By JACQUELINE FERNANDEZ
ECHO PARK — From a small storefront on Alvarado Street, Lyndsi McGee and Nick Del Negro spend their days cutting, dyeing, stitching and stamping pieces of leather to create a hand-crafted line of handbags and accessories.
McGee and Del Negro are the creative duo behind Mean Jean, which produces a line of merchandise inspired by retro ‘70s and other vintage styles.
“The beauty about working with leather is there are endless possibilities,’ said McGee. “We have some really cute coaster sets we’re pushing right now… perfect for stocking stuffers!”
Del Negro is the master behind all their handbag designs; he created their entire handbag patterns from scratch. They have custom dies made from those patterns to press out their designs for bags as well as guitar straps, key fobs, hair barrettes and other items.
“I love to stamp, so usually that work is left to me along with the hand stitching,” said McGee.
McGee isn’t new to the craft. Her grandparents lived on a farm, so she was exposed to the art of creating things out of leather.
“My grandfather had a tack room where he would work on leather goods. My mom actually has a coaster on her bed stand to this day that I hand stamped when I was around 10 years old,” said McGee.
The Echo Park residents moved their worktables and supplies into their new Alvarado workshop four-months ago. It’s opened by appointment only. However, you can find their purses at places like Nico & Bullitt in Silver Lake.
The Mean Jean team continues to work on new ideas and designs and they have some bigger projects in the works. They hope to expand their market for the new year.