Made By Ciriaco Is Perfecting The Mini-Handbag
Courtesy of Ciriaco

The bag you choose to accompany you from day to night is one of the most important decisions you’ll make — ever. Besides your jewelry, your bag brings flavor, style and mystique to both your look and your personality. Head architect, Ashley Ciriaco creates sustainable handbag line Made By Ciriaco that adds that perfect symmetrical zest from sun up to sun down. 

In celebrating a year from it’s release, the baguette for all seasons has been mentioned in Forbes, Paper, and most recently Beyoncé’s website officially granting the label a must-have in everyone’s closet. Designed with “playful chic-ness and a NYC lifestyle” in mind, the “Ashley Minimal Baguette” is a one-shoulder square-ish handbag with a diagonal trailing zipper. When devising the look, Ciriaco aimed to have a noticeable feel commanding attention without mention.

“I like asymmetry,” Ciriaco says. “I wanted to make a baguette that made a statement. You know how you can tell a Prada baguette from five miles away? I wanted to give that same statement with Ciriaco. You just know from the shape alone without having to get so close.”

Thus far, two collections have been released with the “Ashley Minimalist Baguette” in colors Blush, Hot, Mint Blue and Neon — rounding out with the long-awaited Cowhide Collection. Inspired by “western fashion-cowgirl chic,” the Cowhide Collection features the Ashley Minimalist Baguette in hues of blush, charcoal, sky blue and mocha. Ranging from $165-$250, the purses are 100% cruelty-free, made with vegan leather for sustainability. 

Ahead, check out what we can continue to expect from the budding brand.

ESSENCE: You’ve recently celebrated a year at Ciriaco. How have you been feeling? How did you celebrate?

Ciriaco: I feel great. I celebrated by just hanging out with my family in Philadelphia. It’s been a lot of ups and downs, but I’ve learned a lot, especially from an Ah-Niyah and Jubi.

ESSENCE:What are some of the most impactful gems you’ve taken from them?

Ciriaco: I’ve learned how to be patient — because I’ll get overly excited about new designs and new colors. I’ve also experienced a lot of, you could say, negative stuff. People will say, “Someone stole your design,” or “This looks like this person designed it.” I’m not the first person to, obviously, make a baguette or have their name as their brand, that’s part of the fashion industry — everyone is always going to take inspiration from something and make it their own.

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ESSENCE: Getting into the accessories and handbag industry, what do you do to make Ciriaco different from the rest? 

Ciriaco: Definitely the material. I like variety and creating something that’ll be useful for everyone. Age wise too — teens can wear it, ladies later in life can wear it, I wanted something to be used on a casual day, a night out or business casual, it’s universal. 

ESSENCE: What is your take on the pressures of being a Black-owned label?

Ciriaco: It’s nerve-wrecking. When it comes to shipping, couriers, they don’t care. They just throw their boxes so I had a few bags that were actually squished. Thankfully I know how to fix that and steam it out to repair it. It’s nerve-wrecking always having packaging be on point but we can’t control it. It’s how they handle it in their trucks or just them in the area specifically. You just hope that it comes perfect. 

ESSENCE: Here’s a fun question, how would you style the Mocha Cowhide Ashley Minimalist Baguette for a trip to a nighttime NYC event? 

Ciriaco: I’ll probably wear cute, black mom jeans and a nice brown crop top, obviously. Then maybe some cute wedges for the summertime and have my fro out. 

ESSENCE: Lately you’ve been posting previews and we need to know when can we expect the crocodile baguettes? 

Ciriaco: Definitely by the end of July.