Designer Paul Mascaro launches men’s luggage line, Paul Magi

Following training as an architect, like designers Paco Rabanne to Tom Ford, the British designer Paul Mascaro  focused his attention on fashion design and has recently launched a men’s luggage range, Paul Magi, which is available now. The line is the result of Paul considering the kind of luggage that offers the consumer luxury on the move. Glass speaks to Paul about how his early studies have influenced his approach to design.

You come from a background that’s heavily influenced by the principles of architecture. How would you say architectural practice informs textile design?
Firstly, I would say architecture and textile design place a strong emphasis on using materials in a way that is true to their technical characteristics. For example, cotton canvas is actually incredibly strong in tension (on a strength/weight ratio, more so than leather). Another key area for me is design language and composition. You learn about proportions and consistency and this is fundamental to create a harmonious design.

If there is one thing you learnt, a mantra of sort, during your time studying architecture, what would you say it is?
I had a tutor who was a Rome scholar and he always said architecture is about the way people live. I take that approach to designing accessories – It should look fantastic and be a pleasure to use, but you are also creating an object which is of its time and works well for its owner.

What did you gain from your decidedly diverse education?
I think I’ve managed to get some training and experience in all the facets of design, production and marketing, albeit in a range of sectors. You need to understand all of these to be successful, in my view.




If you could potentially sum it all up, how would you do so in regards to your life so far, a life which has led to crafting such covetable pieces?
I’m not sure if I can sum up my life so far in a sentence or two! I’m conscious I don’t want to have regrets later in life. Someday, I would love to look back at having created some great products which made someone happy.

You are admittedly a very well-travelled man yourself Paul, having now visited over 30 countries around the world. In what way has this had an influence on creating the type of luggage for a man in the same kind of shoes?
When I look back on the past three years or so, there were a few key moments in the development of our first designs. My favourite one is disembarking a boat onto a small island in Indonesia with our luggage. A lot of travelers had trolley bags and it was kind of comical watching them try to wheel them through the sand. My approach is to create pieces that look at home in the city, as well as on a trip out to the mountains or the sea.

You create items that are defined by a masculine aesthetic. However, what would you say defines an object as certifiably masculine in 2014?
There are two key aspects. One is the toughness of the items – they are designed to take a beating. The second is that bags are portable. I’m not sure wheeling around a trolley bag befits a fit guy in the prime of his life – just carry it.

Your products are built to last, an important component of sustainable luxury. How can you ensure that the quality you strive for will make for longevity?
The materials and the detailing. We work with materials which not only are made properly, but also age gracefully – vegetable tanned leather and natural cotton canvas. The detailing also makes extensive use of rivets which “double up” the binding of a lot of the key junctions.



The starting point for the Paul Magí Overnighter was the essential items that one night’s stay necessitates, how did this concept come about and out of curiosity, what are the essential items in your eyes?
Several years ago, I found myself travelling between London, Sofia and Barcelona nearly every month. I had a wardrobe in each city, so didn’t want to have to check in luggage and I wanted an elegant bag to carry my essentials in (rather than wheel them).  My essentials are; laptop/tablet, phone, rechargers, a wash bag, a change of clothes, sunglasses and if it is hot – sandals.

In some ways, structure is key to harmonious design for you, is this correct? If so, how important is structure to the Overnighter?
I like to look at something and understand how it is made. With the overnighter, the structural elements are all on display and in fact every detail has a specific purpose, there is no decoration.

Considered details are also intrinsic to the bags high level of quality, how much so?
I think people expect and demand performance from a quality piece. The approach always has the user experience in mind. For example, watching people fiddle with their bags at airport security had an impact on handle design. The sizing of the front pocket is informed by the size of the average male hand.


Building on this, what makes a menswear piece become subtle menswear chic for you?
For me, the form (or cut if it is clothing) is the most important aspect of a piece, provided it is constructed with quality fabric. From there style is personal, but to be subtle loud colours and branding should be exercised with caution. However, I love the clever use of bright colour. A lot of architects are scared to use colour because it is so difficult to do well. Paul Smith is a master of the using colour in unexpected ways – a vibrant lining or stitching, for instance. Another fundamental aspect for me is the juxtaposition between classic or vintage and new. I love pieces which are a modern update on a classic.



Finally, you resigned from your previous occupation to focus on your menswear brand exclusively last year. How did you find making this bold leap of faith?
It was extremely liberating at first, but I found myself having to make some (slightly unwelcome) lifestyle changes. I’m committed though. I’m in it for the long haul.

In correlation this, how do you eventually see your new primary occupation flourishing in the next five or so years?
Within five years, I want the brand to have become a reference for lifestyle accessories for men with an affinity for leisure.

by Liam Feltham

For more information about Paul Magí, please go here

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Glass Online fashion writer

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