Paraguayan chic designed in Buffalo: Vania and David - PHOTOS
blog by Kathryn Przybyla • June 17, 2013 @ 4:52pm
Walking into the small showroom on West Delevan in Buffalo, I knew this was not your average locally-produced collection.
The first time I was introduced to the Vania & David line was while covering Mercedes Benz of Buffalo Fashion Week this past year. Impressed by the unique jewelry and handbags, I wanted to learn the story behind the accessories.
“While growing up in Asuncion, Paraguay, I vividly recall my grandmother having me take her purses out of the closet to look at and admire. They would hang, usually in a velevet type case. As she took each one out of its case she would explain that it is about quality not quantity. She didn’t have many, but they were nice, really nice. And they were all made of leather,” said designer and founder, Vania Escauriza Gagliardone.
[Photo of the Original Leather wallet]
Coming to the United States in 2003, Vania started to build a business around her passion for jewelry, bags and accessories. Her craftsmanship for designing and creating the one-of-a-kind jewelry is mostly self taught. Inspecting the handiwork of bracelets, necklaces and rings she already owned, Vania had developed a professional technique that puts her pieces far above other trendy items.
These baubles and bags are an investment. They are meant to be quality items you can wear and enjoy for a lifetime, with proper care. That is one of the reason why I am such a big fan of the Vania & David line. While you might get a deal at the local mall, if you are looking for a top quality item with virtually no wear and tear, I have yet to find a better local option.
When it comes to the bags, there was a style and option for anyone. From clutches and iPad cases to tote bags and mini suitcases, the collection is quite extensive.
Made with 100% natural leather, Vania imports the leather and the bags leather handbags are made in Paraguay—a throwback to her own heritage as well as a collaboration with David Martinez, her husband and business partner. Additionally, the canvas bags and all jewelry are American made.
“The leather we utilize is natural leather from Paraguay. Paraguayan natural leather is ‘pounded’ out by hand. Paraguay is one of the last places on Earth that produces natural leather in this manner,” she said.
“The color of leather may vary in uniformity, but that only adds to its character. Over time, and with gentle use and care, the natural leather handbags and wallets will darken, soften and become even more beautiful. They can last a lifetime.”
It was clear to me that quality is at the forefront of every Vania & David design.
[Photo of the Mint Green mini suitcase]
One of the greatest achievements of Vania & David so far is the international exposure of the collection. It’s not every day that a local designer is featured in Vogue—not once, but twice. British Vogue was impressed by the high-end designs and featured Vania & David in the October 2012 and November 2012 issues.
With such exposure most of Vania & David’s clientele is made up of non-Buffalo customers, although the local market has been gaining increasing interest.
Vania’s passion about her work was infectious and it was hard not to appreciate the time and clear dedication she has put in to her craft. Although some items might be more statement pieces than your everyday accessory,
“It’s refreshing to change up your look with a single item. Just like wearing a bold lipstick—who cares if you get looks. If it makes you feel good, then you should always wear it,” she said.
But of all her creations, which one was her favorite? That would have to be the “Hand-Tooled Tote Natural” which features a hand drawn design from Vania herself, etched onto a neutral leather bag. With studding details on the straps and an intriquite design, this one was a keeper.
“The beautiful thing about being a woman,” she said, “is that you can express yourself in so many different ways. Fashion is one of them.” For more information on Vania & David, head over to their website for items from the collection and other updates.
All photos courtesy of Vania & David.