My Phoenix Fashion Week Discovery: Affordable Handmade Bags!


IMG_6277Don’t be surprised if you start hearing “Phoenix” and “Couture” in the same sentence a little more often thanks to Phoenix Fashion Week, which was held October 2-5th at Talking Stick Resort. Complete with fashion business workshops, a “Style Villa” retail village, an emerging designer competition, and well-produced, gorgeous fashion shows after sunset, I was duly impressed with what Phoenix Fashion Week had to offer.  Did you know it’s one of the fastest growing Fashion Weeks in the country?! High-five, Phoenix!

I had a press pass and a fantastic front-row seat each evening for the runway shows–SO MUCH FUN!!  Fashionista Tip: You should just go ahead and mark your calendar for next year’s event–it will be their 10th anniversary and I feel certain they will be pulling out all the stops!

In addition to the 15 established couture designers and 12 emerging designers presenting on the runway, there was a small crop of accessory designers in the house, including one handbag designer.  I may or may not have gone home with TWO of her handmade clutches… And I only spent about $100!

Ladies!  Mark my words: Beautiifash owner Jeantel Torrence is one to watch.  Based outside of LA, this young lady designs and makes incredibly high quality, fashion-forward bags for $45-$200.  She will even work with you to make a unique custom bag, anything from a clutch to a duffel, for just $200-$300! Seriously?!  You should get yours now before her prices go up!page4-img27

Jeantel was asked by a whopping 6 of the 12 emerging designers at Fashion Week to create bags specific to  the lines they were showing on the runway (if that’s not a sign that she’s doing something right, I don’t know what is! )

A mere two weeks beforehand, Linden, a California based company, asked her to create bags for their Phoenix debut. She designed and fabricated an entire line for them in literally no time!

Her work is perfectly on trend: faux exotic skins (like ostrich and python!!), studs and buckles, envelope clutches, and unexpected details like bamboo handles.

Aside from her creativity, drive and attention to detail, Jeantel has something else in her favor: a great support system.  Her family, including her father (who talked my husband into buying a faux ostrich cell phone case–such a salesman!!), accompanied her to Fashion Week.  You could feel the pride that this family has for Jeantel, what she has created, and what she will become.

Whether your child wants to be a fashion designer, a teacher, an astronomer, or a web-wielding superhero, one thing is certain: they will have a better chance of achieving their goals with your support. page4-img30That “support” doesn’t have to be monetary–just be there, just listen, just show up. There was so much beauty at Phoenix Fashion Week, but the most beautiful thing I saw was the love of a family fostering the hopes and dreams of their little girl.  What will you help your child accomplish?   


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