Launching a brand in the midst of a pandemic is difficult enough. Madelyn Somers took it a step further and created a clothing line entirely focused on travel in the early days of COVID-19 called Made Some Souvenirs. Suddenly Somers was able to get his travel fix without ever leaving the comforts of home.
Kitschy keepsakes like bobs, scrunchies, key chains and candy-colored t-shirts all help bring the collection to life. The brand pays homage to some of the most recognizable monuments of the Taj Mahal in India, the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy, Hagia Sophia in Turkey, Angkor Wat in Cambodia and many more.
PAPER caught up with Somers to find out how her many years of travel inspired her to create a tourism-friendly brand as borders slowly begin to open.
What does your journey in fashion look like?
I graduated in Graphic Design from Parsons School of Design and worked in New York for seven years in fashion as a graphic designer and art director. Growing up I was always in fashion and ever since my mother was a fashion designer in the 70s she was always looking for a project. I always brought back clothes and fabrics from flea markets and thrift stores that I wanted to fit in a certain way and she helped me make them something unique. My childhood and even today, when you go to my parents, there is always a project happening on the dining room table; sewing machine, collage paper, paints, colored pencils, etc.
What was it like to create a brand centered on the love of travel in the midst of a pandemic?
I have been very lucky in my life to have been able to travel – I made it a priority to see as many places as possible. So obviously during the pandemic I struggled to find new things to inspire me – one of the reasons I love traveling is immersing yourself in new cultures, foods, sights, art, design – so I decided to pay tribute to the places that had inspired me and thus, Made Some Souvenirs was born.
Why did traveling the world make you want to create a souvenir clothing brand?
I’ve always liked the idea of a keepsake – some kind of keepsake to remind you of a place you’ve visited or an experience you’ve had. There is something so healthy about wearing something that tells others you’ve been there the same way we take photos. My house is filled with all kinds of memories like this plate I got in Puglia on my trip to southern Italy with my dad, or this bottle of coca-cola written in Arabic from a trip to work in Morocco or that ceramic mug I got from a souvenir shop on my New Years trip to Japan.
I look around and can’t help but reflect on everything I’ve been through because of what I’m seeing around me and it makes me smile. I started with places I had been and recently started making memories for places I haven’t explored yet … still a really long list. I also love the humor and familiarity behind memorabilia like the t-shirts that say “I went to Mexico and all I got was that ugly shirt” or the famous I
How does the travel era of the 70s around which you have based your collection inspire you? What are your other inspirations?
My love for the 70s really came from my parents because that’s when they were in their twenties and were carefree. My dad grew up in Venice, California, and surfed the world in the ’70s while my mom, who also grew up in LA, did her art and lived in Hawaii. Looking at old photos and listening to stories, it’s been such a laid-back, wonderfully naive, and vibrant decade, something that has sadly been deleted in recent years. That lifestyle was something I wanted to infuse into Made Some Souvenirs – that youthful vacation energy – this first time exploring unseen places, inaudible sounds, and untasted bites. They remind us that the trip is more than a moment, it is a memory. I also love the color palette, the graphics and the tourist photography of the 70s. Alexander Girard, Slim Aarons and Martin Parr are some of my heroes.
You have clothes and accessories based on iconic places like the Acropolis in Greece and Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Where are you looking forward to going in the near future?
India has always been at the top of my list. It’s such a beautiful country, so rich in color (two of my favorite colors being orange and green), culture and authenticity. I can’t wait to see the Taj Mahal in person someday.
What is your most cherished sartorial memory over the years?
I have so many favorite t-shirts from places I have traveled over the years, although my tourist souvenir t-shirt is now my favorite. I still love this very simple model from Cadaques, Spain that I wear all the time. I also have an Olympic bucket hat from Athens which I got on my last visit in 2019 because they had an overstock of it from the 2004 games. I love everything related to the Olympics.
What’s the next step for the brand?
I have a lot of exciting collaborations coming up with notable brands that I can’t wait to share. But I’m really trying to focus on expanding my product categories. I know the men have asked for souvenirs – I really want to come out with more unisex deals. The world of memories is truly endless and I want to continue to stay in the travel business so working on a compact tote and more fun novelty items because Made Some _______ is truly endless.
Photos courtesy of Made Some Souvenirs
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