NYC accessory designer, Shara Porter

15 April 2009

I recently had the pleasure to speak with accessory designer Shara Porter, whose products are featured at various locales throughout New York City, about her experiences as a young artist. The rest, they say, was history – and is featured below for The Vogue City readers.

What got you interested in art, leatherware and design?

“Ever since I was a kid, I’ve like making things. I didn’t realize it could become my career. I pursued a more straight and narrow path for awhile; I studied public policy in college. I just didn’t realize what else was out there.”

What was spark that helped transition it into your career?

“I started listening to my heart instead of listening to what I thought I should do, and gave myself the space to do that. After I finished college I searched for awhile to see what I could pursue. I worked in New York City on custom wood furniture and custom design projects. I’ve been thrift shopping since I was young, and love the idea of finding something, cutting it up and turning it into something entirely different. I actually started a line the mid-to-late 90s of slip dresses. I would go around the country, picking up these great old slips at thrift shops; then, dye and embellish them. I eventually took a class at a craft school in North Carolina and it changed the way I approached everything – I realized I’d been too practical about what I was doing. I learned how to take an image and transfer it onto fabric; it got me excited conceptually. I came back to Brooklyn and took a few classes at FIT and Parsons, then applied to graduate school without having too much of an art background, but figured I could find my way. These experiences brought me to where I am today.”

Do you look toward any artists or designers for inspiration?

“David Ireland [cite what medium he specializes in] is great. He bought an old house in San Francisco with the intention of renovating it and started to break it down and just stopped. He left the walls bare, with the foundation exposed, and exhibited the house through installations and photography. I like the idea of making every day special in some way and looking for details in the obscure. I’m touched by things that are overlooked; probably because I felt like I was overlooked for awhile. I look for things that are discarded to see if I can resurrect them in some way. I also admire Rei Kawakubo, of Comme de Garcones, for her unique designs and the way she puts together
unexpected elements.”

What about bag designers?

“I don’t look to other bag designers for inspiration for my own line. For me, it’s about shape – simple shapes – and quality, and letting those things shine on their own. I love old Aigner bags. Old things are made so much better than they are today.”

How would you describe your personal style?

I like things that are worm – things that have an age and clothing that has some wear to it. I love quirky, unique things that I can chop up; things that are asymmetrical and unexpected. There has to be an element of surprise – a slit in the sleeve of a shirt or a print on a bag – in my style. I appreciate the unpredictable. You’ll notice a recycled element to my work; there’s so much waste and excess that I’d rather not contribute to the problem.”
Describe your ideal customer.

My products tend to do best in big cities. I’d say that my ideal customer is a woman in her mid-20s to early 40s, but am sometimes surprised – I’ve had women in their 60s respond positively to my bags as well. I guess more than age, my customers tend to be people who already have a unique style and want something that’s different and one-of-a-kind.”

Do you have any advice for those who are interested in starting their own accessory line?

“Just follow what you’re passionate about and eventually other people will see that passion. Be willing to learn the ropes of the industry as you go. I came at it through the back door, which is not conventional.”

Would you go back to what you were doing before?

“I wouldn’t go back. I just love the freedom of everyday doing something towards my business, making it my own. I hope that I can continue for awhile.”

Shara’s work can be found at 4 Play BK, 360 7th Avenue (718.369.4086) and Neda, 302 Court Street (718.624.6332) in Brooklyn, or at The Clothing Warehouse, 8 Prince Street (212.343.1967) in Manhattan. For further information about Shara Porter, or to get the full list of where you can purchase her pieces, please go to HYPERLINK “”

-Karyn Polewaczyk

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Posted by Staff Writer at 09:12 AM
Designers , JEWELRY , People , SHOES/ACCESSORIES , STYLE/BEAUTY , TSC Interviews |

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