From the Rodeo to the Runway

Meredith Ray, owner/designer of Meredith Ray Handbags, is the quintessential blend of Fort Worth’s “Cowboys and Culture” lifestyle. Growing up as a competitive rodeo rider, her roots are deeply ingrained in the Texas way of life. However, after graduating with a degree in Marketing from the University of Texas at Arlington, Meredith set her sights on new kind of competition – the world of fashion. I sat down with Meredith to discuss how she got her start and what’s next for the Fort Worth-based fashion brand.

Describe your brand.  Very minimalistic designs that are clean and classic. It’s a pure esthetic that is truly a timeless piece that you can have for a lifetime. I use exotic skins as a way to tell a story of simple elegance that is fashionable but classic. Colors and faux furs are selected to help make each bag special and stand out.

How many designs are currently in your Fall 2015 collection?  My current collection includes four purses – two crocodile clutches and two ostrich handbags – plus a new men’s wallet design. One of my favorite designs of the season takes the classic ostrich bag and adds a faux rabbit fur panel perfect for the fall mixed material trend.

How did you decide to use exotic leathers as your primary material for Meredith Ray Handbags?  I ride horses competitively for the rodeo circuit, and it is a big thing for women to have specialty saddles and bridles for their horse using exotic leathers. I began researching and purchasing items for my own horse for competitions. After seeing how beautiful they were, I got inspired to do something amazing.

Where do you source your specialty materials?  The crocodile skins are from South America, and the ostrich is from South Africa. The products themselves are designed by me in Fort Worth and manufactured in Sol, Korea. 

Where are your handbags available for purchase? Three Fort Worth boutiques currently carry my Fall 2015 line (Onslows, You are Here, & Hulla B’Lu). Products are also available online for purchase at meredithray.com.

What does the future look like for Meredith Ray Handbags? I would love to expand the leather to include python and one or two other leathers. It’s also my plan to introduce two – three styles every season to build both the production line and a loyal base of customers. I have even given some thought into maybe an expansion into home décor like pillows created with our beautiful leathers.

Tote with the fur panel, $1695
Solid Ostrich Tote, $1,495
Jaclyn, $995
Jenn, $695