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Admittedly, Tbags Los Angeles has suffered the consequences of an Urban Dictionary-unfriendly name, but that never stopped it from scoring a starry following since its 2001 launch. Founded by Shadi Askari-Farhat, the LA-based brand began with bohemian-inspired carryalls and quickly expanded to jersey maxi dresses favored by Alessandra Ambrosio, Paris Hilton, and more paparazzi-stalked celebrities.
"Little did I know it would turn into a clothing line and fast forward 15 years," Askari-Farhat reveals. "I also didn't know the meaning of the word until years later!" Since its inception, the locally-produced label has grown up alongside its founder and matured into more elevated global influences — which is why Askari-Farhat is reintroducing the brand as Misa, a new line of globetrotter essentials inspired by California.
For its spring 2016 debut, the reborn brand has upgraded from youthful boho essentials to refined separates and accessories, like double-layered chiffon tank tops, off-the-shoulder lace peasant dresses, and embroidered tunics finished with tassels ($159 to $203). The brand hasn't neglected its bag beginnings: the new collection also includes colorful pom-pom accessories and straw tote bags ($28 to $108), which pair perfectly for beach days and global adventures.
Below, read on to find out more about the inspiration behind Misa's spring range, where Askari-Farhat shops in LA, and more.
What's the full story behind the brand's original name, Tbags, and how'd you come up with Misa?
It was merely a catchy name for a handbag line, playing off the word "bags". I had to think of a cute name overnight because the entire opportunity of hand sewing more of my own creations as "samples" and creating a "brand" was presented to me with only a few days to make market week.
Like my own life, I have evolved as a person, a designer, and as a new mother. My taste and designs have evolved into a more sophisticated palate, luxurious fabrications and silhouettes. Misa, a combination of my daughters' names, Milla and Sayeh, will embody this natural evolvement and is who I am today.
How has your design philosophy changed since the brand first began as Tbags?
I started tbagslosangeles with my collection of handmade handbags. Quickly I was encouraged to expand my designs into a full collection of ready-to-wear.
Who or what's the inspiration behind the spring '16 collection?
My inspiration was the romantic bohemian. I wanted to portray a casual elegance by incorporated easy breezy fabrications including chiffons, burnout lace, and gauze.
How has the LA lifestyle inspired your line?
Living in Los Angeles, I would say I combine my relaxed California aesthetic with a bit of a refined edge....allowing Misa to translate from sea to city. The Misa collection is deeply inspired by my travels and my love for global style.
What are a few of your favorite places to shop, relax, and play in LA?
I love to relax with a cup of coffee at Café Luxxe, play at home with my two daughters, and shop...well pretty much everywhere, from Barneys to flea markets. You never know what you will find!