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Meet Janine Der Bogosian of Shop Lucine in Pasadena / Los Angeles

Today we’d like to introduce you to Janine Der Bogosian.

Janine, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I’ve always been one to romanticize ordinary things, seeing art and beauty in mundane situations. I’m no designer, but I’ve always had a knack for styling and creating looks using repurposed fabrics and unique accessories. I grew up watching my grandmother Lucine, a seamstress and designer, create beautiful garments out of nothing but scraps of fabric. Her creativity always inspired me, as did film, music, theatre and the styles of other fashion icons I idolized – Sophia Loren, Edie Sedgwick, Diana Ross, Cher.

LUCINE was a concept that became a creative outlet for me while working full time in Entertainment PR and eventually developed into an online business. It is a Los Angeles based handbag label that celebrates art in different cultures with the mission of preserving artisanal techniques unique to communities around the world. Ranging from cross body bags and clutches to travel duffles and beach bags, each LUCINE collection highlights a different region across the globe.

Has it been a smooth road?
Starting a new business entails a lot of trial and error. You research and study as much as you can, but learn the most by implementing and tweaking processes as you go. In the beginning, my challenges were based around ways to make LUCINE bags in Los Angeles, keeping labor ethical and fair while keeping quality top notch.

Another challenge was linking up with artisans around the world with whom it’s difficult to connect online. Aside from our bags that are made in LA, many of our collections are created globally by traditional fair trade artisans. Establishing personal connections with textile artists, weavers and collectors was an important foundation for our work, as we wanted to keep each collection authentic to both our shop and the fashion in each culture.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Shop Lucine – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
LUCINE specializes in handbags that celebrate the art of fashion in different parts of the world. To me, the most special aspect of our work is its authenticity. It’s important to me to take the time for each collection to be thoughtful and genuine, never rushing projects for the sake of competing with “fast fashion”. It’s important for us to keep the brand sustainable and ethical, and I find great joy in learning about diverse communities as we highlight different parts of the globe.

For example, for our PERU collection I had a hard time sourcing beautiful Peruvian embroidered fabrics online. So when I had the opportunity, I went down to Peru to try to connect with local artisans and find unique fabrics that are traditional. After a few days of exploring local villages and artisanal markets around Cusco, I was able to find one-of-a-kind textiles that featured hand embroidery in traditional floral and patterned designs. I knew these were so special and unique, each rare pice made decades ago. Some were used, some were damaged, but all were so beautiful. I brought them back home with me and cleaned them up, restoring any weaving that was damaged over the years and repurposing these fabrics into handbags with the goal of preserving them. Each finished bag is truly a labor of love that has taken a long time to source and design, making us proud to be able to revive cultural fashion in new and interesting ways.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
Los Angeles is the hub of diversity and culture. Here you can find people from all over the world who embrace unity while staying proud of their roots and carrying on cultural traditions. This is a dreamland for creatives, artists, dreamers and doers. You can find passion in every corner of LA – whether it’s about the arts, food, social justice issues or anything beyond. The city is full of color and multi-faceted individuals who are determined to make a difference.

The traffic though…

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