Posted: June 15, 2014 Filed under: Swoon | Tags: accessory, diamond clutch, diamond purse, handmade, local designer, purse designer, vancouver
I’ve been gushing over one of my favourite accessories – a diamond clutch – for almost a year now. I could try to be subtle about it but when it comes to things I love, subtlety is not my strong suit.
A local designer and fashion student, 25-year old Sherry Chen is the creator of the diamond clutch, which is quietly growing a pretty large following. A cute and clever design coupled with fully customizable fabrics and trims makes this diamond clutch the perfect accessory for…well, anybody. Affordable pricing is icing on the cake.
I recently interviewed the charming Chen, originally of Chengdu, China (the city of pandas!), about where the diamond clutch originates from, who her style inspiration is and what she is planning for the future.
(Superfora) Hi Sherry! I appreciate you taking the time to let me interview you, in between classes and running your own business. What prompted you to make your first diamond clutch? What was your inspiration?
Sherry Chen (SC): Exactly one year ago, I finalized my decision to transfer from economics to fashion school. I knew I needed to make something related to my new major but I didn’t have any basic knowledge of making clothes so purses were the easiest starting point for me. My original inspiration for the diamond clutch came from the quote “pressure makes diamonds.” The quote is also one of my tattoos now.
(Superfora) Learning to deal with hardships builds character and makes a person shine. A timeless quote. How/where did you promote your first clutch?
(SC) When I first finished my Tiffany blue diamond, I was so excited and posted it on Instagram. My friend immediately texted saying she wanted to buy one. That’s when I decided to produce and sell it so I kept posting my designs on Instagram and Weibe, a Chinese twitter.
(Superfora) I’ve witnessed your long list of purse orders! Did you imagine the response to your diamond clutches would be so positive? Was it difficult to keep up with demand?
(SC) When I first started to sell the diamond clutch, I had a lot of Chinese social media followers from my time in retail. They all loved the diamond so it sort of became the symbol of my brand. And their positive response helped me believe that other people would love it too. I am the only one working on my products and all of my bags are handmade so it’s a challenge to keep up with demand. But I am managing!
(Superfora) When did you decide to drop out of the economics program you were in to pursue fashion school?
(SC) My family always wanted me to study economics or a business-related program before I decided to study abroad. I therefore went to the SFU economics program. However, during the past 4 years, including 2 years of working experience at a local retailer, I felt that the fashion industry was my path. I love it. I grew up in a chic family; my mum loved styling me when I was little and she trained my fashion sense. I started reading Chinese Vogue when I was 12. But fashion was my daydream, I never thought I would be part of it. I decided to leave SFU economics when I was in my last year. It is never too late to do something [new]. I was afraid that I would regret not following my heart so I transferred programs and schools.
(Superfora) My mom definitely influenced my style and love of patterns and colours and, I can obviously relate to being an economist turned fashion junkie. You’ve expanded your purse line to include standard envelope shaped clutches in fun prints such as zebra. Which of your purses is your favourite?
(SC) The diamond clutch is of course my fave because it represents the beginning. It’s the most meaningful to me.
(Superfora) How is living in Canada different from how your life was in China? Do you think Vancouver has been very receptive to your designs despite being a laid back city? Do you see yourself staying in Vancouver?
(SC) I feel Canada is more free and relaxed than China. And I appreciate that Canada gives me more of a chance to promote my handmade bags and jewelry, which is so hard in China if you are nobody. I love Vancity but I’m not sure that I will stay here after I graduate. I want to go to UK to learn more or move to Montreal to see if there are any new opportunities for me.
(Superfora) I would hate to see you leave, Sherry, but I understand why you are eager to experience new places. I imagine fashion school has helped you dream up many new ideas. What can we expect next?
(SC) Clothing! As a fashion design student, my major courses are leading us to make clothes. It’s been difficult to learn but I am trying my best to explore myself. My goal is to be an independent designer in the future and create my own style brand.
(Superfora) Your fans can’t wait to see what you have up your sleeve Sherry, literally.
For pricing and purchasing inquiries, email Sherry at firstname.lastname@example.org. To stay abreast of her new designs, follow her on Instagram.
(All images via Sherry Chen)