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Her handbags reflect her bright outlook (2)

By Caroline Berg in New York  (China Daily)

13:18, February 28, 2013

Growing up in Ningbo in Zhejiang province, the 21-year-old Wu says she never thought she would become a fashion designer. At age 14, Wu moved to the United States and attended Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts in Manhattan.

Wu says about her education in China was more limiting in terms of her self-expression. "Coming to America helped me more design-wise, because I think the teacher is maybe more accepting to new ideas."

Wu didn't want to follow the typical career path her professors at Parsons outlined for her and her classmates: Study in the freshman sophomore years; find internships in the junior and senior years; work for a few years; and then finally start a company.

"I was like, 'I want to do it already,'" Wu says.

From the start, Wu wanted to create a bag for teenage girls. "I just want to do my own mass market, more toward teenagers because I think that market is still not that saturated," Wu says. "Luxury is maybe more saturated."

In creating her brand name, Mengdi3wu, Wu says she decided to use 3 because it's her lucky number.

Two years after establishing her brand, Wu now has seven bags in her collection. Beside her "Button Tote," there is the "Tie Tote", "Tape Tote", "Jail Tote", "White Afro Tote", "Red Afro Tote" and "Thick Lip Tote".

Wu recently completed a sample of a new makeup case, which she hopes will be ready to sell by May or June after she has organized manufacturing and shipping details.

"This time I wanted to do something more personal," Wu says of the makeup case. The case's exterior is striped yellow and black, like police tape, but she's keeping the inside design a secret for now.

Wu says inspiration for her designs comes from daily life.

"I think for teenagers it's the objects we see everyday that are more relatable," Wu says, in comparison to more abstract designs like those she has seen at the Museum of Modern Art.

Wu started selling her bags in China because they are made there and that's where her father runs a baby-apparel business. Wu does her own public relations, writing press releases she sends to newspaper and magazine editors.

Wu's tote bags are available exclusively at priced from $25 to $35. She says the original "Button Tote" is the most popular, and she believes more than 1,000 of the bags have been sold.

Although her target market is teenage girls, Wu has found the majority of her buyers are in their 30s to 40s. She speculated that those women want to be "cute and quirky," like her designs.

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Email|Print|Comments(Editor:GaoYinan、Ye Xin)

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