When you hear that Lindsey Mortensen studied textiles in college, you might think she has an obvious design trajectory—but that’s so not the case. “It ended up being totally different than I expected,”she says of her program at Maryland Institute. “I learned to work with fabric in a sculptural way, as opposed to a clothing approach.” Post grad, Lindsey followed that conceptual art path, working as an apprentice at The Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia where she took on projects like constructing parachutes out of transparent organza shirts. But then—aha!—she got the itch to create something wearable: She returned to school for clothing design and earned her womenswear chops working on lines like Halston.
Realizing that her day jobs focused on corporate goals more than creativity, Lindsey (who now lives in L.A.), switched gears again in 2013 and stitched up prototypes for a line of sleek clutches and compact bags using recycled leather. “I made a bunch of mini pouches as gifts for my friends, and enough strangers asked them where they could buy them that I thought I should try selling them,” explains Lindsey. The cash to cannonball into her own biz, Larsen & Lund, came from Kickstarter funders, who pre-ordered her buttery soft creations. We’d say going out on her own turned out to be pretty clutch move. —leah bhabha