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Clare Viver started creating bags when she needed a laptop bag that was both functional and chic to carry to work. After making one by hand for herself, her friends started asking for one of their own. She knew then that she was on to something. Since 2008, Clare V. has evolved into a brand known for its bright pops of color and clean lines. Clare V. bags and accessories are made in Los Angeles.
Based in Los Angeles, Clare V.’s line of fashion intertwines French chic and American prep, along with the search for the perfect, classic but trend driven bag for work. Clare Vivier, founder and operator of Clare V., designs with this view, and her designs have generated a cult-like following.
Some consumers of Clare V. call her products affordable luxury. Clare V. was initially hot in Los Angeles but not available everywhere, amplifying the line’s mystique and appeal. Clare V. has worked with high-profile brands to develop exclusive products for them, with customers such as Target, Goop, Apple, H&M, and Steven Alan. Top models and other celebrities are often photographed with Clare V. items and gushing about them in interviews.
The first launch by Clare V. was a single vegetable-tanned leather tote with the name La Tropezienne, manufactured in Los Angeles. Early social media support helped Clare V. grow into an American lifestyle brand that offers small accessories, gifts, stationery, and French-phrase T-shirts. Clare V. products are available at more than 300 outlets worldwide.
The style that guides Clare V.’s fashion design is minimalist yet warm. Clare V. designers will take a flat leather pouch and adorn it with bold stripe detail or contrasting colored zippers. Fold-over clutches, simple totes, and duffels with the option for monogramming have made Clare V. an icon, inspiring similar styles at every price-point. This collection of Clare V. helped define a new niche in the accessories market, in turn carving a path for other anti-“It” bag brands as well.
Design concepts that Clare V. uses include graphic strips, patterns, and fonts, set onto functional shapes. Clare V. references are more abstract and suggestive rather than literal. For example, for a tennis-themed collection, Clare V. adorned a clutch with an abstract tennis net pattern and another with neon yellow dots, barely recognizable as tennis balls. A third item included a clutch bearing the French phrase “Piscine Lecons de Natation” (swim school), which Vivier took from a hand-drawn sign she photographed in Paris.
The Clare V. aesthetic plays on classic shapes, modern detail, and Parisian charm. The Clare V. line continues to evolve with each collection, and Clare V. now produces a full range of bags and accessories. Clare V. products include designs for tech, travel, men, and small leather accessories, as well as clothing items such as tees and shoes. The Clare V. brand has continued to grow, and the line continues to be primarily manufactured in Los Angeles. The Clare V. appeal is enduring and unique. Clare V. design is durable. Leathers Clare V. uses are sourced in Italy. Local artisans in Peru handcraft knits and crochets for Clare V. products.
Clare V. is Clare Vivier. Clare Vivier grew up in the Midwest as Clare Guerrero, one of six children with a teacher mother and attorney father who did pro bono work for Mexican-American laborers in the Twin Cities. Clare Vivier graduated from University of San Francisco and opened a street-wear clothing store called Behind the Post Office in the Haight-Ashbury area. This was the first Clare V. retail experience.
Shortly thereafter, Clare Vivier moved to Paris and began to intern at a documentary film production company while waitressing. Then in 2001, Clare Vivier and her husband Thierry Vivier, a journalist, moved to Los Angeles, and Clare Vivier brought her admiration of French women and their chic to California.
In L.A., Vivier launched a blog. In her blog, she would document her wardrobe, including the thrift-store treasures from Minnesota. In these posts, Vivier would chart her outfits and how she would customize them. Vivier had no problem grabbing a pair of scissors and cutting into whatever she had – even designer leathers – making something much more interesting and very unique to the style that would define Clare V. The designer began to develop a reputation for her style both online and off.
For work in L.A., Vivier was a prop stylist and commercial production coordinator. In this role, Clare Vivier needed a bag, but all of the work bags she found were black nylon and looked very “corporate-y.” So, Vivier made her own Clare V. bag. When all of her friends began to admire her bag, she began to think bigger.
The first product for the Clare V. line was announced in 2007 on her blog. The headline to this Clare V. bag read simply, “I’ve got your summer tote.” The first Clare V. bag was the La Tropezienne. Vivier hired her first employee in 2010. The designer would sell the Clare V. bags and put the money back into the company. By 2012, Clare V. was doing $2 million in sales and was completely self-funded.
Prefontaine carries an ample collection of bags and apparel from Clare V.’s collection. We have Clare V. large bags such as totes and messenger bags, hand bags, and small leather items. We also carry Clare V. shoulder straps and apparel.