The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

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The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Swain’s bag designs make strides

 Swains bag designs make strides
Photo by John Schreiber
Swain’s bag designs make strides

Swain’s bag designs make strides (Photo by John Schreiber)

Twenty-year-old SMU student Andrea Swain has been a trendsetter for some time with her unique and eclectic style. The junior art history major from Los Angeles is the Pi Beta Phi sorority president, a handbag designer and a budding jewelry designer.

Raised in Bogotá, Columbia, Andrea credits much of who she is with her South America upbringing.

Swain’s self-titled handbag line is a growing business. A year ago, Swain found a factory in Bogotá that was willing to manufacture her designs. Currently, there are five styles of bags constructed from real alligator. Each purse is named after an important person in her life, and Swain says reflects the style of each person’s namesake. The line is already selling well in Dallas and LA.

The handbags are currently being sold at LuLu Brandt in Los Angeles and Sebastian’s in Dallas.

The owner of Sebastian’s recalls, “Andrea was talking with my wife and was admiring the handbags behind the counter. Andrea asked if she could show her a bag she had designed and grabbed a little clutch she had in her car. My wife called me and we both loved it.”

Sebastian said, “I knew her product would do well, but I didn’t know how well. It’s been good for her and a wonderful thing for us.”

Sebastian said he was impressed with the quality and unique look of her pieces.

Swain was born in Los Angeles and then moved to Bogotá. She lived with her grandparents for seven years before returning to the U.S. to live with her mother.

“Living in South America gave me the opportunity to experience a different country and a different culture,” she reflects, “It gave me a deep love for travel and language.”

According to her mother “Andrea was born a girly girl,” and loved playing dress up as a child. Her style is a mix of many influences. She attributes her taste to her grandmother, for whom she has named a purse, her mother and her idol Coco Chanel.

“Coco Chanel liberated women from the corset,” she said “I loved that she pushed the envelope and changed fashion as we know it.”

Swain’s flair for fashion has been cultivated through numerous fashion courses over the years. In high school she designed a dress from deep red ribbons and silk roses and attended a course at the Los Angeles Art Institute. Since she has been at SMU, Swain has also studied at Parsons School of Design in Paris, and has taken a course in jewelry design in Florence, Italy.

Swain says designer Chloe is currently her favorite. Regardless, she still has the ability to create high fashion with or without expensive designer pieces.

“Andrea’s lucky because she really does have an unbelievable collection of clothes,” said former roommate Hillary Shiner, “but Andrea also has a real fashion sense that makes all the difference.”

Jewelry is the next venture Swain hopes to take on. “Whenever I would go into a store and want something specific, I always wished I could just make it myself,” she said. She hopes to reflect her South America roots in her future line, which she says will be inspired by Indian jewelry.

“It is quite common in Columbia,” she reflected. “I want it to have an ethnic feel with a modern twist.”


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