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Meet Diana DeCarlo’s Design in Silver Lake

Today we’d like to introduce you to Diana DeCarlo.

Thanks for sharing your story with us. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there. I was always a creative kid growing up. I loved getting crafty and making things since the age of 9, when my Grandmother gave me her old costume jewelry and my dad gave me a pair of pliers and wire cutters. I would take things apart and mix it with new materials. I continued to create my own jewelry throughout my life, mostly for myself to wear, then later on selling my creations to friends and family. My soul has always been drawn to the creative arts since birth. I started dancing and performing at the age of 3, moving into theater and film later on. I have always loved photography, architecture and all things design, including interiors.

I was born and raised on Long Island, NY before heading to NYC to attend The Fashion Institute of Technology where I got my Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing and Communications. I have always been obsessed with the art and splendor of fashion, while also fascinated with running a business one day. So, getting a business degree from a fashion school was a perfect mix. After graduation I worked at some of the top global advertising agencies in NY, but by my late 20s I was burned out and needed a change. So, I jumped at the opportunity to live in Rome, Italy for a while. It was an incredible experience that I wouldn’t trade for the world. I always say, when in doubt, travel. There’s a big world out there to be discovered. Always stay curious and you will never be bored.

By my mid-30s, I decided to fulfill my life-long dream of living in California. Los Angeles has given me a more relaxed lifestyle in the year-round sunshine that I knew my body and soul needed. I continue to be inspired by everything around me in this wonderful city, especially the laid-back beach vibes of the West Side and the artistic creativity of Silver Lake and DTLA.

One day I found myself downtown in a leather shop. I was like a kid in a candy store! I bought some scraps and started teaching myself how to cut and assemble handbags and other accessories. Of all my creative twists and turns throughout my life, I knew I had found my sweet spot. I love clothes, but accessories have always been my favorite part of fashion and style. A woman can never have enough shoes, jewelry or handbags. I love how accessories can totally transform a look, no matter what a woman is wearing.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome? I wouldn’t necessarily say I’ve had any obstacles as a designer. I love the challenge of figuring things out as I go. What I do struggle with is being a one-woman-show. I once heard a quote by a French embroiderer that said “A designer is like a composer. If he doesn’t have musicians to play his score, nothing happens.” I’d love to have an atelier here in LA, with a staff of talented artisans and craftspeople, making the music happen.

I would also LOVE a mentor. Someone in the industry who has experience building a fashion brand. I love the TV shows Shark Tank and The Profit. I don’t watch those shows, I study them. An investor would be wonderful to help me take my business to the next level. It’s a huge challenge to have ideas and goals with limited resources to implement them. Looking forward, there is nowhere to go but up.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Diana DeCarlo Design – what should we know? I design and create leather handbags and accessories, in my home studio in Silver Lake, Los Angeles. I source materials mainly from DTLA, but also all from over in my travels. I am a vintage junkie and love to find interesting materials that I can recycle into my pieces whenever I can. Every single detail is done by hand. I put a lot of love, energy and time into precision and style. I have my website which features everything I make, as well as having my work stocked in a few stores. It would be a dream come true to see my designs on the shelves at Barneys one day.

I’ve had a couple of proud moments recently. I had some of my work in a store in Las Vegas and they sold out in 2 weeks! I also donated a one-of-a-kind clutch to an organization called Shane’s Inspiration for their charity auction. They help fund and build playgrounds all over Los Angeles for children of all abilities. Knowing that my creation contributed in some small way to helping children makes my heart smile.

I am known for my signature style that is a little bit industrial, a little rock and roll, yet elegant, chic and a little edgy, all while being functional and versatile. People love my convertible hip pack and cross body. It goes from day to night with ease by switching the belt for the chain. My bi-fold wallet is very popular as well. I aim to design for ease and organization for the busy woman on the go. Accessories that are coordinating, complimenting, versatile and chic. For the woman who runs sh*t, must be organized and look fabulous doing it.

What sets me apart from others is that I make each piece by hand. I consider my work a piece of art. Things that are handmade are a fleeting luxury in the age of fast fashion. Handcrafting takes time and skill. A person’s energy and love are poured into creating a piece of wearable art and you can feel it. It’s special.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success? My enthusiasm and passion, my ability to improvise, overcome and adapt, my insatiable curiosity to learn new things and grow, and my confidence to tackle whatever life throws my way.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Diana DeCarlo
Tamires Macedo Lima

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