By Calvin Berry
Lindsey Mortensen, the mind behind the LA-based leather bag and accessories studio Larsen & Lund, has worked at nearly every level of fashion production. Beginning her career as a dyer, she moved on to textile design and finally fashion design, along the way becoming intimately familiar with the many steps that go into making the kind of work she’s now known for: timelessly beautiful staple bags that match luxury with functionality. Her years of hands-on experience shine through in her company’s ethos, with small production runs that are made completely by hand in their DTLA workshop. Lindsey has been a longtime friend and recent collaborator of Poketo, having recently created an exclusive version of her Crossbody Bag for us. We reached out to her to ask her a few questions about her work, her inspiration and her creative perspective.
Who are currently some of your biggest influences, in design, in life and otherwise?
I’ve always been inspired by art that evokes a sense of wonder, and some of the biggest influences on me are ones I’ve carried with me since childhood. Jim Henson’s work and legacy has been a big one for me. I also love the work of Anish Kapoor, Karl Blossfeldt and Constantin Brancusi.
What are your favorite materials to work with, and why?
I really enjoy working with leather and canvas. The natural way leather folds and drapes can be so beautiful and I love that because it’s a natural material, it changes and evolves over time and with use. I love working with artist canvas because of its color and the incredible durability and structure it has. You can make forms out of it that immediately have a life of their own.
What’s the design philosophy behind the Crossbody bag?
The philosophy behind the Crossbody Bag itself is that it’s supposed to be the quintessential, everyday bag. Growing up, I saw my mom carry the same Coach purse every single day. I didn’t matter what the season was or what she was wearing. I loved the idea of making something that could be as classic and timeless and that could not only be a part of one’s everyday life, but would also be a small enough size to be the perfect travel companion.
Can you share a bit about your creative process? Where do your ideas come from and how do you see them into fruition?
My creative process often starts off with thinking about what I can make that would fill a need and hopefully streamline something in my life as well. For example, I created my leather tote bag because I needed something to carry my laptop that would also look nice and could make me feel put together, even if I was rushing out of the house. Then I draw it, make a pattern, and create a sample. But the sample has to give me a feeling of excitement. It’s impossible to quantify but I know the design is done when I take it in my hands and open it up and think, “I can’t wait to wear this!”
Besides Poketo, you’ve had the chance to collaborate with a lot of LA artists and creatives. Can you tell us about some of your favorites?
The projects have varied, but some favorite collaborations were with Abigail Spencer and The Pablove Foundation. Abigail and I worked together to come up with four unique colors of the Crossbody Bag that she felt fit into her life and the things she was doing. Besides being a talented actress, she’s also an incredible dancer, and so it was fun to work that into the photoshoot we did. The collaboration with The Pablove Foundation was really meaningful to me, because it’s an organization that is very close to my heart. I worked together with their co-founder and president Jo Ann Thrailkill to create two exclusive bags, with 100% of the proceeds donated to the foundation. Another favorite was collaborating with Alex Takacs (Young Replicant) in designing the costumes for the music video ‘Lovely Bloodflow’ by Baths. It was so fun to help create characters that exist in this beautiful fantasy world.
How has living in Los Angeles and being a part of the LA community affected your own work?
I’ve found that the creative community here is really inclusive. Everyone is so excited to share ideas and collaborate. And I think because of that, there’s a palpable energy and momentum that is infectious and inspires people to want to create and just make cool stuff.
Are there any upcoming projects or collaborations you’re excited about?
Besides working on a few new bag styles that I’m really excited about, I’ve also started to develop custom brass hardware. I created a brass handle that I’ll be using soon on one or two of my bags, but I’m also excited about all of the other possibilities that working with brass will allow!