Q&A With Caraa Creative Director Carmen Chen Wu

Sketches from Carmen’s studio

Sketches from Carmen’s studio


Edition 5 -- September of 2016

INSIDE THE CARAA STUDIO: Every Caraa piece is designed with you in mind, from the covetable aesthetic to the smartly designed compartments down to the finishes and signature hardware, every detail is thoughtfully placed to help you #caraaon with your day without your style having to break a sweat, enabling you to live your ultimate #caraalife. We recently sat down with Caraa Creative Director Carmen Chen Wu to delve into her inspiration, design process, and get a sneak peek at the details of Dance Collection.

Caraa Creative Director Carmen Chen Wu

Caraa Creative Director Carmen Chen Wu


Envisioning what the next design will be is an all-consuming endeavor for Carmen. Raised in Spain and with previous stints designing handbags at top American fashion brands and a CFDA award under her belt, she is the epitome of the on-the-go woman she designs for.

I don’t like to design a handbag for the sake of making something new. That’s the beauty of Caraa: a seasonless brand that follows nothing but real women’s wants and needs.

So what are we in the mood for?

Handbags are our world here at Caraa and you are the visionary! What does a woman’s relationship with her handbag mean to you?

Historically speaking, a good handbag signified class and virtue. Those truths remain today yet have evolved into something much more special: a handbag is a woman’s weapon and all-time companion. It is her secret keeper, organizer, and, of course, statement piece.


What makes the Caraa aesthetic and inspiration so unique?

Caraa was created to make handbags for the modern woman who is constantly balancing her career, health, and social life. We don’t think of our bags as handbags nor as gym bags: we think that they are right in between. Caraa’s most important rule is to make pieces that are functional, but they are also sprinkled with fun. Whether you are traveling across continents or sprinting from a meeting to a quick yoga class/cocktail hour/anywhere in between, Caraa will be there to accompany you on your journey. 

Dance 2 in black

Dance 2 in black


The Dance Collection features the same signature Caraa hardware and materials as the Studio bags, but has a vibe all its own! How did you dream up this new line?

The Dance bags were dreamed up by imagining my perfect Friday evening on-the-go: an 8pm yoga class on St. Marks followed by drinks with friends. After class I change into my staple going out look: a black tank and sparkly tights and put my yoga clothes right into the Dance Bag. I compliment my look with red lipstick, which I keep in one of the front pockets, and then I jump on a Citi Bike to meet my friends who are out dancing in the West Village.

Dance 2 in black

Dance 2 in black


The devil is in the details. What sets The Dance Bag and Dance 2 apart?

First and foremost, each Dance bag was designed to be a chic companion that wants in on the fun. Shaped like a gumdrop and pleated like the classic The Studio Bag to create a seamless exterior, its shape is malleable and has clear character to it. 


The Dance Bag is made with our signature luxury nylon whereas Dance 2 is constructed with athletic performance spacer mesh. Both weigh in at 1 lb and 9” (w) X 9” (h) X 13” (d) and encapsulate Caraa’s signature look. Features include signature Caraa locking details for the main compartment, reflective zipper pulls on the front so that your bag will shimmer everywhere you are in the dark, and dual-pockets on the back for easy access to tablets, kindles, and phones. 

The Dance 2 is the perfect example of fun sprinkled into Caraa’s designs and packs a ton of personality into its compact design. The soft and sporty spacer mesh exterior is cut right down the center by a hard metal zipper. Durable and waterproof, it is the perfect sporty “girl on the go” bag for anyone who appreciates functionality but doesn’t want to miss out on the fun.


The Dance Bag is available in black or gold luxury performance nylon with gold signature Caraa hardware and will ship in early November.

Dance 2 is available in Black with signature gold hardware or Azure Blue with signature gunmetal hardware and will ship 14 of October.

Hannah Hendler