fashion + beauty + insider interviews + est 2006

Thursday, July 24, 2008


new york - blaynista's can i get your ear for a minute? now i know we do these career chronicles quite often, but this one simply blew me away. alicia ferriabough of sukari new york, is an unlikely fashionista. this spelman graduate started out as an entertainment lawyer. but after years of being unfulfilled she made the bold move to leave law behind and follow her life long passion: fashion. thus came to be her much loved bag collection - sukari new york. sukari is a line of hand-crafted luxury bags made from exotic leathers and rich materials. as it's described on the website,, "sukari is a paragon of modernity and style." the same can be said about the designer of these bags, ferriabough, who is every bit as dynamic, beautiful and inspiring as the amazing bags she designs. i caught up with her a few weeks ago (i know! alicia please forgive my tardiness!) to discuss how she got her start and where she sees her label/career going. see the transcript below...

what's your name?

Alicia D. Ferriabough

...and your age (optional)?

30 something

where do you live?

New York

...and your title
Owner, designer of Sukari, New York

that's a very cute one! are you passionate about your job?
Now I am! Before Sukari came to be I practiced corporate and entertainment law for a few years, but it never got me excited. I didn’t wake up in the morning amped up to draft a contract or a legal memo. I thought that by representing recording artists I would vicariously satisfy my need for creative expression, but it just reminded me of how off track I was.

what inspired you to pick this?
I chose designing accessories, handbags in particular, because I've always been creative and resourceful and loved fashion! When I was young, you could always find me in my bedroom (ahem, the creative studio) sewing, stapling or gluing something. From wardrobe sachets to baby dolls and wallets, anything I liked and saw in the stores, I tried to recreate it and put my own spin on it. I also LOVED the movie “Mahogany” featuring the uber fabulous, Diana Ross, as a burgeoning world-famous fashion designer; it was such an inspiring movie for me that I even modeled for a stint just so I could wear fabulous clothes and jewelry.

oh i love it!!!! you are a clever girl. did you go to college or trade school to learn how to design?
No, I actually studied political science at Spelman College then went to law school at Northwestern University. It was not until I decided to dive head first into my passion that I began taking courses at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology. I took a few classes geared toward marketing and producing accessories.

that was a smart move. so now that you are knee-deep in this what have you learned about getting to your level - and staying there!?
I’m still figuring this out myself, but I think it takes perseverance, confidence, patience and a healthy dose of fear…fear of regret that is. I never want to regret not giving this venture my all, so I give it 110%. Since the launch of our Sukari collection, I feel like I have been eating and sleeping all things Sukari! I can’t help but stare at and study women’s handbags, shoes and belts as I walk the streets of New York.

what do you love most about what you do?
I love seeing my sketches come to life, but most of all, I enjoy seeing women wearing my handbags!

what makes your job a challenge?
I think the most challenging part of this whole business is introducing a new brand to the market. You could have the hottest new product, but the public won’t necessarily embrace it right away just because it's new. It really does take resources, time, effort, and luck to crack the market. You have to continuously implement different strategies and try new angles and hope that one of them breaks the ice.

would you recommend your career path to others?
I highly recommend people follow their dreams whatever they are; life’s too short not to. I’ve heard it said many times that one should do what you love and money and abundance will follow. I believe that is true. Fashion is a tough, fickle business, but if that’s what you love to do, you have to make it happen.

finally - because we live for compliments here at - what do you love about this blog?
You’re worldwide, Zandile! I love your panoramic fashion features...myopic views on anything are so lame. Also, I love the Career Chronicles. Getting caught up on what’s happening behind the labels is a must, especially for me as a designer and entrepreneur; I need to know what’s happening on all fronts of fashion. LOVE IT!!

oh! and since this is a fashion blog, we have to ask you a fashionable question: describe an outfit that completely captures your style and personality?
I’ve been told that I have a conservative, yet earthy-chic, sophisticated style. My personality is eccentric and colorful. An outfit that epitomizes that description on a normal day is a pair of Hudson dark denim jeans, a sexy sweater (probably with bat wing them), Argentinean cowboy boots, jazzy bangles, hot shades, a Sukari necklace, and an espresso-colored Sukari Oaxaca shoulder bag. But on a “dress up” occasion I might wear a Butter by Nadia wrap dress with some hot Jimmy Choo boots (or strappy sandals), glitzy bangles from India or beaded ones from South Africa on my wrists, a colorful beaded choker around my neck and a Sukari Buenos Aires clutch under my arm!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A Sukari New York handbag is the most fabulous jewel that I have bought this year. This may sound strange, but I can't help stroking that buttery leather. Ooh, la, la! So impressed with the designs, textures and colors that I now own two. Heck, if Ivanna Trump can tout one so can I!

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