Author Archives: Laura Dotolo

About Laura Dotolo

My inspiration as a designer is something I’m frequently asked about. I started my career as a fashion stylist here in New York City. I have always found Manhattan to be the perfect canvas on which to create. There is always a hum on the streets here, a hum that gets into your veins, and motivates you to bring to fruition a dream.

Stars, Handbags & Your Zodiac

New Yorkers are no strangers to the plethora of handbags that grace the streets. But how does one know which bag to invest in that’s going to be the best one for them and their personal style? It’s time to find the one. The team at #clutchbagsdotcom has curated a selection of the perfect handbags for your star sign that will fit seamlessly into your wardrobe.

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If you’re feeling overwhelmed by this accessory season’s multitude of bag-offerings, or you can’t decide what style bag you’re after, look through our guide to find your perfect match.

Whilst zodiac signs may seem to be a fad it turns out that it has a lot to do with personality, style and self-expression.

Don’t believe us? Want to learn more about your astrology? These are our favorites sites for keeping up to date with our stars: Costar, Girlboss.

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 Take for example the perfect bag for an Aries woman. The independent, creative, fiery and organised Aries loves style and function equally. This Shana Luther backpack is the ultimate combination of both. Sleek and practicel, the backpack is the go-to for any aries personality types.

Now that you’re convinced, pull out that credit card and finally find the perfect bag for you and your unique style. Shop our curated collection on #clutchbagsdotcom or head to our #instagram for a guide on the latest in #Americanfashionandstyle for every sign!

We swear it’ll lead you to the perfect handbag you’ll fall in love with. It’s in the stars.

The Sun Comes Up for Local Movement that is Making an Impact

Over the years we have seen issues regarding the wellbeing of our planet come to the headlines of newspapers, and the forefront of media. But how does one follow a movement and see it through when our daily lives are so saturated by so much media and so many causes?

Sunrise is a movement to stop climate change and create millions of good jobs in the process. Sunrise calls themselves an ‘army of young people’ who tackle the issues of climate change across #America and try to stop corruption whilst supporting new leaders who stand for #sustainability #health and #wellbeing. This local movement is not only #USA based and grown, but it also includes ordinary people who care about what the current wellbeing of our planet looks like in the future.

Without looking to either political side their motto is to simply look forward, to change the country and the world. For years communities across America are already feeling the impacts of climate change, especially for working-class individuals and minorities.

This local movement have looked to solutions that will make an impact if they are to be enforced. Solutions like wind and solar energy are cheaper than Oil and Gas, reducing billions in taxpayers money and create millions of jobs by upgrading America’s outdated infrastructure. But even though viable solutions exist, large corporations and people in positions of power pit us against each other. Whether its by political party, skin color, socio-economic background, they tell us that some communities have to suffer for others to thrive.

Everyone has a role to play. Public opinion and public education matters. In 2019 Sunrise are pushing for climate change to become the priority in presidential primary debates.

So what can you do to support or join this local movement so that it does remain relevant and effective in change? Sunrise is a great place to get involved by signing up to attend to primary debates, donating or petitioning in your community.

At #clutchbagsdotcom we always bringing you the #latestinfashionandstyle. But what is more #fashionable and #stylish than a local #USA movement we can definitely get behind. Our planet is our responsibility and contributing to local economies is something we strongly believe in.

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At #clutchbagsdotcom we work with emerging designers to promote and sell their products. Why? Because #Americanmade products contribute to the US economy, local communities, create jobs, and promote sustainable and ethical making. We are trying to close the loop on mass made products that impact our planet and other communities.

Local movements like #sunrise are so great to get involved in because our planet is our responsibility, and the team at #clutchbagsdotcom loves seeing local initiative to promote doing so.

So how can you get involved and make a positive impact? Head to sunrise today for more info and shop with us at Clutch Bags dot com to support our curated marketplace of #USAmade designers.

Have a great American made product and want to start selling with us today? Head to Clutch Bags dot com to request an application. It’s as easy as that.

3 Essential Tips for Improving Your Web Design

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This may seem obvious but having a plan should be the first step before you even think about which website template you want to use such as Squarespace, Wix, Blogger or even creating your own HTML.

Start by making your website easy to navigate for your users. I might seem cool to add cool effects or make your site look intricate, but all the buyer wants is for it to be user-friendly. Brainstorm the aesthetics of your site, what each page is going to look like and where the tabs link to. Not sure where to begin? Contact Clutch Made and the team will work with you from scratch to make the perfect website for you.


Producing content is great but letting someone share it will only get you further. Add an interesting button or even google share! If this sounds new to you, social sharing buttons are the small buttons that are located around the bottom of blog posts on the top right of an image. They contain icons of different social media website and allow you to share the page directly on the social media channel of your choice.


Whitespace is essential for design. Users don’t want to feel overwhelmed by the content on your page, so give them a break! It makes the design look more readable and allows you to prioritize the information on the page. Imagine opening up a page and an essay pops up. That’s not what we want!


Introducing BLK BLU NY

Working with a variety of talented innovators, Clutch Made has recently sat down with some of its collaborators to explore their inspirations and designs. This week we interviewed the creative team behind the leather-based brand, Lisa, Oksana, and Gregory.18512957_1329286823823684_6566141909020966912_n_900x

                          CompanyBLK BLU NYC               Production: Made In NYC


Firstly, we must address your name. How and where did such a catchy innovative name come about?
Walking in New York’s lower east side, we noticed the sun was almost setting and we started talking about how beautiful the black shadows of the buildings were against the deep blue sky. It looked amazing and the name came naturally.

BlkBluNyc Collar and Hair Cuff

BlkBluNyc Collar and Hair Cuff

Drawing inspiration from the streets of New York, BLK BLU NYC has created designs with the idea of catering for creative individuals looking for luxury accessories with an edge.

Have you always known that accessories would be the main focus?
In a way. We all wanted to launch a fashion brand that could bring something different to the industry, accessories became the ideal category for us to do this.

Where would you like to see BLK BLU over the next couple of years?

Hopefully overseas with the likes of David Beckham to Gwen Stefani, Nicole Richie and Jared Leto wearing our designs.

BlkBluNyc accessories are available to shop today on clutch

BlkBluNyc accessories are available to shop today on

What accessories will you be rocking this summer?                                                                   From our own collection, Oksana favorite piece’s the hair cuff. The Belt Bag is a staple in Lisa’s wardrobe and Gregory is holding out for the men’s scarf in our upcoming collection. Our go-to accessory would also have to be our nude leather choker, which works like a scarf or a choker.

blk_blu_nyc_black_leather_headband_1296xHow is it for the three of you to work together?
So far so good!! We all have different strengths that dictate our roles within the business.

Do you have any advice for future designers out there?
Be fashion inspired, not trend driven.

BLK and BLU NYC accessories are available to shop on our website, now.

Totally crazy for totes

The tote bag has become a staple in the day to day wardrobes of New Yorkers as we try to keep up with the hustle and bustle of the city. From our sneakers to our kitchen sinks and everything in between, our tote bags carry it all, so why shouldn’t we give them the attention they deserve?

It’s time to let go of that go of that canvas sack you’ve had for over five years and inject a bit of fun, quality and style into your tote. We have found some great pieces which are sure to raise your tote game 100%.

Denim Tote 

'Market Bag' from Clutch Bags NY

‘Market Bag’ from Clutch Bags NY

Denim is remaining a key trend for summer. This water-resistant denim with leather bottom tote from Clutch Bags NY is the perfect combination of trend and practicality.




Statement Tote

'Sam" bag from

‘Sam” bag from

What better way to stand out on the streets of New York than with a statement tote. We aren’t just talking bold colours and eye catching designs, but something that speaks for you also. Introducing the statement tote ‘Sam’ from This tote is 100% cotton so it will with stand even the craziest of weather New York has to offer.


The Reversible Tote

'The Reversible Tote' from Aurelia Garza

‘The Reversible Tote’ from Aurelia Garza

If you are somebody who likes variety in your day to day wardrobe then you will LOVE this reversible tote from Aureila Garza. It is available in two shades with 10k gold finished hardware and 4 functional Swiss zippers that reverse the interior to the exterior. This particular colour reverses from gold to black and is ideal for taking you from day to night.



The Monochrome Tote

'The Monochrome Tote' from Linda Bushe Private Collection

‘The Monochrome Tote’ from Linda Bushe Private Collection

Monochrome has been huge for the past two seasons and we are delighted that it is here to stay this summer. We have found the perfect tote bag to take you through this season in both style and comfort. Better yet, this tote can be transformed into a chic cross body bag, perfect for the New York gal on the go.

Fashion in the age of technology

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s annual Met Gala took place in the city last week. The theme for this year’s costume institute exhibition “Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology” focused on the intersection between handmade haute couture and pret-a-porter fashion.

Traditionally the difference between haute couture and machine made centred around hand made and machine made however in recent times that distinction has become blurred as both have embraced the techniques of the other.


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The distinction between haute couture and prêt-a-porter has become blurred in recent years.

The exhibition itself showcases more than 100 pieces of fashion, both haute couture and ready-to-wear. Techniques such as lacework, embroidery and pleating are placed along side machine-made designs with laser cutting, thermo shaping, and circular knitting.

Singer Taylor Swift co-chaired this years' event.

Singer Taylor Swift co-chaired this years’ event.

Many of the invited guests to the benefit event dawned the red carpet in ‘futuristic’ interpretations of the theme. Beading, metallic and armour designs played a large role in showcasing what is to come in the fashion industry as technology advances.

The idea of technology and its ever changing influence on the fashion industry is something that has been extremely topical in recent times.

The innovations taking place at the intersection of fashion and technology are extremely transformative. In many respects, the fashion industry today bears little resemblance to that of a decade ago.

This concept of fashion in the age of technology is something we have been incorporating into our daily work practice here at Clutch Made. From the manufacturing of products to the selling of our services the technological advances with in the fashion industry have allowed our company to grow from strength to strength.

It is an exciting time for the industry and we look forward to seeing where technology will bring Clutch Made next.

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The Guide to a Handbag Designer’s USA Manufacturing Timeline

Scenario: Let’s begin by assuming you are a handbag design and are in need of a “handbag designer’s USA manufacturing timeline.” You are manufacturing from a good sample that is properly sourced with readily available raw materials. All you have to do is manufacture, right? Let’s leave steps 1 and 2 for another post and jump right into manufacturing!

The “how many and when?” question is at the heart of the manufacturing process. After working for  seasoned clients, with years of productions under their belt, I’ve learned it’s really about “Just In Time “ logistics. The idea that you can deliver your product to the consumer “just in time” before you have to pay for it is really the best way to structure the inventory supply for your business. This strategy does require some experience and an ability to predict demand. Keep in mind that it can be less expensive to make a product at certain times of the year due to factories’ seasonal demands.

Now that you have a saucy mix of decisions, here are some of the more basic considerations. Let’s use handbag manufacturing as an example:

1. Make sure your factory has reviewed your sample and given you a written quote on production and delivery time frames.

Have all materials on hand at the factory on the agreed upon start date. It’s easy to over look that last piece of hardware but don’t do it! When you have a missing piece of hardware discovered at the last minute and your lead time for getting it from Italy or China is 3 weeks you now have lost your spot in the factory’s production schedule; not to mention you have a very unhappy factory who is a lot less likely to give you a good quote the next time they see you walk in the door.

2. You can’t manage what you don’t measure! Inspect factory work at key times in the process.

Does the handbag have the lining sewn in properly just like your sample? If the lining is not being done correctly you have to catch that before they put the rest of the bag together or you have to rip it apart to fix it. This can put you at risk having to purchase more raw materials in the process which changes overall costs and timeframes. Your acceptance and final payment upon delivery from the factory is binding, so be sure the product conforms to the agreed upon sample or you’re on the hook!

3. Deliver your finished product to the client.

It should be packaged, insured, and shipped in an agreed upon fashion. C.O.D. being the watchword for all but your most trusted clients. Make sure you know when your client really needs to receive the product and ensure you under promise and over deliver. You don’t want product that needs to be received for a trunk show or Holiday event showing up late. You won’t get a lot of repeat orders that way. The key to profitable manufacturing is repeat business.

For new brands and aspiring entrepreneurs wanting to test out a new product, the considerations are different. Here I always recommend much more extensive product development and market testing as well as small batch manufacturing. We work with startups on branding and a proper online presence, as consumers want to see the brand’s “story” and message online.

It is exciting to see new ideas come to market. As a Made in USA manufacturer, I am proud to be part of a new wave of American designers bringing back manufacturing to the USA. Made in USA really does mean quality. We hope all the aspiring entrepreneurs out there are able to make the dream of quality Made in USA products a reality.

We are hiring at Clutch Made.

Laura Dotolo is the Principal of Clutch Made ( based in Manhattan’s garment district. Ms. Dotolo is a Manhattan factory owner as well as a long time designer and stylist for the world’s finest brands. Laura helps brands large and small develop, sample and manufacture accessories in the USA.

Accessories Rule!

A new fashion season means a sea of new trends. With the increment of the number of fashion shows and locations that took place during fashion week, we all are confused and lost in the endless maze of the fashion industry.

Taken from Clueless (film)

Clueless (film)

After reaching a point of saturation and frustration, the past two seasons made a lot of firm fashion followers turn to a different direction. Unbothered by the current trends, people started following THEIR OWN INSTICNTS AND PRINCIPLES. This is turning out to be one of the biggest revolutions in the fashion industry, birthing a new breed of individuals who genuinely reflect their own style and take on fashion.

This new breed has definitely come to the biggest realization that accessories have taken over the apparel industry. With some of the trendiest fashion bloggers like Chiara Ferragani blogging more about her favorite sunglasses versus her favorite dresses, she is confirming the strongest and most convincing message: ACCESSORIES ARE THE NEW IT THING!

The luxury market as well is leaping to a massive shift in the concentration of accessories in comparison to apparel, the biggest proof coming from luxury brands like Chanel, Moschino, Stella McCartney and Celine. In the last twenty years, accessories were an extra addition or sidekick to ready-to-wear. Whereas now, people dress according to their accessories; the consumer’s ready-to-wear has become the canvas of style on which one can paint or draw something new every day with your interchangeable, diverse and stylish accessories.

Céline Fashion Week Fall 2015

There will always be that statement little black dress from Chanel or Yves Saint Laurent, but there are also 30 other statement accessories that are way more versatile with the same figures on the price tag.

Fashion Week Fall 2015: Prada Broach

Quit buying new clothes for different occasions; learn how to style the clothes differently with a new selection of accessories. Let accessories be the statement to your wardrobing style and watch to see how many more compliments you fetch!

And while you’re at it, add this one to your list of must-have accessories made right here in New York City: BLK BLU NYC!

Manufacturing in USA is Hot!

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“Made in USA” may not be one of the most common labels you will find on apparel or your leather products, but there soon might be a change. Yes, manufacturing in America is the new “IT” thing and manufacturing in USA is HOT!  Of course we know that the cost of production is way cheaper manufacturing in the east than the west, but certain other factors have come into the limelight which have made American companies revert back to their original roots to manufacture in America.


CHANGE in the Manufacturing temperature:

Every season, fast fashion labels try to spice their image up and make themselves more exclusive to a point that everyone is doing the same thing.  The recent “Masstige” concept is a perfect example of this:” Masstige” is a marketing term meaning downward brand extension. Initially H&M started doing collaborations with luxury brands like Stella McCartney, Alexander Wang and now Balmain, to a point that every fast fashion label is coming up with new collaborations every new season. The whole point behind “Masstige” was to make luxury brands accessible to every consumer. But by doing this, the main essence of luxury has become completely lost, to a point that big chunks of consumers have reached the point of saturation with fast fashion. This consumer NOW demands quality goods that are detail oriented which is mainly delivered by products manufactured in a closer proximity to its customer. Brands manufacturing in America are more connected to their clientele, which means brands manufacturing their products thousands of miles are losing their consumer market. By giving more attention to the product, fashion brands from America are developing a concrete base for their clientele by producing in USA.

Manufacturing in USA

Manufacturing handbags in USA


Manufacturing in the USA has also put certain dying trends back into the limelight like specialized knitting, lace making, sock manufacturing which is giving consumers more scope to experiencing their product rather than just using them.  Production in America is also changing the dynamics of the fashion industry as a whole.  By producing products in the same country, production is able to focus on the details, making aspects of personalization and customization more attainable.  This in turn makes bespoke a more common concept amongst every American.


One of the biggest and best examples in proving how strong the concept of Manufacturing in America has become is the fashion label American Apparel. Here’s why they believe in producing in America: “We believe that having manufacturing under the same roof as design, marketing, accounting, retail and distribution gives us the ability to quickly mobilize all departments, to respond directly to changes in the market, and to have complete visibility over our product – start to finish. An added bonus – this business model is inherently sustainable”.


Manufacturing in America is not only an efficient method for American companies, but also for the environment. Vertical integration by definition shrinks a company’s carbon footprint, as the materials are not shipped back and forth internationally, across thousands of miles, in the production process.

manufacturing in usa

Manufacturing in USA is hot!

Products made in America, in contrast, are made by highly skilled workers, which are considered as friends and family. 

When you buy a product made in America, a smaller portion of the margins goes towards fuel, trans-ocean container ships, middlemen, boxes, pallets and entropy. Instead that money goes on paying living wages to workers, higher-quality materials for products, and investing in the brighter future of a company.


In short, Manufacturing in America means heightened efficiency, a better and more consistent quality of work, stronger employee morale, and ultimately, retention rates of skilled operators.

Clutch Made USA Video Production

Clutch Made Video 

Check out this new video we just finished shooting and editing for our client Aurelia Garza!  Clutch Made manufactures handbags in the USA along with many other accessories.   Visit us for a free consultation @ Clutch Made USA.  We are experts at getting your product out on the market.