Easy Conversations: Mengly

Madewell | Summer 2010

Mengly Hernandez, a design Jane of all trades, has worked as stylist, designer, poet and print maker. 
What caught our attention was her playful totes that reflect her prolific output and, like her other works, call for moments of reflection. LINE is a one-of-a-kind collection of cotton tote bags and silk scarves, which are hand silk-screened. Check it out on Etsy. For this New York City native, her design journey has been one full of surprising inspirations and fresh encounters. 

And now our Easy Conversation...

Tell us a bit about yourself, who is Mengly?
Mengly is very passionate, funny, and stands her ground.
When I was younger I wanted to be an entertainer of some sort..
years later I narrowed it down to acting, but was deterred by the 
everlasting cattle calls in the business. I think I’ll be a famous
 actress in my next life.. I just love it!

How would you define your style?
My style is not trendy and always changing.

How did you first get involved in styling and print designs?
I've always had an interest in design and clothing. My 
grandmother gave me a great deal of inspiration and first class 
training in "styling" ...What a stylish lady she was!!!!! Looking 
back I know that my knack for accessories came directly from 
her... On a professional level, styling came quite accidentally. 
My first taste of "styling" came via my stint at a corporate job.
 I worked as a Jane of all trades for a fashion company. One of 
my responsibilities was to assist the creative director. He gave 
me the opportunity to work as a merchandiser, public relations 
liaison, but most importantly, he gave me the chance to express my 
opinions on the clothing. I also had the chance to assist in styling
 the many mannequins we had at our showroom. After leaving the 
company I was in a semi limbo and by chance, met a young lady
 who had been working as a stylist for many years. She gave me the 
opportunity to assist her and I’ve been working in the industry ever 

Who are some of the artists/ designers that have influenced you?

I love Issey Miyake's designs especially since I gravitate towards
 precision of lines and form. As far as artists, it is beautiful to 
encounter the artists that represent your innate style. I was blessed

 to meet my teacher, Megan Foster, who taught me different printing 
techniques such as intaglio, silk screening, wood cut, and my 
least favorite lithography. One day (again) by chance I visited
 the Dia Beacon museum with a friend and discovered a book by
 Kiki Smith, another time I discovered Yayoi Kusama, Louise
 Bourgeois, Avedon, Mario Giancomelli, Nobuyoshi Araki, Schiele, Edvard Munch, Barron Claiborne, endless amounts of 
inspiration came my way, but it always felt like everything I
 encountered I already knew or thought of.  It was more like a 
mutual meeting than a discovery.. A very beautiful feeling. Before
 these "discoveries" I’d never owned a photography or art
 book. I knew about Picasso, Matisse because they were in the 
history books that I learned from in high school.

Tell us a bit about your creative process.

I operate from emotion and feeling! Always. My creative 
process is never the same. I seek to know who I am. I follow my 

What else do you have in store for the future?

More styling projects. Textile design, photography, and more 
printing on large-scale paper. I've worked on fabric for a while
 now and am trying to challenge myself to work on things that 
don’t come to me as naturally.

What’s playing on your ipod these days?

Everything. With an emphasis on Nina Simone, Radiohead, Coldplay, Coltrane
, Bob Marley, Eddie Murphy comedy, Ethiopiques, Astrud Gilberto, Bob Dylan,
 Esther Phillips, Fiona Apple, Oumou Sangare, Joy Division, Kanye, Cameron….

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