Unique LA Spotlight: Costella Handbags

L.A. based photographer & fashion designer Luciana Ellington wowed us with this sublime editorial shoot presenting the Fall 2011 collection of her line of limited edition handbags, Costella Handbags. If you’re excited by arts & crafts and living in Los Angeles, head over to the California Market Center this weekend for Unique LA, the independent design show, where you can meet this inspiring young woman and score one of these badass numbers for half the price!


LF: Tell me about the denim bags you created for Unique LA out of “pre-loved” KR3W Denim pants.

LE: I participated in Unique LA before and I felt like the collection I had was a little too expensive to sell well at Unique LA so I really wanted to be part of this new show and I thought about making new bags, more affordable, that would also help to spread the word about Costella handbags. Erik had given me all these KR3W pants that had ripped the crotch skating, and he wanted me sew them.I told him to order new one from KR3W and let me use the used ones to make handbags. The designed and pattern came from an old bag I bought from Brasil, and the studs/pyramids design is just things I put together.

LF: Where does the name Costella come from?

LE: Costella means ribs. It was actually my friend Liza who came up with it. She thought it was neat, since bags are close to the ribs and we both thought it sounded good.

LF: How did you start designing handbags?

LE: I wanted to hire a designer, but I didn’t have the budget for it, they were asking for a lot of money to put a line together as drawings, so I started sewing my own samples

LF: How to you pick fabrics?

LF: I am very visual, I love photography and I love colors and patterns so I love going to the fabric store and whatever pops I grab it. That’s how I make my designs also, by putting fabrics together and combining colors and different textures.

LF: How do you feel about recycling fabric?

LE: I love it, I think is very unique, something old can be done and transformed into something very cool

LF: What’s your biggest challenge as an independent designer?

LE: Competing with things made in China, making the bags in L.A. and buying all the hardware as a sample maker is very expensive, if you are small and buy small quantities they consider it as a sample so it’s 10 times more expensive, and make things in China you have to order a big order, lots of quantity. Also as independent designer you kind of do everything alone including selling the line. For me is so hard since I have 2 kids also, my time is very limited.

LF: What’s your favorite item of clothing/jewelry and why is it so special to you?

LE: I love my Tiffany Kunz earrings and bracelets, she is so good, I love accessories even though I don’t wear much, as a photographer I like to see them and shoot them on other people.

LF: What’s the most you’ve ever spent on a handbag?

LE: $600 in a Marc Jacobs bag.

LF: What do you love most about your life?

LE: My family, they are so special. I do have a great life. I’m lucky.

LF: What freaks you out?

LE: Having to work in a messy house, I can’t do anything if the house is messy, I can’t relax. Can’t create.

LF: When are you happiest?

LE: When I’m spending time with my family, or on a date with my husband or making a new bag.

LF: What’s in current rotation on your iPod?

LE: Very different stuff, Ween, Weezer, Pixies, Marisa Montes (Brazilian singer), Sade, Snoop and Dr DRE…

LF: You also are a photographer. Where’s your favorite spot to shoot in L.A.?

LE: I’m the grassy areas, or the hills, there’s a lot of cool stuff to shoot. Hotels are also awesome, there are some great hotels here.

LF: How FAST do you live?

LE: Very fast, 24 hours is not enough for me.

LF: Do you ever miss Brazil?

LE: Sometimes, I miss my old friends, but now everything is different, everyone is doing their thing, it’s been 12 years so a lot changed.

LF: What’s your favorite thing to eat over there?

LE: Coxinha de galinha! Oh man, it’s soooo good and cheap, it’s a little chicken treat.

LF: What’s your favorite quote about style?

LE: Oh man, you got me on this you. I guess just be yourself, wear what you like, and be happy, then everyone will see how pretty you look.


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