Women’s History Month: Complex SHOP and Tulie Yaito Link Up for Exclusive Paisley Knot Bags

Women’s History Month: Complex SHOP and Tulie Yaito Link Up for Exclusive Paisley Knot Bags

Tulie Yaito is one half of the brand Yaito, a need-to-know, independent fashion label she co-founded with Carlton Yaito. Originally from Jamaica, she migrated to Canada in her early years, before eventually relocating to NYC. In New York, she studied fashion marketing and merchandising, and worked as a financial advisor before making the switch to fashion. The creative duo first started to gain traction with some high profile styling and custom design gigs, but they struck gold when their knot bag became an instant hit last year.

SHOP is excited to have Tulie Yaito as one of the accomplished and talented female designers being featured in our Women’s History Month spotlight and product offering. For this special capsule, she created two exclusive versions of her popular paisley knot bag (and named them after her mother and grandmother, Olive and Jossette, respectively). We also chatted about her inspirations, fashion experiences, culture influences, and personal style.

What was it about fashion that made you want to pursue it full-time?

Just the glamour of it all, you know? That really intrigued me. Growing up, I always knew I was creative, but I wanted to learn the business aspect of it all, so I went to school for it. I have my degree in fashion merchandising and marketing from the Wood Tobe-Coburn school. I wanted to learn something new, explore, and set myself apart from being a simple creative.

Can you tell us about the origins of the knot bag and why you think it's so popular?

We didn’t know the bag would be popular. We made something that we loved and shared it with the world. The beautiful women that support us made the knot bag popular. The initial response was great, everyone instantly loved it. We had a lot of love and support from our customers and supporters. The Yaito name is Japanese and we wanted to pay homage to that name by creating the Japanese knot bag.


What has your experience been like navigating the fashion industry as a Black woman?

My challenges in the fashion industry have been very small compared to most, only because I haven’t worked in the corporate setting. After I finished school, I was working a part-time job. Now that I work for myself, I don’t really experience the struggles as much as some Black women have. I do still experience the everyday struggle as a Black woman, but I am grateful that it hasn’t been the case in working in fashion. For that I am really blessed.


How would you define your own personal style?

My personal style isn’t defined because I’m always just so free to explore and experiment. Idon’t really experiment with colors in the clothes that I wear, but I’m definitely colorful with my accessories, bags, and shoes. For me, it’s the history behind a garment. Like, you’ve seen a fabric and it was handmade and quilted a certain way because of someone’s culture. That’s what intrigues me. Right now, I’ve been a little obsessed with Issey Miyake and Dries Van Noten, but I’ll honestly shop anywhere. I get my basics from Uniqlo!

What kinds of movies, music, and pop culture have influenced you over the years? 

Growing up, I listened to a lot of reggae, dancehall, pop, and r&b. I watched a lot of Disney movies because where I grew up in the Carribean, we always sensationalized American culture. Selena is an all-time favorite. I’ll never get tired of watching that movie. Now, I tend to watch a lot of thought-provoking and true story films. Salo by Pier Paolo Pasolini is one of my favorites. He was an activist and a poet; I also write poetry so I was drawn to that. What I’m listening to now honestly just depends on my vibe. Kendrick Lamar is an all-time favorite, Jill Scott for when I’m in my soulful, sensual mood, and Larry June has become one of my favorites as well. We listen to him a lot in the studio. 

Lastly, what has been the biggest takeaway you can share from running a fashion business? 

Remain consistent and authentic. It’s short and sweet because it’s really true. I feel like with our knot bag, it was so organic and authentic and people just love it.

Lastly, what has been the biggest takeaway you can share from running a fashion business?

Remain consistent and authentic. It’s short and sweet because it’s really true. I feel like with our knot bag, it was so organic and authentic and people just love it.

Shop the For Women, By Women collection here.