When Christine Doherty graduated in 2005 from East Syracuse-Minoa High School, her next move took her straight to Syracuse University to pursue a degree in fashion design. There, Doherty discovered that creating purses is her passion. Using buttons and prints, Doherty creates unusual designs that keep her work not only personal -- but one of a kind.
"I make some funky little stitches. I like fraying, raw edges," she said. "I like doing detail work. They're very subtle but enough for me that I feel they make a statement without being too powerful."
Inspired by her mom and grandmother, her dream to become a designer began decades ago: "Since I played with Barbies," she said and laughed, recalling how she would pin outfits on her dolls using items such as earrings.
"My grandmother was actually an upholstery seamstress, so I inherited all her old materials from the 60s and 70s, that she used to do couches in," Doherty said. "So that's what really got me started on the purses and prints."
Doherty sells her Bohemian-style bags, ideal for students and teachers, at modest rates, contingent on the materials used and length of time they take to complete.
"For me, sewing's very easy," she said. "Within three hours, I can get one and a half purses done depending on the style of bag."
Just this summer, Doherty found herself alongside others with the same fashion ardor working as an intern for Elie Tahari, an international designer of men and women's clothing.
"Incredible. Absolutely wonderful," Doherty said of her experience. "I worked in Men's Design and [in the] color department so I actually got to help pick colors for next season's collection."
While she hopes to return to the Big Apple upon graduation in June, she is open to other possibilities.
"[NYC] would be the dream spot for me but anything can happen," she said. "So I'm keeping that in mind."