Shopping for designer goods is about more than beauty, workmanship and cost. It’s an emotional experience that often comes with a personal story. In this series, women recall a singular piece and a moment in their journey into luxury.
Atlanta fashion influencer Hunter Reighn, 26, has been collecting designer handbags for the better part of a decade, and it all started with a gift for her 16th birthday.
I remember seeing this picture of Lil’ Kim and she was in this Fendi swimsuit with a Fendi trench coat and she had platinum blond hair and I remember just being like, ‘Oh, my God, that’s what I need in my life.’ And I think about things I saw as a kid. Like, I’m going for that aesthetic: the rich Black girl who’s fly. I’m not going for your 50-year-old auntie with an Hermés Birkin.
I’m from Chicago, it has a heartbeat for fashion, but it’s the Midwest, so people work really hard and are more humble. If you remember Kimora Lee Simmons used to have this TV show [Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane]. I remember watching her as a kid and she had this big Louis Vuitton collection. I told my dad, at like, 13, please, I want a Louis Vuitton so bad. As you can imagine, he was like, ‘Are you out of your mind? You are positively, absolutely ridiculous.’
I remember just begging and him telling me, like, you know, you can’t be the girl with the designer bag with no money in the bag. Then finally when I turned 16, I got the [Speedy] bag. My parents were divorced at this point. My sister and I used to dance at a popular dance studio. My dad brought the bag to the dance studio and of course, I was not there because I was off doing an enrichment something or other that my mom found. My parents are super into education.
My mom brought the bag home and she’s like, ‘You know, your dad has something for you,’ and she put it in my bedroom. I saw that chocolate brown shopping bag and just started crying. This is like old-school. I don’t want to say that they don’t make this anymore but the newer version, the Bandolero, comes with a shoulder strap now. I’ll never sell this and I will never get rid of it because it’s just that special.
Like I said, it’s going to sound ridiculous, but these bags now are probably like thousands of dollars. I know it was $400 or $500 at the time, which is still a lot of money, but it’s not nearly as much as it goes for now. I wore this bag every day. I’m like, I don’t care what’s going on, I wore this all through high school and college. I was wearing this bag down. It’s still in really good condition. This bag is the start of it all.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.