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Inside Mazda

Behind the Zoom: Jacques Flynn

The lead designer of the team responsible for the styling of the all-new 2016 MX-5 and owner of his own hand-crafted leather accessories business in Long Beach, California.

Jacques Flynn stitching leather wallets

For most, elegance lies in the simplicity of design. Jacques Flynn, lead designer at Mazda North American Operations, understands this to be true. A highly practical man, frills strike Flynn as unnecessary. This design philosophy is evident in his mannerisms, his preferred style of dress and, most of all, in his craft.

Purity of line is a defining characteristic in all of Flynn’s work.

Even a cursory glance at the sleek new 2016 MX-5 Miata confirms this. While instantly identifiable as the Miata, it is also a thoroughly contemporary reboot. Like all of its forebears, the simplicity of the 2016 Mazda’s design is brilliantly conceived, skillfully executed and exceptionally fresh.

These traits are also reflected in Flynn’s handmade line of leather goods. The slim tailored billfold wallets are remarkably sleek and wholly reflective of his personal tastes. After fruitlessly searching for a wallet to fulfill his needs — while also appealing to his sensibilities — Flynn concluded he would have to design his own.

“I’m into simplicity and I appreciate quality,” Flynn said. “After searching for quite some time, I realized I wouldn’t find the exact wallet I wanted. A quality piece without superfluous design elements just didn’t seem to exist. Eventually, I came to realize if I really wanted it, I’d have to design it myself — JAQET is the result.”

JAQET leather goods are handcrafted in Flynn’s studio in Long Beach, California.

Of course, designing a prototype and assembling it is one thing. Making a quality product in quantities sufficient to build a business is something else altogether. Every evening, Flynn and his dedicated team of craftspeople get together to produce the wallets, each aspect of which is done by hand.

For Flynn, staying true to the MX-5’s lineage and continuing to modernize the roadster was one of the most challenging parts of the project.

“Introducing the KODO design language into the car really allowed us to break away from any geometric design elements which would have put us in that retro category,” Flynn said. “We were able to really push the proportions of the car to feel much more modern and push the limits on what can be achieved within such a small footprint. Once we found that right balance of KODO design and the traditional lightweight, pure and timeless feeling of the MX-5, we knew we had a winner.”

Just as Flynn’s JAQET wallets are sleek, simple and yet purposeful; the clean lines of the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata reflect its light weight, outstanding agility, and exceptionally satisfying dynamic capabilities.

“When designing our leather goods, I want them to have a sense of purity and timelessness—something we also incorporate into any MX-5 project.