Like many creatives, St. Paul native, Clare Vivier started her handbag design business in response to a lack of attractive and functional laptop bags. Based out of Los Angeles, Clare’s designs combine French sophistication with L.A.’s chic, minimalist fashion.
Not only are Clare’s bags beautiful, but each bag is made locally in Los Angeles. Clare is an advocate of socially concious manufacturing and she’s proud of each handbag’s “Locally Made” moniker.
This Thursday, December 26 at 7 p.m., Clare will be part of the “From Maker to Market” panel at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, which coincides with their Northern Grade pop-up market. Clare will join moderator, Kate Smith of Northern Grade and Soraya Darabi and Maxine Bedat of Zady.com, to discuss how fashion is changing, why manufacturing matters, and what it takes to go handmade to heritage in the current market.
I had the chance to ask Clare a few questions and learn more about her designs and inspiration:
You started making bags in response to a need for functional and fashionable laptop bags. How did you make the decision to start your own handbag business?
I was working for a French television station and constantly traveling when I felt the need for a fashionable but still functional laptop case. I noticed there was a void in the market, so I decided to create my own. Friends started coveting the bags, and I realized I was onto something. The rest is CV history.
You have never cut corners to produce your bags. Why is it so important to you to have your bags made locally?
When I first started, I didn’t have the experience to begin producing overseas, which was incredibly daunting as a small start-up. Luckily, keeping production local was fortuitous for us because now I’m proud to be part of a local design community in Los Angeles and all Clare V. bags are not just designed in California, they’re proudly made here, too.
What inspires your design process?
I’m constantly inspired by the world around me, whether it’s a spread in Vogue Paris, the lettering I see on a store sign, or my travels. This past year took me to some incredible places, including Tokyo for the first time and France with my family, both of which were full of inspiration.
You are originally from St. Paul and still frequently make trips back to visit. Where are your top three favorite places to shop while you’re here?
What’s your advice to others trying to break into fashion and accessory design?
Find something you love doing and create a story you want to tell.
Where can people find your handbags in the Twin Cities?
Northern Grade @ MIA Presents: From Maker to Market
Thursday, Dec 26, 7 p.m.
Minneapolis Institute of Arts