Rae Nicoletti of HOZEN, Vegan Accessories Designer
HOZEN was born in 2018 from a deeply rooted commitment to respecting and protecting the planet. The brainchild of designer Rae Nicoletti, who studied hand leatherwork at San Francisco’s Amblard Leather Atelier under Hermés master artisan Beatrice Amblard, the vegan accessory brand remains guided by a simple philosophy as it evolves: Doing good can—and should—look as incredible as it feels. Ultimately, HOZEN represents a peaceful rebellion against the harsh realities of the leather and fashion industries, bringing form, function, and fairness together as one.
HOZEN accessories are crafted from eco-friendly, plant-based leathers, post-consumer recycled plastic zippers and thread; natural rubber and remnant rope; recycled cotton labels; and recycled paper packaging and hang tags—all of it sourced from factories around the world with high standards of ethics, responsibility, and governance. Each piece is made in small batches at a fair wage factory in Los Angeles, and, in line with HOZEN's commitment to recognize individual makers, comes with a card featuring the smiling face of the artisan who crafted it.
How would you describe your personal style? What et Tigre pieces have you been gravitating to lately?
At the core, I’m a prep, but I do love street style and always gravitate towards ugly, chunky shoes. I’m a big fan of et Tigre’s unique, irreverent design details. My current obsession is the Yang Dress.
You’re currently revolutionizing the handbag market with your bags made up of vegan leather and recycled materials! What ultimately made you decide to start your own business?
Aw, thanks. As consumers, we’re used to having options. When I became vegan and started seeking vegan fashion, there was limited variety. I saw potential in adding a line with a new aesthetic and vibe and added transparency and a mission.
Your pieces are incredible! Can you give us a glimpse into the creative process of designing a new bag?
I tend to start with the material since this is the center of our collections. We put a lot of time and effort into sourcing the most innovative and best quality vegan leathers and notions in the market. It’s a lengthy process to source, so we need to make sure that the styles work for the materials, not the other way around.
Do you have any advice for others striving to start their own handbag business?
There is space for everyone! It’s a crowded segment, though. If you’re drawn to this category, be very clear with yourself on why. Be sure to communicate that to your audience. They will sense your passion, vision, and vibe and be more inclined to get on board.
What do you believe is the future of sustainable fashion?
Such an exciting topic. More vegan fashion for sure. And I love the upcycling movement. Let’s make use of what already exists.
Follow on IG!: @hozencollection