When designers Monica Zwirner and Lucy Wallace Eustice launched their women’s handbag startup MZ Wallace in 2000, they spent a lot of time pondering what they should call their new brand. The considered following the path of many other American designers—Kate Spade, Tory Burch, Rebecca Minkoff—and simply using their own names. But they were worried that approach would make their brand sound overly feminine, something they wanted to avoid. “Neither of us has a particularly feminine sensibility,” Zwirner says. “We think of ourselves first as a design company, and we think really good design isn’t gender specific. We wanted to leave open the possibility of making men’s products in the future.”

So they settled on a name they thought would read as gender-neutral: MZ Wallace. All of this forethought has paid off: This week, the brand launches its first men’s product line, officially called the Bleecker Collection.


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