Ones to Watch – Jess Rizzuti

June 18, 2014

Jess rizzutiWe caught up with talented handbag designer Jess Rizzuti to find out about her latest collection and the inspiration behind her designs.

Jess Rizzuti pursued her passion for art and fashion earning her a Fine Arts degree at the Rhode Island School of Design. She then went on to further her design education at the Fashion Institute of Technology where her handbag collection was initially conceived. After developing her initial bags by hand, she had her first handbag manufactured in 2008. Since then, Jess Rizzuti New York has been featured in publications including, but not limited to, Life & Style, Health, and WWD. Jess earned a nomination both in 2011 and 2012 for Best Green Handbag in the Independent Handbag Designer Awards sponsored by InStyle.

Jess Rizzuti headshotWhy did you decide to become a fashion designer? It has always been my dream to be a fashion designer. I should have known at a young age by the way I dressed and accessorized myself and others playing dress-up. The art of mixing and matching, pairing new with old, or expensive with affordable, is something that is still valid in my everyday wardrobe.

What’s it like being in the fashion industry? It’s honestly not as glamorous as everyone thinks. There’s a lot of schlepping around the garment district where it’s continuous hustle and bustle. By the end of the day you just want to get away from the noise! But besides that, the fashion industry is fast paced, and keeps me on my toes both literally and figuratively.

How would you describe your brand? I would describe my brand in a few words… Luxe, sophisticated, eco-chic, and timeless.

What has been the biggest highlight of your career so far? The biggest highlight would have to be participating in NYFW. It’s such an amazing time in New York, and there is so much energy! It’s unreal to be a part of it.

What is the inspiration behind your Hudson Tote for FW14 – Red Ombre Lizard Embossed? The new silhouette was inspired by the lady on the move who wants to look good doing it. This bag is the perfect size for work and travel. But the material is what makes this so special. I had the idea to create an ombre effect this season, and had this material commissioned and custom made. I came up with the drawing, the variations in color relative to the embossing plate, and the end result is bold and unique!

Describe your ideal consumer.  My ideal customer is the 30-something year old, professional, and fashion forward woman who is looking for something different. My accessories are meant to stand out, and I love how my customers work their Jess Rizzuti handbags into their wardrobes.

What is your favourite piece and why? My favorite silhouette is my Sophie Hard Baguette. I love a good structured bag. It’s hard to pick a favorite color variation, but I’d have to say my new Cork Gold Embossed is on the top of my list right now.

If you could have any celebrity spokesmodel, who would it be and why? Jessica Alba. Not only is she a stylish leading lady, but she also believes that you can dress responsibly and ethically.

What store would you love to have your clothes in? Barneys

What does 2014 hold for the brand? Too much to say! Stay tuned. It’s going to be a great year!


The Nolcha Fashion Week Ones to Watch feature is a weekly interview highlighting an independent fashion designer that is making moves in the fashion industry. Whether from a runway show in New York City or discovered by our globetrotting team we are proud to be a platform of discovery supporting innovative independent fashion.

If you are an independent fashion designer interested to be featured in the Ones to Watch interview series please email megan@nolcha.com with more information about your brand.

Nolcha Fashion Week: New York, founded by Kerry Bannigan and Arthur Mandel, is a leading award winning event held during New York Fashion Week hosting independent fashion designer runway shows.