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My Valley of the Sun: Jennifer Paige Boonlorn of Soul Carrier handbags

The creator of Phoenix-based Soul Carrier handbags discusses fall trends, “skater couture,” celebration styles & good juice.

Just try to keep up with the Phoenix-based creative force behind Soul Carrier handbags.

What do you think will be the hottest fashion trend or item for women this season? I went to Lux for an Instagram meet up and everyone was wearing black hats, Dooney & Bourke bags—the original ones with the duck—and cotton print dresses; I felt like I was back in junior high! But I sense this strong return to the late ’80s and early ’90s surfacing as a trend. I also see mixing leather with girly, feminine materials like tulle and pleating. I just bought two dresses that had this trend—very punk-rock chic.

What’s always a good look for men? A cool watch (I love what Nixon designs) and a stylish pair of shoes. My eyes instantly go toward those two things when checking out a guy.

Where have you found something extremely fashionable and extremely affordable? I love Last Chance [Nordstrom’s final-clearance store]. My daddy would take me to the original Last Chance, when it was located in Maryvale. He had impeccable style—Armani suits, amazing ties, nice watches—but he knew how to find it on sale. He loved to instantly ask “How much do you think I paid for this!?” in a heavy Thai accent whenever someone complimented his outfit. I absolutely love digging and bargain shopping.

Where would you buy a million things if you had an unlimited budget? Ohhh, Barneys, you do make me swoon. I would scoop up some Alexander Wang wallets, Chloé boots, Rag & Bone jeans, Isabel Marant vests and skirts, ohhh, and some more sunglasses—I am slighty addicted to sunglasses.

What would you, personally, wear to a play at the Herberger TheaterI came up with this term “skater couture” for my own personal style: ripped-up jeans, a basic tank, Prada shoes, and then incredible accessories piled on, and probably one of my Soul Carrier bags, or one of the Louis Vuitton or Chloé bags I inherited from my mama. But if it was a really formal event, I would channel Blair Waldorf from “Gossip Girl” and then add some unexpected twist, like wearing combat boots or doing something funky to dilute the “preppiness” of the outfit.

Will there ever be Soul Carrier tablet/computer bags? How about diaper bags? Luggage? Absolutely! In the very near future, there will be a men’s collection, tablet cases and wallets. My manufacturer is a family of artisans, and when I go to visit them in Leon, I watch them handle the leather and the production of the bags as if it were an artistic love affair. They truly care about the craftsmanship of the bags and how it all comes together more than anyone else I have ever worked with.

Model with Soul Carrier bag
Model with “Sarah Elizabeth” Soul Carrier bag (©Matt Young)

What is your highest academic degree ... and what is your favorite lowbrow form of amusement? I have my bachelor’s degree in marketing from Arizona State University as a well as a post-graduate degree in fashion marketing and design from Parsons The New School For Design in New York. My guilty pleasures are Olivia Pope in “Scandal” and Emily Thorne in “Revenge.” I wish the writers of the two shows would do a mash-up and Emily Thorne has to hire Olivia for one of her many revengeful acts she got caught committing. That would be epic!

Where do you celebrate special occasions or accomplishments? I love St. Francis and Blue Hound Kitchen. The Clever Koi is also becoming a favorite.  

For the above celebration, what would you wear and how would you do your hair? I would probably wear one of the leather-tulle-punk-rock-chic dresses I recently purchased from Nordstrom or a tiny boutique in San Diego with crazy-high Prada or Dolce & Gabbana heels. I would have my photographer Michael Franco do my hair in beachy waves. Michael is a genius photographer, makeup artist and hair stylist. I want to make enough money with Soul Carrier so I can hire Michael to come and do my hair for every major event.

What dish, dessert or drink from a local restaurant have you tried to replicate at home? Were you successful? I love Kaleidoscope Juice. My dear friend Alexandra Maw is the owner. I have tried to recreate some of her juices in my Blendtec when I can’t get over to Kaleidoscope. Sometimes they turn out; sometimes it is just better to go and get the original. I have also been inspired by many items on the menu at La Grande Orange, and I have had success with my “interpretations.”

Be like Boonlorn:

Follow a few of Jennifer’s footsteps in this “Perfect Day” itinerary.