Fashion News (SOTAC Magazine Newsletter, http://www.sotacmag.com)
By Tamara Walker
Recently, I had the pleasure of chatting with New Jersey-based handbag designer, Terina McKinney, founder and designer for Jypsea (www.jypsea.com ). The Newark born and Irvington raised designer, is a graduate of New York’s famed Fashion Institute of Technology and credits her foray into fashion to her seamstress Mom and a natural penchant for art. When it comes to Jypsea, the line of hand-crafted leather goods, exclusivity is the key. Each piece is one of a kind or made in very limited quantities–a policy that is inline with Terina’s motto that accessories are the finishing touch on someone’s personal statement on style and that “mass- produced accessories just aren’t that personal.” Ms. McKinney also makes custom pieces.
Q. What is Jypsea?
A. Jypsea is a line of hand crafted leather goods. Each piece is one of a kind or made in very limited quantities. I think accessories add a personal statement and that mass-produced accessories just aren’t very personal. I also make custom pieces because I think that giving people an opportunity to have a say about the creation of their things make the items mean more and be less disposable.
Q.What does the name mean? Who came up with it?
A. I was being called a gypsy because I moved around a lot from the time I was 18-23. I was very spontaneous and enjoyed being in new environments. I remembered this when I thought of the name of my line. It needed to evoke the bohemian lifestyle and yet have a personal meaning to me. Jypsea has a bohemian and vintage vibe paired with modern simplicity.
Q. How was Jypsea born?
A. I owned a small shop selling vintage accessories and during slow times, I’d sew. Eventually my handmade bags were selling faster than anything else and Jypsea was born. The carried in three boutiques before I shut down to concentrate on earning my degree. I handled all aspects of the business alone while attending school F/T and became overwhelmed and exhausted. I just re-launched the line September 2006 after a three-year hiatus spent finishing school, working in the fashion industry and being a mommy.
Q. What made you want to start your own line?
A. I have always planned to be a fashion designer and earned my degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology. I don’t particularly enjoy designing for established brands in the stale corporate environment and feel I’m best put to use working independently as a business owner.
Q. What sets Jypsea apart from others?
A. There only seems to be two types of accessories on the market today. High end bags that are extremely expensive or mass-produced, cheaply made bags. I wanted to see well-made accessories created of fine and exotic leathers done in small lots so that they are about as unique of each of us are. This is why Jypsea exists.
Q. Looking ahead, what do you have in store for Spring 2007?
A. Big Bags! I specialize in the clutch but I also love the BIG BAG and I’ve been getting a great deal of requests for them. I will also introduce footwear and men’s accessories for Spring 07.
Q. Are you thinking about opening a Jypsea boutique?
Q. Where do you see Jypsea in 5 years? 10 years?
A. In five years there will be two boutiques and in 10, I’d like to see my concept of hand crafted limited edition accessories in Jypsea boutiques in 10 major cities throughout the country. The boutiques will not just sell accessories but have workshops on designing and making custom accessories, too. It’ll be a great community establishment for art and fashion shows, open mics, and other gatherings.
Q. Where can SOTAC’s fashionistas buy Jypsea?