Designer Jess Rizzuti first discovered her deeply-rooted interest in fashion as a young girl. This passion led her to enroll in the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design where she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Textiles. While learning about the industry, Jess found her greatest passion lied in a unique focus, Surface Pattern Design (graphics, textiles and product design focusing on mixed media and special techniques). This specialization would lead Rizzuti to continue her education at the renowned Fashion Institute of Technology, where she perfected her knowledge of Handbag and Accessory Design.
The designer’s innate creativity and extraordinary artistic abilities allowed her to indulge in interests such as mural painting, which further encouraged her to unearth her many design influences – travel, art, history, nature, textures and exquisite colors.
After developing her initial bags by hand, Jess’ first bag was manufactured in 2008. She then launched her first collection in 2009 encompassing rich materials, luxe styles, and precise details. The line is now produced at a local manufacturer in her native New York while Rizzuti still develops each pattern by hand in her studio. The designer custom dyes and embosses materials to create an unparalleled richness that has become the Jess Rizzuti signature completing each design with a complementary lining.
Jess is conscious of environmental impact and believes in exercising ethical practices. She earned a nomination three years in a row for her creations in cork as Best Green Handbag in the Independent Handbag Designer Awards sponsored by InStyle. The eco-friendly designs utilized water-based dyes and glue, heat-transferred patterns, renewable resources and waste-reducing concepts.
As Jess Rizzuti New York quickly developed a loyal following, Jess knew she could finally contribute to another passion she holds close to her heart - philanthropy. She became a very special collaborator for two global organizations, Care for Kenya and Glocal Connection. Care for Kenya is an organization helping to create sources of employment and sustainable growth for the women of Nairobi. Together they created a capsule collection of handbags made of Kenyan textiles and beadwork native to the region, sold to greater benefit the cause. Jess has future plans to travel to Nairobi and work hands-on with the women’s center to teach skills and to host empowerment workshops. Jess also works with Glocal Connection, a business platform developing luxury products made by traditional art forms of indigenous people. The collaboration in Guatemala with the women of Kem Ajachel produced custom hand-woven and embroidered textiles. The design was created specifically for a Jess Rizzuti New York tote bag merging antiquity and modern living. A portion of the proceeds from each project was directly contributed to the sustainability of the communities.
Jess Rizzuti’s bags range from eco-friendly clutches created from wood cork to everyday polished leather satchels and embossed metallic crocodile clutches. These statement-making accessories can be found at better boutiques nationwide as well as on www.jessrizzuti.com.