Maya Winston on the Inspiration Behind His Luxury Handbags and Maintaining Cultural Identity
The 2020 racial reckonings heightened awareness across many industries, especially fashion, ushering in a new era where BIPOC designers were supported and given the voice they deserve.
The 2020 racial reckonings heightened awareness across many industries, especially fashion, ushering in a new era where BIPOC designers were supported and given the voice they deserve. This push paved the way for more Black-owned brands to emerge on the scene, and one newcomer has managed to set themselves apart from the rest - Maya Winston. In just one year of business, the Jamaican-born designer, now based in New York City, has created a luxury accessory label that's known for its viral handbags uniquely crafted in the Asia Pacific and the Middle East, including their small leather tote, most popularly worn by Angela Simmons, Tia Mowry, and Remy Ma.
"It's just those Jamaican roots; we can make anything fashionable."
Winston has since catapulted into the luxury bag market with a brand identity that's just as rich as the quality of his pieces. At 11, he migrated with his family to the US, where he learned firsthand how to sew from his mother, a sought-after seamstress, establishing the foundation of the Maya Winston brand. "Growing up in Jamaica, my mom was always making everyone's clothes, and as far as I could think back, I've always been surrounded by sewing machines, where I would often stitch my uniform whenever I messed it up," Winston tells POPSUGAR. "It's just those Jamaican roots; we can make anything fashionable. Take nothing and make it into something."
With over a decade spent cultivating his love for design (even starting the men's streetwear line Terry Winston in 2013, once worn by Teyana Taylor), the Bronx native transitioned to creating accessories for the elevated and confident woman, regardless of demographic. His highly-coveted bags have also captured the attention of major companies like Samsung, which resulted in an exclusive collaboration during New York Fashion Week that included a fireside chat with Winston and a billboard in Times Square. "I always told myself, I'm going to have a billboard one day. But I never stopped to think about what it would look like or its message," he says. "It was surreal, and Samsung was the perfect company to get consumers to know the face behind the name; it just made sense."