What stands out most about Ecuadorian handbag designer Johanna Konanz is her commitment to learning the craft and worldwide pursuit to understanding fashion. At Polimoda International Institute in Florence, she studied footwear and accessory design while also learning about the leather manufacturing and finishing processes. To balance out her design strengths, she and attended Miami University of Art and Design to study fashion merchandising.
After graduation, Johanna worked at Salvatore Ferragamo, in both the women’s and men’s accessories departments. Through this, she learned to appreciate design, craftsmanship and gained a better understanding of the luxury sector, ultimately deciding to follow suit with her own designs.
Johanna realized there was a void in the market for luxury handbags in Ecuador and had the opportunity to be a pioneer in her country. In 2010, she started her line with a focus on exotic skins like python and crocodile in handbags and small leather goods. Putting quality and durability first with designs that are timeless is the essence of her brand. “I like to create elegant and defined designs that last through the years. I use classics figures with color to make them modern.” The Firenze and Rimini, her signatures and best sellers hold true to her vision.
For spring/summer 2012, her look is colorful, something that she says goes with the season, but also works well with Latin women, one of her primary customers. You’ll also see bursts of metallics and silhouettes that are lighter than seasons past for extra comfort.
In just two years, she has gained traction in Ecuador, Colombia; where her bags are made and Miami. She’s also done well in New York; a solid presence in boutiques, a semester at Parsons and participating in The Pre Shows’ silent auction on January 27th.
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