Visit our Love Shine website — http://www.loveshinenyc.com

The Love Shine line of bag designs was founded in 1996 in the basement of a NYC Spanish Harlem apartment building by Mark Seamon (a visual artist and chef at the time) and Mike Gonzales (a dancer & costume designer with Les Ballets Trocadero). We began by creating one-of-a-kind handbags, totes and backpacks out of dyed canvas for our friends and family as a way to express our creativity in another medium. The response was enthusiastic and we began getting special requests from “friends of friends” and later, small boutiques. Before we knew it, a small bag business was born.

Initially many of our designs were inspired by our trips abroad. For example, in Mexico we were awestruck by the bright and colorful bales of mesh nylon and rolls of oil cloth that was traditionally used for table covers. And given Mike’s Tex-Mex background, Catholic religious iconography had been a source of inspiration for Love Shine designs from the very beginning – so Mexico was a visual feast for the eyes in many ways! While visiting other locales like the Greek islands, we collected fabric trims, charms and many other shiny, small objects to bring back for our design reference files. As time progressed, we used these and other sourced materials to develop a line that included: mesh totes, oil cloth accessories, carry-all bags in colorful cottons and upholstery fabrics, and canvas bags adorned with a wide range of popular, folk, humorous and spiritual imagery (from diverse world religions).

Eventually Love Shine grew out of the uptown space. So in 1997, Mark decided to open up a studio/shop/showroom in his own neighborhood – the artsy and bohemian East Village. From his new brick-and-mortar space, Mark continued to expand the design line and collaborate (after Mike passed away) with other like minded spirits such as independent filmmaker and visual artist Ken Brown. In addition to the wonderful gifts and accessories that we lovingly offer our neighborhood, the store has been the site of numerous free public events like side-walk fashion shows/parties, art installations and literary readings. Over the years, Love Shine has become an East Village institution known for its quirky sensibility, eclectic taste and welcoming heart.

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