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It all started with a YouTube video. Chicago native Shana Thomas was having difficulty finding a career in fashion after graduating into the 2008-and-beyond economy. After starting a career in healthcare, she watched a video about a trade program helping artisans in Haiti survive after the 2010 earthquake, and realized that fashion could be used for much more than a means to a quick job or a really cool purse.
Not that Shana is opposed to a really cool purse. She founded the luxury purse line Affashionado in 2013, and the pre-spring 2015 collection is now for sale, consisting of four lovely bags that are priced from $195 to $720. In the spring of 2015, Shana will be teaming up with artisans from Tanzania as she begins to fulfill her goal of marrying fashion with sustainability. We caught up with Shana to ask her, briefly, what her favorite purse is (spoiler alert: it's our favorite, too).
Where do you get design inspiration for your gorgeous bags? The inspiration for the collection comes from nature. I was inspired by leaf veins, and liked the idea so much I decided to carry the concept through out my first collection.
How did you connect with artisans in Tanzania? A friend of mine that works with artisans in developing nations introduced me to a great non-profit that works directly with the artisans in Tanzania. I am so excited about the launch of this new partnership! Empowering women through sustainable employment is really important to me. My goal is create more partnerships in the developing world.
What are some of your favorite things to do in Chicago? I love shopping on Devon Avenue. I like going to the Farmers Market and bringing home fresh fruit and veggies. Also, I really enjoy the festivals in the summer time!
Which bag is your favorite—and how would you style it? My favorite bag would have to be the Zoe, which can be worn as a crossbody and shoulder bag. I would style it with a brightly colored blouse or white T-shirt, skinny jeans, paired with a black blazer, bold necklace, and a floral print, open toe sandal.
· Affashionado Lookbook Pre-Spring 2015 [Affashionado]