by Maddy Zollo Rusbosin | September 25, 2017

Made in FLA: Matt Dean

An Orlando handbag designer makes high style look seamless


Orlando native and handbag designer, Matt Dean. Photography Matt Dean

Less is the statement. That’s the motto handbag designer Matt Dean uses to describe his aesthetic. The mantra is evident not only in his bags’ clean yet chic silhouettes but also in their structure. Dean’s designs are crafted from a single piece of leather. To avoid stitching and seams, each bag is folded into its shape and fastened together with understated hardware.
“I want the focus to be on the purity of the leather,” explains Dean.

The Orlando native got into handbags by accident. After working in tech out west, Dean returned to the City Beautiful. Once home, he accompanied his father to a leather goods store. “I saw this piece of leather that just spoke to me,” says Dean. “I had no idea what to do with it, but I bought it anyway. Eventually, I decided to make a bag.” A year and a half later, Dean has come a long way from the prototype he created with that original piece of leather, having produced an entire ready-to-wear collection aimed at the stylish shopper. “It’s for someone who’s fashion-forward and edgy, but also conscious about what went into making the products they are consuming and appreciative of their raw authenticity,” he says.

Each of Dean’s designs are crafted from a single piece of leather. Photography Matt Dean