The Portrait of Dreams

Valerie Blaise

The creativity I was born with has now become my job and my company takes its name from the most personal memory of my childhood.

1. Bio

Self-taught designer and founder of the Vavvoune brand, she makes leather bags and accessories. Her business plan combines a responsible approach to the use of materials and the pursuit of very high standards: all her creations are made using leather discarded by the ultra-luxury brands of Italian fashion. She combines this with design and production processes entrusted to teams of women and small businesses in the New York City Garment District, to promote the appreciation and use of local micro-companies.

2. The power of a dream

Sometimes we learn to recognise our dream in the midst of the flow of our life. I didn’t have a specific dream as a child, but there were two things that I realised for sure when my family moved from Haiti to Boston: I had some memories that I would never let die and, creativity is a great outlet. Vavvoune is my fondest childhood memory, it’s what they used to call me on the island. It is a universe in one word. Today it is the name of my brand, which really produces things I create, with my vision of the world, together with my little community of artisans. It is my new island, where that little girl has left me a pair of open eyes with which to observe and welcome the world.

3. My journey into real beauty

When I arrived in Boston at the age of 9, I initially thought we were just visiting. When I realised it was permanent, I had to learn a whole new way of living. Boston was OK, but I had loved life on the island. It was a shock, but my curiosity saved me. It was then that I learnt how fascinating it was to measure up your own individuality against new points of view. Like a kind of big challenge, where you absorb so much new information and find a way to adapt it to your personality. Like giving new life to scraps of leather discarded by the system or choosing a small and slow production in an increasingly frenetic world.

4. What I learned and won’t let go

Life sometimes challenges you with a complete change of course and the greatest power we have is to learn that we can break all the labels, without giving up our identity. Have the courage to let go of what is no longer there and look around with an open mind. This is the greatest beauty that I have learned to love and protect: continuing to absorb every cultural stimulus that is different from my own background and, at the same time, never losing touch with what makes me unique. And my dream for women is to learn to be a team, supporting each other to allow our dreams to blossom.

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