Quinta Maso, the scarf brand launched in 2021 by Paula Maso, is the major destination in what has been an impressive and varied fashion journey.
Maso studied graphic design in her hometown of Caracas, Venezuela, before moving to London at the age of 22, where she studied fashion photography. “I realized while studying that this wasn’t really the path I wanted. It was really male-dominated. I knew I wanted to be in fashion but that I needed to take a different route,” Maso explains.
So she left her studies and, along with a large portion of her family, moved to Barcelona, Spain. “My family moved because of the political situation in Venezuela. It can be hard to be South American in Spain; the country is not always so welcoming.
I had a really hard time finding a job, and so I decided to start a blog about Barcelona. It was called ‘Terribly Nice’ and it was in Spanish language.
The blog allowed me to use my knowledge of graphic design and explore my love of fashion. It became quite popular and I really enjoyed doing it! But I was still looking for that next step with my career in fashion,” says Maso.
In 2011, Paula decided to take a course in textile design. Her background in graphic design proved to be a big draw for clients, as many textile designers come from a more traditional background and are not always proficient in digital software. Maso says, “my expertise gave me opportunities with clients from around the world quite quickly. At the same time, I was always looking for that creative project that would really capture my imagination.”
A Venezuelan friend of hers asked her to co-found a sustainable fashion brand; Maso dove right in. The brand, called Aether, was only live for two seasons, but in those two seasons, it saw great critical success. “I moved to Stockholm during that time, as my ex-boyfriend got a job there, and luckily it was a good place to be in terms of sustainable fashion. A PR agency actually found us, and we got into Berlin Fashion Week as well as Stockholm Fashion Week. The thing about fashion is that you can be successful in one sense, but not in others. We were, unfortunately, not financially sustainable. So we shut down,” says Maso.
Continuing in the entrepreneurial vein, Paula launched Nothing Can Go Wrng, a company that leased textile designs to companies, in 2015. “That was a really fun brand and I enjoyed the creative aspect,” Maso notes, “but I realized that something was missing from my skill set if I to have a successful company: it was the business aspect. So my next step was to join a larger brand. I started working at Swedish fashion brand J.Lindberg, which ended up only being for six months.”
On a whim, Paula added the founder of a company called Happy Socks on LinkedIn. She emailed him in March of 2016 and ended up with a job as a design assistant. “It was a case of being in the right place at the right time,” Maso says.
“In 2017, I was given the chance to launch a sub-brand within Happy Socks called Hysteria. I moved up to Associate Creative Director, and then in 2019, became Creative Director. I love working at Happy Socks and will continue to do so, but I’ve always had that drive to do my own thing as well.”
Maso’s experience with socks made her consider what niche she really wanted to work in. “I knew I didn’t want to deal with sizing, and that I wanted a mono-brand. For me, scarves were a very obvious product. There are many luxury brands that also produce scarves, but no actual luxury scarf brands,” she explains.
In addition, Paula felt a personal connection to scarves.
“My uncle also wore this little neckerchief and I thought it was so stylish.
After in-depth research into the market, Maso launched Quinta Maso (meaning House of Maso) in 2021. The name refers to her family home in Venezuela, where her ancestors moved from Italy. It had a hairdressing salon at the ground floor – the family business – and a large residential home up top. “It’s important to me to include part of who I am in the core of Quinta Maso,” says Paula.
The idea behind the brand is high-quality, timeless scarves that come in stunning ultramarine gifting boxes. “As a print designer, a scarf is really the ideal item because it’s a blank canvas. I knew I could have a lot of fun with the designs,” says Maso, “and I really have! I’ve had to learn some new skills in terms of digital design, but also get to bring in elements like Bauhaus design, modernism, and loads of color. The possibilities are endless.”
While she enjoys the creative experimentation, Paula is clear that this is a business venture as well as a personal one. “I make sure that my scarves are wearable,” she explains. “The patterns need to be commercially-viable. So I find balance between those two poles; which in itself is a kind of creativity, really. I like that process.”
And moving forward, the plan for Quinta Maso is…more scarves. Wool, cashmere, crochet; you name it. “I want to focus on scarves and really do it right. People don’t wear the same scarf all year round, especially not in a place like Sweden. The seasonality of it is important, as is the occasional elemement. You might have an every day scarf and then a really special one you wear to big events. I want to provide people with those options,” explains Maso.
Paula’s enthusiasm for her work is palpable, and is clear from the scarves themselves. These are future heirlooms, items that will be worn with love for years to come and passed down. The patterns run from classic to surrealist, but always with an eye to quality and longevity. All her scarves are made from silk or cotton, and are printed in the north of Italy.
Her first capsule, “Digital Gardening,” is less about florals (although there is one floral design and it’s fabulous) and more about the way we live online. During the pandemic, it felt like people were sort of pruning their digital existence. I wanted to create scarves that spoke to that experience without being too literal or specific,” she notes. There are pixelated patterns, blurred ones, and others that speak to our online lives.
“Scarves are for everyone,” Paula says, “for you and your grandmother and your brother and even, if you’re so inclined, for your dog! I love the idea of people using my scarves as hair ties or tops or knotted bags.”
“A scarf has that element of flexibility and vibrance to it, it becomes kind of like a second skin. If that’s what Quinta Maso can be for someone, I would be proud.”
Shop Quinta Maso.