Accessories can make or break an outfit. The right handbag or sunglasses can take a simple ensemble to the next level. Maya Winston, the founder of the Maya Winston brand, is creating statement pieces that are gaining praise for their luxuriousness, innovative style and impeccable craftsmanship.

Born in Jamacia, Winston moved to the Bronx at age 11. His love for fashion started at home with his seamstress mother and designer sister. Winston’s intro into the fashion industry was through product development and management. During that time, he began to hone in on the importance of production quality and structure. After a quick stint in men’s street fashion, he started designing luxury accessories. He made the designs in the image of the confident and stylish women he grew up around.

His brand has been part of exclusive New York Fashion Week collaborations and has been seen on the arms of celebrities such as Angela Simmons, Tia Mowry and Remy Ma.

With its commitment to quality and timeless style, the Maya Winston brand stands out in a world where fast fashion has become the norm. Blavity got to know the designer behind the brand, his fashion inspirations and how he views the disparities within retail for BIPOC brands.

Blavity: Your seamstress mother and designer sister heavily influenced your walk into the fashion industry. What were some of your first memories of them and their designs?

Maya Winston: As far back as I can remember, my home has always been filled with sewing machines and rolls and fabric rolls. My mom used our huge dining room table as her cutting board. The memory of playing under the table and having cloth draped and hanging down has always stuck with me. From there, it just became a natural calling, as my environment was influencing my path all along.

Blavity: What was the first design that you brought to life? What was the process, and how did it feel?

MW: I went out with friends during 2012’s Fashion Night Out. And the city (NYC) was electric, but something was different. As much as big labels were a thing, there were so many young aspiring designers wearing their own pieces. I went home, started sketching, and asked my mom to follow me to Mood Fabrics. She actually sewed it for me. The back, sleeves and round collar were leather. Leather was starting to hit back then. I wore it to Jay-Z’s opening night at Barclays Center. With all the compliments, I knew I was on to something even back then.

Blavity: Where do you get some of your style inspirations? 

MW: I get inspiration from pretty much everything. I think a combination of my Jamaican culture and living in NYC has had the heaviest influence. My extensive travels have certainly helped to broaden my perspectives. I consider myself a “people watcher.” I usually consider what functionalities and features I like and integrate them into my style and designs.

Photo Courtesy of Maya Winston

Blavity: There is a disparity in the major retail placement and marketing of Black-owned luxury accessories. Why do you think that’s an issue and how can we combat it?

MW: It’s a huge issue because we are some of the largest consumers within those major retailers. I love what Aurora James has been doing with the 15% pledge that launched during the pandemic. I think it takes a level of consciousness from us as consumers to pay attention to who and what we choose to spend our money on.

It’s important for us also to realize that the internet has made our products more accessible to our customers and that dependency and looking for acceptance from those who are not in our favor is not something we should have so many concerns with. I always believed in making so much noise that they have to let you in, and once you get inside, find a way to get others to follow right behind you.

Blavity: Describe the ultimate “Maya Winston” customer. 

MW: The ultimate Maya Winston customer is your homegirl, your sister, auntie, and mama. And their boyfriends because they’ll send him the link, like “bae look”.  Seriously, the Maya Winston customer is very conscious of what she buys and who she spends her money with. She takes pride in knowing her dollar is circulating within her community. She likes quality and more importantly authenticity.

Blavity: What can someone expect when they purchase something from the Maya Winston brand?

MW: Everyone who purchases a Maya Winston item will feel a sense of gratitude as we aim to exceed their expectations each time. We offer exceptional product quality, outstanding customer service, a personalized experience, transparency and honesty, and community engagement. Ultimately, Maya Winston customers will feel that their purchase is more than just a transaction and that the brand genuinely cares about their experience.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by @mayawinston