Stylebook: Former local designer gets Oscar exposure

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"Hollywood style for everyday moms" is the thinking behind Janice Mahoney's line of quilted totes, wristlets and Kindle cases.

"Most moms, they wear jeans and a T-shirt. That's their uniform," said the 41-year-old former North Hills resident, who about a year and a half ago moved to Highlands Ranch, Colo., with her husband and three children. "But if you carry a cool bag, you look a little bit better."

Some bags from her Mama Mahoney Creations line will get a true taste of the Hollywood limelight this weekend when they are included in celebrity swag bags and displayed at the Oscars luxury gift lounge by GBK Productions at the W Hotel in Los Angeles.

She is one of a few dozen members of The Artisan Group, an online collective of crafters from across the country, to participate in the luxury lounge. The group also has featured designers' creations at the Golden Globes and Primetime Emmys.

Ms. Mahoney designed 100 wristlets for gift bags and a larger blue-and-green inspiration tote for a display where celebrities can pose for photographs. The tote owes its name to the words of wisdom by William Arthur Ward embroidered inside: "If you can imagine it, you can dream it. If you can dream it, you can become it." She held a contest on her Facebook page where people could pitch quotes, and a teen from Penn Hills who has been a longtime fan of her designs won.

And she doesn't plan to slow down after the Oscars, with requests lined up to design pieces for celebrity moms and a swag bag for Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes and their daughter, Suri. She also was recognized online last week as Fox's "Small Business of the Day."

"If someone would have told me five years ago that this is where I'd be right now, I'd be in shock," Ms. Mahoney said.

She started the collection as a hobby to complement her job as a full-time mom and so she could find unique gifts. She channeled her childhood skills sewing clothes for her Barbie dolls to create the colorful, washer- and dryer-friendly accessories.

"I am so inspired by the retro, mod fabric, anything that's bright and happy."

Selling them was not on her radar until friends encouraged her to do so. Today, custom- and ready-made items are available at Prices vary based on selections, with a simple wristlet going for $14 and a custom overnight bag selling for $90.

Learn more about the collection at Mama Mahoney Creations on Facebook.

To have a style or fashion event considered for Stylebook, send listing to Sara Bauknecht at . First Published February 21, 2012 5:00 AM


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