First off, where are you both from and how long have you been working together?
We met at Parsons in 2006, and in 2010 we started talking about making something. 2011 is when we really started to get serious, we finally met at a cafe in Paris and started really developing the idea of it all.
When was the moment when you both knew that this was going to be a “thing”?
There was always talk between us about it when we were in school because we admired each other's work, but we were young. It all felt very organic, the timing was perfect. Melissa was in London doing a masters and was moving to Barcelona. So I decided to quit my job and move there as well, it just so happened that my lease was ending around that time, so it was literally perfect timing.
Who was the first celebrity that was seen wearing your bag?
This is actually a funny story. So we hadn’t launched the brand yet (we launched in September 2012), and we knew we needed to put a bag on Kate Bosworth. We loooove her style. She’s just one of our fashion muses. We finally locked down her publicist and sent her an email, and she responded immediately getting Kate a bag and one for herself. Within two weeks, she was wearing the bag constantly! Paparazzi had photos of her doing everything from traveling to going to the gym with it.
Where did the needle bag idea come from? I see a lot of architecture references in your work.
When creating a new brand we wanted to develop our own hardware. We were at this flea market in Paris and found these beautiful medieval illustrations of medical instruments. There was one with this needle that looked like a piece of jewelry, so we tried to translate it over.
I love architecture. Melissa’s father-in-law is an architect, so when we moved to Barcelona we moved into his studio which is actually an old cement factory. It's a really surreal space!
So are you guys coming out with new hardware?
Yeah, it's going to be very geometric and there’s going to be a ball… That’s all I can say for now haha.
How’s the F/W range coming about?
Last summer I travelled to Ethiopia, and that was the inspiration for the Fall/Winter collection. The people there are so chic and so beautiful. So far it has been pretty slow, but we’re so used to working under pressure.
How did the name come about?
M2 is for Melissa and Marcela, and the second 'M' is for Malletier which means 'luggage maker' in French. It’s really catchy in that there are lots of ways you could play around with it. It was so difficult to come up with! The name is one of the most important things but also the hardest.
What are you both inspired by when designing? Do you ever use Colombian backgrounds?
We’ve never really been inspired by anything specific when designing, but it's definitely an influence. Marcela grew up in Costa Rica, and I grew up in Columbia. In Columbia everyone from my generation started leaving early because it was too dangerous. I’ve lived in Miami, Milan, Florence, New York, London, Paris, and Barcelona since the age of 15 when I left Columbia. That’s something we thought about when starting the brand. Our target audience was the globetrotter who was interested and unafraid of seeing the world on her own.
It seems like your collaborative efforts work really well. Do you ever step on each other's toes?
Yeah, we’re like sisters! We just come from families with very similar values, so we respect the same things, we take care of each other, we even sleep in the same bed when we’re on the road. It's almost like a marriage! Sometimes we do step on each other's toes, but that happens with any relationship that close.
Can you finish each other's sentences?
All the time! Buyers and editors always say it! Sometimes when we’re not together we’ll be texting and she’ll text me something I was about to text her hahaha. We’re really lucky to have found each other. It's amazing to be in business with a friend you work so well with.