American Luxe: Meet Designer Calleen Cordero

September 7 2012, 1:00 PM

Luxury accessory designer Calleen Cordero has been designing her casual, yet sophisticated, made-in-the-USA collection since 1999. Her line of footwear, handbags, belts, and cuffs is handmade and known for championing American artisan craftsmanship as well as incorporating special details like Italian leathers and metal accents in brass and nickel. I caught up with the designer before her Fall 2012 trunk show and appearance in Denver this Saturday.  

5280: Does your Fall 2012 collection incorporate any specific themes, materials, or colors?

Calleen Cordero: There is generally never one theme or direction that I base a season around; my designs are very organic. Once I start with one, it tends to lead me to another and another, and the inspiration continues to be natural. On top of some classic boot silhouettes, I did introduce a new collection of sneakers this fall that are blowing off the shelves.

5280: What inspired you to produce a luxury accessory collection in the United States?

CC: After being in the business for so long—particularly in the corporate world working for large companies such as Dr. Martens, Steve Madden, and Kenneth Cole—I realized I was selling my soul and wanted to create my own brand here in Los Angeles, so I could be a mom and raise my two sons.

5280: What's exciting you about the fashion industry right now?

CC: That more designers are coming to America to produce their collections—not only for fashion, but also for our economy.

5280: What are your main challenges as a designer?

CC: Manufacturing in the United States is not an easy feat. It’s super expensive and resources are very limited, but it challenges me to be as creative as possible with what I have to work with.

5280: It’s always exciting when designers come to Denver. What do you like most about traveling for work?

CC: I absolutely love to meet my customers. They’re always so inspirational, and I learn so much from them, which, in turn, helps me in the design process. I also love experiencing new cities and am really excited to be visiting Denver.

5280: What’s next for you? Any new collaborations or product launches coming up in the next few months?

CC: I’m in the process of signing a lease on a new retail location in Studio City, California. It will be my second retail store, and I’m very excited. I also opened an in-store department last week with Madison at Fred Segal in Santa Monica, California, which has been a big success. I hope to grow this type of collaboration with my independents—who knows, maybe one day with Moxie [host of tomorrow's trunk show]!

Details: Calleen Cordero Fall 2012 trunk show, September 8, 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Moxie, 5936 S. Holly St., Greenwood Village, 303-694-0773, moxieinstyle.com

Follow fashion editor Georgia Benjou on Twitter at @gabenjou and on Pinterest at gabenjou.