Handbag designer  

Photos by Simone Noble



 As a young girl in St. Paul, Minnesota, Clare Vivier (née Guerrero) saw her first pair of Gloria Vanderbilt jeans and knew she had to have them. The youngest of six children in a Mexican-Irish family, she learned how to sew in grade school. Years later, Clare wanted a bag for her laptop but couldn’t find one she liked. So she sewed her own, with a line that started as workbags, with careful attention paid to function and what women really need. Those values still drive her namesake brand today.

Clare moved to San Francisco for college, never having been to California. She moved to France after college, never having been to Europe. In Paris, she met journalist Thierry Vivier, her husband of 22 years, with a family that includes stepson Simon, who is 23, and son Oscar, who is 14.

After moving to L.A. in 2001 and launching Clare V. in 2008, Clare has lived in Echo Park for almost 15 years. She loves that the city has such a thriving creative community and that her studio, home, and first store are part of a beautiful, smaller community on the east side.

Clare is forever grateful to the owner of the original factory willing to work with her from the beginning. The two women immediately had a kinship based on their ability to make things, and still work together today. Clare loves the people with whom she works, and that she gets to see her designs become part of others’ everyday lives.

Cherishing Sundays in bed with the newspaper, Clare is ever aware and challenged to balance the business with the creative, and to making decisions that benefit both. What is her advice to other aspiring women? Dream, work hard, know your weaknesses, and surround yourself with people who are strong at what you are not. Do all of it at once!