LIC's Clara Kasavina is art you wear
by Andrew Pavia
May 29, 2013 | 4156 views | 0 0 comments | 871 871 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The workshop of Clara Kasavina
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Clara Kasavina and husband Misha Berger decided on Long Island City as the place to launch their fashion business after they outgrew their first workspace: their kitchen.

This husband-and-wife duo relies on the creativity of Kasavina and the craftsmanship of Berger to create unique pieces of jewelry, bags and other accessories.

While they still refer to it as a “small business,” Clara Kasavina products have been worn by stars such as Rhianna, Jamie Lynn Sigler and Beyonce.

The two are originally from the former Soviet Union and were introduced by their parents in the United Stated. At the time, Kasavina was a computer programmer and Berger was an out-of-work model maker who needed to make ends meet.

“This is when I realized that he can do something that not everyone can. If you can’t find a job, let’s go into business together,” Kasavina recalls telling her husband.

Belt buckles replaced the fine china on their kitchen table, and as Berger worked on his craft, Kasavina called retailers.

“Every door practically opened for us,” she said.

Once they began to make some noise in the fashion industry a contractor agreed to work with them. However,

They began working with a contractor who eventually quit because the intense creativity made them “hard to deal with,” said Kasavina.

That was when the two made their way to Long Island City, with offices and a small showcase in the front and a factory in the back where the hand-crafted pieces are made.

Clara Kasavina was the recipient of the 5th Annual Independent Designer Handbag Award of 2011, and was nominated for best use of Swarovski elements in 2010.

When asked about the growing trends taking over Long Island City, the two said that they were pleased with the direction the neighborhood is going.

“We are surrounded by artists, even in our building,” Kasavina said. “And I feel that we are one of the companies that are contributing to this movement.”

Berger said that local legislators and the mayor should work on legislation that would make Long Island City a tax-free zone for small businesses.

“Especially for people like small artists who are renting little rooms and are scrambling for money to pay rent,” Berger said. “It’s not easy for those people.”

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