Every Vogelle bag has been completely designed by me within the past year and a half. I actually received my first black original prototype from Italy a year ago this week. Time flies. I have drawn each bag out in small notebooks and again on large sheets of paper with all of its details.
I have no background in fashion design. I studied marketing and finance in school and my internships were at tech startups companies. Besides having a business background, I am, and always have been obsessed with the fashion industry worldwide. I am infatuated with designers all over the world and can spend hours at night watching seamstresses construct the wondrous Dior pieces in the Dior Couture behind the scenes videos online and then sending them down the runway.
I’ve always had an eye for style and spent my college years styling women day in and day out at Nordstrom in Colorado. It made me so happy to help my customers feel and look their best. I mean, you could literally see the difference in their faces and in their body language from when they entered the store to when they left with their new pieces. I also found great joy in getting to know my customers. I always went the extra mile in connecting with my customer and understanding them on a deeper level than just shopping. Before I knew it, I had women of all ages coming in to see me and wanting to work with me because I had gained their trust and they enjoyed their experience while shopping with me.
If you’ve read “The Story” already, you’ll know that I have also spent a large portion of my recent years traveling. Besides Colorado, I’ve lived in Mexico City, Madrid, and Milan so far. While living in these places and traveling in their respective regions, I’ve been exposed to countless styles, textures, prints, and women. A dress is a dress and a purse a purse, but fashion is a story. A stunning dress on a hangar is one thing, but the woman who buys it, wears it, and lives some of the most thrilling nights of her life in that dress is what gives it life and gives it a story.
Mexico City, Mexico
I do a majority of my travel by myself because I find that I really enjoy being on my own schedule and taking everything in. I also find that when I am on my own, the locals are much more likely to speak to me and get to know me, which has enriched my travel and my life as a whole in ways that I cannot even begin to describe. I spend a lot of my time listening and it has given me a window to the world.
Cape Town, South Africa
Great Pyramids of Giza, Egypt
While I was living in Milan, I found one of the most inspirational places for design to be the public transportation system. Milan has a fabulously efficient public transportation system that consists of an underground metro, overground trams, busses. I loved leaving my tiny apartment in the mornings to begin my morning commute to Bocconi University. I would take the bus running parallel to the Navigli Canal, connect at Porta Genova, and then switch to the #9 tram. Porta Genova near the Tortona district was quite the place to be during rush hours. This was the hub for all of the men and women in the fashion industry who were on their morning commute. In February and March, it was filled with models wearing all black and clutching their portfolios on their way to the fashion week castings. I even met a stunning girl one morning on my way to class who found out she had just booked her first Armani show! I congratulated her probably 15 times. This morning hub was the culmination of my initial inspiration for even starting Vogelle. I felt so inspired by these people and just the vibe here and I felt that I had nothing to lose.
There was a strong and consistent design that I noticed, especially come springtime, that the women there were wearing with almost every look. Shoulder bags. The design of a shoulder bag is completely genius. It’s the ultimate theft preventer for a woman who’s running through the metro to meet her girlfriends for Aperitivo. The bag is secure to your body and there’s no chance of being subtly pick pocketed between stops. It’s also stylish as hell. There’s something about having a gorgeous bag physically higher on your body that elevates the entire look. I wanted to incorporate all of this into Vogelle, but make it high-quality, affordable and minimal. I felt that the fast fashion brands were doing “too much” and that the luxury brands were charging too much, obviously.
To start my design process, I always head to Tumblr and then Pinterest. Tumblr gets my creative juices flowing and points me towards a certain aesthetic. I find myself scrolling Tumblr and being inspired by certain outfits, destination photos, and even interior design posts. It’s an entire mood board for me. Pinterest is the same, but more specific. On Pinterest I’m actually looking at outfits with shoulder bags or certain colored handbags.
Again, if you’ve read The Story, you’ll already have some insight into how I met the amazing manufacturer that handmakes every Vogelle bag and wallet in Milan. Ultimately, I was in Milan for about six months and only met him four days before I was booked to fly back to Colorado. I had to do my designing in Boulder, Colorado and send my sketches by mail to Milan. He would then message me on WhatsApp and send me feedback and suggestions. He would give his advice on my drawings and send me options for zippers, leather textures and colors, logo placement, and logo size. I have learned so much from him and am still trying to wrap my head around the fact that I have someone with that much talent in Italy creating my collections.
Creating Vogelle has been an absolute dream so far. For me it’s a continuation of my life changing time spent in Europe and the culmination of my lifelong love for the fashion industry. & this is only the beginning…
- Laura xx