For accessories certain to whisk you away to faraway places, one need look no further than Stefani De La O’s The Nomadic Collector handbags and luggage. Born in Costa Rica and raised in Miami, the designer is a self-professed nomad with a proclivity for traveling to exotic corners of the earth such as Morocco, Turkey, St. Tropez, St, Barths, Brazil and beyond. Channeling her keen sense of wanderlust, Stefani’s collection of handbags and luggage comprised of natural skins and wood beckon one to rove the world. We strike up a conversation with the jetsetter.
What is the story behind the brand’s name?
Writer Paul Theroux once said, ‘Travel is at its most rewarding when it ceases to be about reaching a destination and becomes indistinguishable from living your life.’ We are about collecting experiences not things; our pieces are meant to commemorate the experiences of your unique journey.
Do you have a preferred material to work with?
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Craftsmanship and quality are for me synonymous with beauty and efficiency. The odor of wood draws me in, yet the innate uniqueness of each log make it my favorite. Wood’s strength and longevity keep me in awe.
How are your creations sustainable?
It is paramount that we as a company contribute to the planet rather than destroy it. In an era of disposable fashion, our first approach is in our ideology — producing products that are meant to last and are void of frivolous trends so their relevance as a fashion piece lasts as long as the product does. While we have many philanthropic plans in mind, we are beginning as a 1-percent-for-the-planet company, whose proceeds will go toward reforestation.
Fashion is a rough and tumble world. What is the best advice you can give budding designers?
Like all things in life, the starting point of all achievement is desire. Those who succeed are the ones who work harder than the rest. My first advice would be to stop using the word ‘problem.’ You are a designer — obstacles and deviations from the plan should be embraced as new possibilities to create.
Wanderlust is embedded in your DNA. Where is your go-to vacation spot?
Anywhere I haven’t been — a place that doesn’t welcome tourists and is off the map sounds right up my alley. Right now, travel is limited to work trips but Dakar, the Senegalese coast and Zanzibar are in the works.