asata maise

The Patchwork Bags You Never Knew You Needed

Asata Maisé’s glorious one-of-a-kind creations are something to see.

Summer has a few staple highlights we can typically count on, among them sunshine, ice cream, lazy beach days, and maybe a mini patchwork Asata Maisé shoulder bag. Maisé is a 27-year-old Delaware-based designer well on her way to forging her signature style with seamlessly contrasted, glorious creations.

Best known for her ’90s-style patchwork baguette shoulder bag and terry-cloth bucket hat, once you see a Maisé piece, you can see why it’s instantly recognizable (think bright, bold, and brilliantly unrepeatable). And with each drop selling out quicker than the last, all her designs seem to carry their own sense of personality under the echo of her eccentric wiggly smiley-face logo—your emotions may be mixed, but your style will never be flawed.

We chatted with Maisé and discussed everything from her style inspiration to recent events concerning the resurgence of the BLM movement and the definition of happiness.

Tell us a little more about yourself and the brand:

“In the simplest terms, I’m consciousness experiencing life as Asata. I do a lot of things, including but not limited to design and garment making, cooking and baking, travel, indulging in the luxuries of life, and spending time with my loved ones.”

When did you decide you wanted to become a designer?

“I knew I wanted to be a fashion designer when I was 16 years old. I only did custom orders in the very beginning—so my brand technically started in 2016, when I started selling clothes online.”

Where is home for you?

“Wilmington, Delaware. I appreciate it more the older I get.”

What inspires your work and design process?

“Pretty much everything I come in contact with. New places I travel to, foods, films, nature, and so on. Garbage Core, By Pseudonym, and Solitude Studios are my favorite brands at the moment.”

How do you source your materials?

“I spend hours searching through Etsy and eBay for vintage textiles. I also accept donations and shop at local fabric stores occasionally.”

What is the most beloved piece you’ve ever made?

“A red-and-black ombre silk evening dress with ruffles that took me three months to complete. I still haven’t had the pleasure of wearing it out.”

With everything going on in the world right now—with relation to the BLM movement—how have you as a Black woman processed the death of George Floyd and the consequent resurgence of the movement?

“The death of George Floyd represents so many others whose names have been forgotten. For me, it was a dose of reality that we (Black people) are still experiencing the face of death every day. It was a reminder to continue to find joy, despite the hardships I’ve faced throughout my life, and honor people while they are still here.”

Have you found it easy to stay creative during quarantine, and has your routine changed?

“I honestly went into my own sort of quarantine in January of this year. I was determined to complete my second collection, and I was broke, so I just stayed inside and worked. My routine is a little different now—I’ve moved into a larger workspace and spend more time organizing, answering emails, and preparing for my next release.”

What is your definition of happiness?

“Accepting where you are at this moment.”

And last but not least, tell us what’s next for you:

“I intend to continue to get better at what I do. Other than that, I will allow things to unfold.”

The next Asata Maisé drop will be in August, so keep an eye on Instagram for more details.

Top photo: Courtesy of Instagram/@asata.maise

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