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MEET THE DESIGNER: SKINNY VINNY

Skinny Vinny
Vincent Lai SHOP ALL
Most upstart fashion lines don’t launch to fanfare, but in the Skinny Vinny origin story, public attention plays a lead role. “When I was working as a product designer, I had these ideas for bags in my head—I’d see people not being able to reach the bottom of what they were carrying, and I thought, ‘How can I fix that problem?’” says Vincent Lai, the born-and-bred Brooklynite, of the 2008 beginnings of his hyper-functional line. “One day I made a sample, just to see if my ideas worked. I took a picture, and sent it to some friends, who sent it to their friends—and from there, blogs and magazines picked it up.” In no time, requests started flying in from buyers and editors, and Vincent took that industrial-design training of his from Carnegie Mellon and went full-steam ahead.Today, Skinny Vinny—a high school nickname Vincent earned growing up in a very Italian neighborhood—includes wallets and bow ties, too. And they came about in the same happenstance and thoughtful manner as that first design. “I’d walk around other studios and factories, and there’d be excess fabric that the designers didn’t know what to do with,” he recalls. “So I said, ‘Instead of you throwing it out, why don’t I make something out of it?’” Staying true to his roots, Vincent sketches, cuts, and sews everything by hand in his South Brooklyn studio. And, oh: Because of the deadstock nature of some materials, certain products can only be produced in limited runs—something we can no doubt get behind. —<em>jiayi ying</em> <a href="http://skinny-vinny.com/">skinny-vinny.com</a> READ MORE


Most upstart fashion lines don’t launch to fanfare, but in the Skinny Vinny origin story, public attention plays a lead role. “When I was working as a product designer, I had these ideas for bags in my head—I’d see people not being able to reach the bottom of what they were carrying, and I thought, ‘How can I fix that problem?’” says Vincent Lai, the born-and-bred Brooklynite, of the 2008 beginnings of his hyper-functional line. “One day I made a sample, just to see if my ideas worked. I took a picture, and sent it to some friends, who sent it to their friends—and from there, blogs and magazines picked it up.” In no time, requests started flying in from buyers and editors, and Vincent took that industrial-design training of his from Carnegie Mellon and went full-steam ahead.Today, Skinny Vinny—a high school nickname Vincent earned growing up in a very Italian neighborhood—includes wallets and bow ties, too. And they came about in the same happenstance and thoughtful manner as that first design. “I’d walk around other studios and factories, and there’d be excess fabric that the designers didn’t know what to do with,” he recalls. “So I said, ‘Instead of you throwing it out, why don’t I make something out of it?’” Staying true to his roots, Vincent sketches, cuts, and sews everything by hand in his South Brooklyn studio. And, oh: Because of the deadstock nature of some materials, certain products can only be produced in limited runs—something we can no doubt get behind. —jiayi ying

skinny-vinny.com

DESIGNER'S WORK

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MORUS BACKPACK
. 60 OF A KIND .
Morus Backpack BY Skinny Vinny
$ 160 $ 85

BEHIND THE SCENES

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Eat a Whole Lot of Dim Sum With Vincent Lai

Follow his lead and go this Saturday. And the one after.

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Skinny Vinny Talks Bags

On the checklist: smart design, a sleek look, and little to no waste.

STORIES ARCHIVE

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