Rachel Nasvik is no stranger to the handbag business: She launched a buzzy namesake line of sturdy, polished, and not-too-fussy satchels and cross-body bags in 2003. After five years in the biz, she met Arturo Jinjinian, who’s owned a factory near NYC’s Garment District since 1984, and the twosome started to dream about finding someway, somehow to work together. In the fall of 2012, they landed on it: Tanner Prep, a new label that’s all about premium materials (skins are sourced from Italy and South America) and high-quality production.
The name references the process of tanning leather and is also a nod to the line’s prep-school vibe. But Rachel isn’t going full-on Dead Poets Society, by any stretch. “In some ways,” she says, “it’s about the juxtaposition of preppy with something that’s a little more trendy.” And partnering in this way with a local factory has given the Brooklyn-based designer the freedom to experiment with different leathers and colors. Like the best independent-study student imaginable, she’s really enjoying the learning process. “It’s very special to have my hand in it and to be part of the experience,” she says. —meghana gandhi