Bringing Business to Life: Maria Lamanna

What inspired you to launch your business? I started designing handbags in 2012. Having been unable to find a bag for myself, I made my own. Some friends and family then asked to have one too and shortly after I opened my own brand.  I never planned to work in the fashion industry, but I grew up with both parents being architects and I think I instinctively drew something that recalled the essential but gritty feeling of what I have had around me growing up, which were objects of modern architecture.   What were you doing before? I was living a more light life!   I studied History of Art and then lived abroad, where I experienced different jobs and opportunities. That’s where I designed and manufactured the very first bag, only to realise that the best place where to do so was my own country, Italy.  Where do you find inspiration for your designs? I draw inspiration from personal experiences of everyday life. The bag is seen as a collector of these experiences that belong to a woman aware of herself and her role in this society, present and future.  I am inspired by the woman I would love to become one day. What are your sustainable priorities for the brand? My husband and I thought of Maria Lamanna Sustainably Made in Italy as an entirely sustainable brand. It is difficult to achieve 100% of the sustainability goals we aim for, but we try to consider every aspect of the business – from external and internal materials, from the tags and packaging and above all the manufacturing –  strictly Made in Italy by a family owned company. Our dust bags are also made by a local association that helps women living in fragile conditions. 

Why was it important for you to launch a sustainable business?

We, as a family, live in a very sustainable way and we felt the need to apply this lifestyle to our business too, as we believe that our contribution can have an impact on this society. 

How as a family do you try to live more sustainably at home?

At home we recycle –  the kids (aged 3 and 8) both know exactly what it means and they even build toys from pre-used cartons. We do not use single use plastic, we buy food at local markets and we bring our own grocery bag – so that’s why we made one! The household cleaning products we use are eco-friendly, so are the beauty products.
We buy clothes only when we know the origin or we buy second hand, which I love and I found incredibly cool finds. We love to know where anything we buy comes from.
We do not waste food – my husband Andrea is also a professional rugby player so that’s easy for us as we never have leftovers, but I am also learning to prepare food with as less waste as possible.
We use public transport or we walk as much as possible and we drive our car once every two weeks, when strictly necessary.

Why did you choose to use ecological synthetic leather for your bags?

One of the main goals of our project is to demonstrate that sustainable does not imply any kind of waiver in terms of style. Luxury is something that makes us feel great yet it is not necessary. So it not necessary to buy items that do not respect our planet. The ecological synthetic leather we use is plant-derived and solvent free but still it looks exactly like real leather. Some animal leathers are solvent-less but we could not retrieve the origin of the raw material and we decided that not having this information would have been a risk we did not want to take.

What is your ultimate ambition for Maria Lamanna?

We hope to have a positive impact on this society and become a relevant brand in the fashion industry.

Support Maria Lamanna’s kickstarter project here.

If you’re looking for more ethical bags, see our favourite weekenders to take on your next adventure

For more sustainable brands, explore our recommended brands section in the member’s area.