Inspiration. It’s the thing that drives any of us to be anything or do anything. So, it’s not a surprise that New York City street fashion is what inspires 26-year-old handbag designer, Lauren Cecchi. But, there is a common thread present in all of her designs that makes her stand out among the many fashion hopefuls in this city – and I’m not talking about a designer logo.
That thread (quite literally) is Cecchi’s family. I met Cecchi in her chic showroom located in the Garment District and was immediately introduced to her sister – who I would soon learn is part of her signature brand design.
All of Cecchi’s bags have three lines of ribbing which represent herself and her two siblings, Paige and Michael.
“We’re kind of unified as a family – the three of us as siblings. I want people to know my collection for the detail and not for the logo,” Cecchi said.
Cecchi, who was born in New York and raised in Connecticut, is no stranger to the fashion industry. In fact, she started crafting and sewing with her grandmother when she was only five years old.
“I always loved fashion. So, I knew in high school that I was going to follow a career in fashion – I just didn’t know where [I would be] or what I was going to do.”
From 2007 to 2011, Cecchi went to Florida to attend Lynn University for her undergraduate degree.
Cecchi spent her first internship visual styling for Bloomingdale’s at the Boca Raton mall, where she learned how to style and sell.
From 2010 to 2011, Cecchi was an event planner for the Luxe Group at Mar-a-Lago, a private estate owned by Donald Trump in Florida. There, she supported fashion-related charity luncheons, trunk shows and runway shows for names like Escada, Pamella Roland and Badgley Mischka.
After receiving her MBA in 2012, Cecchi became an assistant buyer for JP Associates in NYC.
“That was like the crème de la crème of jobs – I loved it every day. I just thought that’s where I was going to be for the rest of my life, but then during that job I kept seeing that there was a niche open for American designers creating in America,” Cecchi said.
That’s how Lauren Cecchi New York began.
Cecchi started making prototypes and samples in 2013 and decided to create handbags because her friend was a leather wholesaler in NYC. By September of that year, Cecchi launched the brand before fashion week to generate interest and buyers.
The brand officially launched in the spring of 2014.
“For me, there is a vision in my brain and it definitely does take some time for it to come to life,” Cecchi said. “But definitely in the sample process, when my factory creates from sketch and prototype into a sample, that’s when I actually see my visions come to life.”
The first bag she designed was the Sorella, meaning “little sister” in Italian (as Paige turned to wave hello to me from the desk she was sitting at).
“I just wanted something that would be able to sit up on its own because I hate when I’m sitting at a restaurant and [my] bag is like spilling out on the table,” Cecchi said. “I just wanted something clean and simple.”
The great thing about the Sorella is that it goes with everything. Cecchi suggests that it would be cool with a tee-shirt and jeans or speak to an “elevated taste” if paired with a LBD. Its versatility may be the very reason it’s the brand’s bestseller.
“I definitely design for the everyday girl. New York City women are obviously an inspiration to me because I live here and I’m constantly stalking them on the streets and seeing what they’re wearing.”
Luckily for all of us bag lovers, Lauren Cecchi New York has something new to offer this fall. Cecchi confirmed that her Exotics line (shown above) launched during New York Fashion Week, and the lookbook can now be viewed on her site.
The line is meant for customers who want to design a bag themselves. They can choose exotic exterior skins ranging anywhere from ostrich, crocodile, alligator and even furs. There is even the option to monogram and choose hardware.
“This [collection] really offers our clients that special, one-of-a-kind bag,” Cecchi said.
“I think now-a-days there are no trends. Every designer kind of has their own aesthetic and their own way of, life – I want to say, lifestyle. But there are definitely things that are trendsetting,” Cecchi said. “The backpack is having a moment right now and I want to be in on that trend, so we’ve created a backpack for our spring/summer 2016 collection, which will be launching during Capsule Paris.”
In case you were curious, there isn’t really a typical day for Cecchi. Her day-to-day can range anywhere from dining with clients, meeting with her leather wholesaler, going to photo shoots, attending fashion shows or browsing stores in the Garment District. When Cecchi’s not traveling all over the city, she’s everywhere else. In fact, this summer alone she’s been to the Hamptons, Cape Cod, Miami and Los Angeles. By October she’ll be in Paris, London and Amsterdam.
“That’s what I love about it. It’s not like a nine to five job in a cubicle every day. I’m out and about.”
Like any ambitious entrepreneur, Cecchi wants to see her brand grow down the line. In the next 10 years, she wants to dive into other lifestyle categories such as clothing and shoes – and the ribbing will continue to be a classic.
“I love fashion. I wake up thinking about it and go to sleep dreaming about, so it’s like my life. I’m wrapped up in it,” Cecchi said. “Maybe in a few years I’ll be doing something like a presentation or a runway show.”
With a positive outlook, Cecchi concluded with saying, “follow your dreams and everything will work itself out.”
– Michelle Weiss
Note: This post is not sponsored.