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Designer Spotlight: Rita Nazareno

Former TV exec Rita Nazareno finds a new calling in accessory design.
Designer Spotlight: Rita Nazareno Former TV exec Rita Nazareno finds a new calling in accessory design.

Rita Nazareno doesn't identify herself as a designer. Not primarily, at least. But she is artistically inclined, and there is no disputing that.

The granddaughter of Segundina Cornejo Vizcarra, a pioneer of piña hand-embroidery who opened S.C. Vizcarra, her taller de bordados de mano (hand-embroidery studio) in 1925, Rita is bringing forth the legacy of her family's business into the urban present.

S.C. Vizcarra may have started as a purveyor of fine piña embroidery, but through its 85-year presence, it has metamorphosed into a source of exquisitely hand-crafted, hand-woven bags and home accessories. The accessories brand continues to cultivate the refined artistry and unflagging attention to quality the label was founded on.

And Rita, as a third generation scion who is just as immersed in art and production as all of her family members (mom Vicky took over S.C. Vizcarra in the 90's and is responsible for the brand's embroidery-to-woven-crafts turnaround, and still designs to this day; her dad, when not otherwise engaged in his pharmaceutical company, designs accessories and furniture; her brother Antonio is an architect who designed their newly opened workshop store) is making sure that these artisanal inclinations and principles remain relevant well into the present, and of course, the future.

So she decided to create a new line under the S.C. Vizcarra brand called Zacarias by S.C. Vizcarra, named after her sculptor grandfather. The line showcases a more modern, more urban aesthetic that represents her interests and design persuasions. Her love affair with sculpture, contemporary art, and architecture fuel her design process, and is what ultimately gives momentum to the venerable brand's appeal to the younger, less traditional market.

Continue reading to get to know this Emmy-winning former television exec turned bag designer, who, despite having started to design only this year, has already garnered several local and foreign product design awards. Don't forget to click on the links below to see her designs and other S.C. Vizcarra pieces, and keep in mind that they're offering a 20% discount on all pieces until only this Saturday, November 20, to celebrate the launch of their workshop store!

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FIRST OF ALL, HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT SUCCEEDING YOUR GRANDMOTHER AND MOTHER AS AN ACCESSORY DESIGNER? AND WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF COMING FROM SUCH A TALENTED FAMILY?

I've definitely got some big shoes to fill, that's for sure.

My mom and I have very different aesthetics, and I think that helps the company expand.

I'm quite proud that I come from a very creative family. My brother Anthony designed the workshop store. And at any given time, my dad, my sisters, my brothers and my nieces have fabulous ideas about the different products.

PLEASE TELL US ABOUT YOUR INSPIRATION FOR YOUR FIRST COLLECTION. 

I was interested in making hand-woven bags more contemporary. For Zacarias by S.C.Vizcarra, I appropriated from contemporary art, architecture and design to produce hand-woven bags.

I was also interested in changing the function of a particular object or structure—from either a building, a piece of furniture or a sculpture—to a different one, in this instance, to a bag. 

Zacarias by S.C.Vizcarra is a small collection, and I want it to continue as a small, very select collection each season.

WHAT MATERIALS, TECHNIQUES, AND COLORS DID YOU USE?

For this first collection, it was rather personal. I primarily used colors I would personally use—browns, grays/pewters and blacks. When I finally had the bags the way I wanted them, we did push out a couple of other colors for a couple of the bags.

I used a variety of materials—recycled leather, natural leather and wicker—that S.C.Vizcarra was already using [and] that I found rather interesting.

This is Zacarias' first collection, and it's quite a stretch from what S.C.Vizcarra has done in the past, design-wise. 

The weaving is undeniably S.C.Vizcarra but some of the shapes and details, like the ones of Bilbao and the Marsupial, are quite different.

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WHO DO YOU ENVISION WEARING THESE PARTICULAR PIECES? 

When I was conceptualizing the collection, I was thinking of someone like architect Kazuyo Sejima

DO YOU HAVE ANY FAVORITE PIECES FROM THIS COLLECTION? WHAT ABOUT FROM THE OTHER S.C. VIZCARRA LINES?

Bilbao and Porthole are my favorites. I [also] like the Kona and the Donovan from the S.C.Vizcarra Spring/Summer 2011 collection (I like the way we wove 4-5 different materials for each bag). And I also like the Kennedy and Miko from S.C.Vizcarra Limited

Read on to find out more about Rita Nazareno, and click on the following links to view the different collections of S.C. Vizcarra:

Zacarias by S.C. Vizcarra: Spring/Summer 2011

S.C. Vizcarra: Spring/Summer 2011

Segundina by S.C. Vizcarra: Spring/Summer 2011

S.C. Vizcarra Limited: Classic Collection

S.C. Vizcarra Limited: Saddle Collection

S.C. Vizcarra Limited: Spring/Summer 2011

Click here for Rita Nazareno's Designer Directory.

Click here for S.C. Vizcarra's Store Directory.