It all started in 2006 when Clare Vivier, then a journalist, couldn’t find a sturdy, stylish sleeve for toting around her computer. So, she decided to make one. “At the time, computers needed more protection. You know—when they were new, we all wanted to be really careful about our laptops,” Clare explains. “Now you can practically throw them around.”
After experimenting with all sorts of padding and quilted fabrics, she started working in leather, landed on her pared-down, sophisticated aesthetic, and got into the bag business. “I loved Bonnie Cashin-era Coach when I was young, how minimal the company was in its leather goods. Then I went to France and saw things that were just beautiful in their simplicity, without much hardware and other things going on,” she says.
Clare lived in Indiana, Minnesota, San Francisco, New York, and Paris (where she picked up a French husband and corresponding last name) before landing in Los Angeles. The city has proven to be a good home for her no-nonsense line of saturated navy messengers and slightly retro shoulder bags—she can do her designing from home (which means less time away from her seven-year-old son) and work with local factories. But lest you think she was always an ultra-polished sophisticate, you should know that Clare co-owned a hip-hop-inflected clothing store with an in-house D.J. in Haight-Ashbury during college.