Meet My Friend: Dina Epstein - Handmade in the Heartland

Meet My Friend: Dina Epstein

Dina Epstein of Clark and Madison

Freshman year at RISD i met Dina and we became fast friends.  She is a twin and her awesome sister Alyx was at culinary school near our school so all three of us hung out a lot.  My first trip to San Francisco was with them over our spring break and i brought Dina home with me to experience a little bit of the south.  Dina's mom is a truly inspiring woman who i had the pleasure of meeting and hearing the stories of their family travels.  I was always inspired by their adventurous spirits and its not at all a surprise to me that she has created this gorgeous brand, Clark & Madison.  

Dina runs her brand with her boyfriend Michael "Frosti" Zernow.  He was born in small town in Northern Michigan and after dropping out of college he traveled the world as a professional freerunner, motivational speaker, and reality TV star (Survivor: China, American Ninja Warrior, Jump City). After working in marketing and branding for several start ups met Dina and connected instantly with her passion for putting good things into the world. The two set about creating a brand that combined their love of adventure and travel with the quality of handmade production and attention to detail.  So its really funny because last summer or maybe the summer before, Matt and I were watching TV one evening and randomly started watching Ninja Warrior and saw Frosti competing and Dina cheering for him, it was so crazy!

Here is Frosti & Dina looking fabulous and Me & Dina freshman year- circa 2004! 
Dina Epstein & Frosti Zernow

Keep reading to see the amazing clark & madison collection & get a coupon code for clark and madison!!
The Clark & Madison collections are thoughtfully pieced together from the highest quality leathers and vintage/reclaimed materials resulting in a limited number of each style, making each piece unique and special.  Everything is handcrafted in California and to die for.  

weekender tote, clark and madison

What is your current job and previous & Where do you live?
I live in Santa Monica, CA & I design classic travel essentials. Before this I worked for Kiki de Montparnasse in their product department and a few other brands as an industrial designer and fashion designer in Los Angeles.

Describe your work process

Starting your own company you have to wear a lot of hats. I'm sourcing materials, I'm organizing the photo shoots, I'm contacting companies. But it does give me an amazing perspective on the brand as a whole. I feel very connected to each step of the process and it keeps it very personal, which I love.

What do you enjoy most about what you do? 
I have the opportunity to put good things into the world. It feels good to make products that I believe in, to make a brand out of a lifestyle I believe in. 

weekender tote, clark and madison

If you could design for any client who would it be?

I want to design for someone who has traveled the world. An adventurer who has been places no one goes and who finds things that people have never seen. I want someone with stories to tell that will take one of our bags and make new ones. That's the kind of person that hands down a bag to their children already rich with history, I want to make things that will become a part of a legacy.

weekender tote, clark and madison

What has been your favorite project to date?
Our first One of a Kind weekender I designed was based off of my Grandmother's weekender that had been passed down to me. I took apart the design and made it on my own and then to bring it all together I used a vintage handwoven Navajo rug from my Grandfather's collection. To me it was such a manful piece that really brought my own personal history into the brand.

Tell us a few of your favorite spots in your city. (restaurant, shop, coffee bar etc)
Our favorite place for dumplings is in Monterey Park. We always go to Sawtelle St. for asian street food. Father's Office and Stout are tied for best burger places. And Primo Passo is right around the corner from us and the only thing better than their coffee is their pastries.

weekender tote, clark and madison

I think you can all agree with me that these pieces are just beautiful and timeless.  I want one of each please! Dina has been so kind to share a coupon code with Handmade in the Heartland readers for 15% off anything on the site! Just use coupon code heartland15

Make sure to start following Clark & Madison on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook & Pinterest.  

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