu bags are carried at Fred Segal Los Angeles and shoplatitude.com in the United States. New sales points in the U.K. and the Middle East are on the way.
Her design philosophy is simple: “It has to have a form that supports busy lifestyles. The tote will never go out of style, as it is a light weight bag that carries so many things in it. It will always be a wardrobe staple and a necessity.”
Mutlu also makes easy clutches and shoulder bags that all stick to the same point of view. Added to that is the Eastern design elements that she is in love with; domes, doors, rugs and jewelry from India to Morocco are among her inspirations. She always makes sure that a Moroccan or Ottoman motif that inspires her does not overpower the design. “It should be a subtle touch rather that turning it into an ethnic-looking bag that will last only a few seasons,” she said. The concept of “East meets West” has been very relevant and important over the last few years, and that is what Mehry Mu is also tapping into. It brings together Western forms with a touch of Eastern design. Mehry Mu bags are also a meeting point for “ancient and new,” just like Istanbul.