PHOMAZ by Beth Swanson
PHOMAZ (pronounced foam as) is a handbag company created by fashion designer Beth
Radzin Swanson, a native of Chicago, Illinois. Her eye-catching/acoustic foam tote bags
are greatly valued because it stands out in a crowded room that’s filled with many
different competitive brands of handbags.
“Fashion has always been a way to express myself and stand out from the rest,” said
Swanson, inspired by Betsey Johnson and Project Runway. “If I’m going to an event, and
I know most women will be wearing black, I want to be the only one wearing purple.”
Swanson’s alternative way of thinking helped her to develop a one-of-a-kind tote bag
that’s unlike any other bag on the market; and by using an unlikely combination of
resources—such as acoustic foam, silk lining, carbon fiber, and vinyl crocodile; Swanson,
with the help of celebrity branding guru—Jay Leopardi, have made an original fashion
statement, and possibly a new trend.
“Jay has turned me from a wannaprenuer to an entrepreneur,” Swanson humbly stated.
“He taught me that an idea is just an idea, unless you are willing to invest in it, and in
yourself. He guided me, and continues to guide me, while allowing me to figure out how
to steer my own ship. He’s a great mentor, and an incredible friend.”
With Leopardi’s guidance, Swanson developed a good relationship with a local
manufacturer in Chicago; and several working samples later, the official Phomaz tote
For more information about Phomaz Handbags, or to purchase your one-of-a-
kind/acoustic foam tote bag, please visit www.Phomaz.com.
Why did you decide to become a fashion designer?
I became a handbag designer because of the life changing event of losing my parents. I needed to change my path and find my happy.
What is your favorite part about being a fashion designer?
Just returning from my debut during Paris Fashion Week, (while simultaneously showing at Boston Fashion Week), I met the most amazing creative talented people from ALL over the world. I now have new friends and inspiration from Italy,Israel,France,London,Australia, Indonesia, Finland...
What were your inspirations for the designs you created thus far?
The inspiration for the bags comes from a love of music and fashion.
How did you select the materials you used, all your bags have such an interesting and detailed design to them?
The main component of the bags is acoustic foam, like you see covering the walls of a recording studio. It's such an amazing textile that can be found in many colors and designs. You can also develop custom designs.
Where are you from, do you think in any way that sets you aside from others, or maybe even aids to your design aesthetic?
I'm from Chicago, born and raised. My city is such an incredible melting pot of people, music, fashion, and culture. I'm proud that so much new music and fashion is born in Chicago. There is endless inspiration in The Windy City.
Were the materials difficult to work with?
Since no one has ever worked with acoustic foam in this way, it took about a year and a dozen samples to perfect. I'm proud to say, after all the trial and error, these bags are made really well and stand the test of time.
What can we expect to see in future bag collections?
There are endless options with foam. I am looking to make several limited editions to keep the collections truly unique. Next up, I'm designing more kitschy playful designs, like foam hearts and lips.
What do you think of fashion today?
Paris got me so excited. I see that fashion is becoming more playful and less serious, the way life should be.
What are your plans for the future?
I have so many plans for Phomaz.The hard part will be focusing on one at a time. I want to do it all, all types of bags, hats, accessories...Phomaz (foam as) everything!
Thank you so much for taking the time for this interview we cannot wait to share it with our readers.
Thank you for this opportunity to share with you.