View Quadangles Print Version →


Read Class Notes Online →





Past Issues →




subscribeOnline picture



Advertise with Us →



Bookmark and Share



subscribeOnline picture RSS feed


Michelle Vale ’97

Keeping Fashion Local in NYC

Michelle Vale, who graduated with a degree in human development and family studies, became a handbag designer to satisfy her creative side. Vale is ahead of the curve when it comes to style, and Michelle Vale handbags embody that same fashion-forward idea.

In 2007, Lucky magazine recognized Vale’s handbag designs in a Best New Designer editorial. With a handbag featured in a fashion magazine and her name in the public eye, Vale launched her company, established a Web site, and got her sample handbags into production.

Shortly after the company was established, an economic recession hit. The company survived by expanding only when the business was ready. “We have focused on growing organically and trying to work in a socially responsible way,” says Vale. Today, Michelle Vale handbags are available through vendors nationwide and have been spotted on the arm of fashion icons like Sarah Jessica Parker.  

All Michelle Vale handbags are made in New York City. Whenever possible, the materials used in her designs are manufactured locally. Vale works with other designers and Save the Garment Center trade association, to keep production in the Garment Center of New York City, where retail businesses are slowly taking over what was formerly a manufacturing district.

“We are working hard to educate our customers on the importance of local manufacturing,” says Vale. “If we do not start to bring manufacturing back to the U.S., we are headed for much bigger issues. New York is the only city in the world where you can have a pattern created, cut, and sewn all within a few blocks.”

Out of 800 worldwide competitors, Vale was recently honored with the Independent Handbag Designer Award: “The most rewarding thing about being a designer is seeing people appreciate your designs. The road as a designer is far from easy, and this award validated all the hard work I have put forward.”

To learn more about Vale’s line of handbags and customized removable hardware (sold separately), go to

—Robin Deal

Comments are open, but there are no comments.

Leave a Comment

Most comments will be posted within 24 hours of submission.

Spam protection by WP Captcha-Free

Web Extras

Rhody Ink

Job Seekers Take Note

Rhody Postcards: Paul J. Evans ’77

The Invested Life, Jennifer Sherwood Gaul ’89

The President’s View

A Victory for All of Rhode Island


A Competitive Edge In the Real World

Diversity in the Field

What Everybody Isn’t Talking About … (Race and Racism on Campus)

Mission Possible

The Fifth Annual Distinguished Achievement Awards

Journey’s End

News & Views

All in the University Family

Sick From Watching Medical Shows?

Goodbye Terrace Apartments, Hello Hillside Hall

Charles Wasn’t the Only Interesting Darwin

Ocean Scientist Awarded Equivalent of Nobel for Sustainable Development

Grad Student’s Concrete Idea Wins Kudos

In Memoriam


Press Box

Athletics Hall of Fame

URI Athletics Launches

In Memoriam: Maurice “Mo” “Zarch” Zarchen ’49

URI to Host 2012 NCAA Women’s Basketball Regional

Class Acts Profiles

Max Lechtman ’57

Carolyn Viens ’81

Michelle Vale ’97

Brian Doyle ’06

Carol Liu ’90 & Marybeth Caldarone ’90

Jonathan “John” Shadeck ’06

Back Page

One of a Kind

Alumni Chapters →


Where Are URI Alumni?

Thank You Rhode Island

$126 Million Thanks!

Upcoming Events

QuadAngles © 2014 URI Alumni Association. All rights reserved. Produced by the Office of Publications and Creative Services for the URI Alumni Association, Alumni Center, 73 Upper College Rd., Kingston, RI 02881. Phone: 401-874-2242 | Contact Quadangles