Design Star

Linda Marcus in her Milwaukee Street Studio, Photographed by Richard Perez, and Ilana Gilbert.

Great designers are often inspired by personal experiences and their surroundings; with that in mind, handbag designer Linda Marcus has great things to look forward to. A former journalist, Marcus spent plenty of her time around the U.S sharing stories about her subjects, very much like her new found title as founder and head designer. Linda launched LMD, a handbag line popular among stylish women who have found a way to balance social and professional aspirations. Audrey Hepburn meets Joan Jett, LMD designs fashion that is classy with an urban edge. Suburbanites who habitually escape the open landscape of Mequon, Brookfield, and Lake Geneva can collect LMD’s frequently updated collection at the Milwaukee Art Museum, 3rd Ward Jewelry, and the Londonberry Showroom, all in downtown Milwaukee. For those who decide to shop exclusively in Milwaukee’s suburban oasis, Gigi of Mequon, and Grand Geneva Resort’s Hillcroft’s Gift Shop both carry LMD.

414: Leather is largely used throughout your collection. What attracts you to the material?

LMD: I love leather because it is both strong and soft, two ideas I am constantly playing with. Strong like a woman on the outside, yet soft and supple and beautiful on the inside, also like a woman.

414: You mentioned a connection between your handbags, and nature; specifically the trees you’ve come across during your morning runs. At what point in the creation process did you decide to incorporate nature into your patterns?

LMD: I don’t think it was a conscious decision. All I know is that I was always drawn to trees on my morning run. The textural patterns on them as well as the idea behind bark. When I got to thinking about what bark was to a tree it all kind of made sense. Bark protects a tree from the elements outside. Once I made that connection between bark or protection and the outside of a handbag, it all made sense to me.

“I have always been drawn to how women dress. I am particularly interested in how a strong, independent woman dresses and how she maneuvers in the world today. All of my designs are named after many of the unique women who have touched my life.” Linda Marcus

414: The functionality and designs of handbags have been modified throughout the years. In what ways does LMD represent the modern woman and her use of handbags?

LMD: A modern woman has a lot of pressures, to be a mom, a career woman and also someone who gives back. An LMD bag allows a woman to navigate the world around her, with a bag that is aesthetically edgy and also functional at the same time. Moreover, a portion of the proceeds from our bags goes to KIVA, a micro business loan organization. The great part of KIVA is we get to pick the person we present funds to and we pick women in textile-based business. So the woman who wears an LMD bag can feel good not just about wearing the bag, but also what the bag represents, which is a helping hand to other women.

414: Producing your collection in the U.S is a critical aspect of your brand. What have been the pros and cons of this production strategy?

LMD: It was very hard to find a manufacturer in the U.S; as many have gone out of business. I felt it was very important because I know MADE IN THE USA is important to me and I think it is to my customer. The advantage to doing this is keeping jobs in America, but the downside is that it is much more expensive to manufacture here.

414: LMD is best paired with: Dresses or Denim?

LMD: I think an LMD bag can go with either depending on the style of bag. Most of my clutches can go day to night. The larger bags are for women who have a busy workday and need an edgy functional bag.

LMD has a rather innovative way of designing. Linda designs organically, letting the materials dictate the final aura of each handbag. Furthermore using the highest- grade leathers, and when possible, remnant leathers and recycled fastens guarantees a well-produced product, shaped to be admired by many. Did I mention all materials are produced in the U.S? Think of it as LMD’s answer to fashion’s stimulus package.

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