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If you, too, are stoked that LA's growing more bike-friendly by the minute (hello, CicLAvia!), then you also know that the options for practical, outfit-coordinating wheel gear are few and far between. If messenger bags aren't your ideal statement pieces, then hold onto your handlebars: versatile leather bag maker Vere Verto is here to change the way you pedal with your purse.
Created by friends Paige Smith and Consuelo Chozas, the new LA-made line caters to on-the-go urbanites in need of fashionable and functional bike bags. Crafted from luxe Spanish and Italian leathers, VV's debut collection (ranging from $448 to $897) includes a sweet all-in-one clutch/cross-body/side saddle bag and a sleek convertible backpack, perfect for slinging over your shoulder after locking up your ride.
We sat down with Smith and Chozas—who are no strangers to the carless life—to talk about how it all got started, what inspires them, and where they go to shop, play and eat in LA.
What brought you both to LA?
"Paige decided to move to LA after living in SF as a freelance designer. She wanted a change of scene and to work with a broader range of clients. Downtown LA has been the perfect fit, filled with a dense population of creatives in every field. Consuelo moved from Madrid, where she was studying and taking in the European way of life. She moved to LA to work in the contemporary art world. She eventually found her way into fashion by starting her own boutique in Manhattan Beach."
What do you think of the growing momentum of LA as a bike-friendly city?
"It's exciting! LA should technically be a more bike friendly city—it's so flat. Unfortunately it's so spread out, it's very hard to get from one neighborhood to the next. Even so, we are excited that more and more bike lanes are going in and the city has been pushing awareness to drivers about biking safety."
Who and and what inspires you?
"Inspirations come from many places, generally people/designers that focus on simplicity, function, multimedia, and usability. The Sartorialist's tastes, Céline, Stella McCartney, Alexander Wang, Sagmeister, Isabel Marant, The Made Shop."
VV has been in the makings for over a year. How does it feel to finally be able to present your collection?
"We were getting more and more intensely eager to show our hard work, it really pushed us to get it out this summer. It felt like a huge relief to complete something we worked on for so long and so hard. To start seeing our bags out in the world and on girls that felt our similar problem is more than satisfying."
Where are your favorite places to shop, eat, drink and play in LA?
"We both love kitsch, so we get to Casablanca or Tiki Ti often. Wine bars, such as Pour Haus and Venice Beach Wines. We love Stella, Pho Cafe, Bestia, Tasting Kitchen, Sun of a Gun, Daily Dose Cafe, Handsome Coffee Roasters. To play, Paige bikes the LA River when she can. Consuelo plays tennis in Elysian Park. We hike, have picnics with cheese and charcuterie, and find empty hotels to sunbathe at on Wednesday afternoons. Shopping at Hemingway and Pickett, American Rag, The Painted Bird, Le Labo, the Rose Bowl, and Skylight Books."
What do you have in store for Vere Verto in the future?
"We would love to design men's bags, as well as bags for more specific commuting such as weekenders or hauling equipment (e.g. camera bags)."
· Vere Verto [Official Site]
· Where Sonja Rasula Goes in Silver Lake To Buy Bikes [Racked]
· Nudie Jeans Takes Care of Handsome Coffee's Work Aprons [Racked]
· Where This Beauty Agent Shops For Knick Knacks in Silver Lake [Racked]
· CicLAvia's Third Anniversary Event Returns to Downtown Roots [Curbed]