“I always dreamed of having my own fashion brand, but never expected it to happen like this,” says designer Kimberly Cignarella. In early 2021, when she was no longer at her design job in Manhattan, she sought to reinvent herself. “My husband was very encouraging, reminding me that this time at home was a perfect opportunity to focus my energy on realizing my dream.”
Armed with a degree in apparel design and 11 years of New York City ready-to-wear design experience, she was eager to create something new. “But at the time, nobody was going out or buying nice clothing, so I didn’t know what I was going to design,” Cignarella says. “Then a light bulb literally went on when I thought about the possibility of creating a handbag with built-in lighting to help fashion-forward women stand out in a crowd.”
Using her childhood nickname, KIM CIG, she designed her first collection of illuminated acrylic totes and clutches. The lineup, introduced in May, includes the classic tote in clear crystal, black, neon pink and neon green, as well as the classic clutch in clear crystal, black and diamond- patterned acrylic. The luxury handbags retail for $798–$898.
Although Cignarella says the Diamond Tote collection is her go-to, she predicts the neon green will be especially hot for summer.
Each KIM CIG bag is gift boxed with a USB-to-lightning cable and a privacy pouch to mask the personal contents of one’s bag. Also available are purse chains and accessories in various finishes and lengths. Each bag weighs about 3 pounds and has a battery life of up to 18 hours.
“LED glowing technology makes these special-occasion bags the star attraction at any event. Because they’re illuminated and transparent, it’s easy to find what you’re searching for,” Cignarella says.
“You’re not going to take this bag food shopping,” the East Hanover resident says with a smile. “Whenever I go out to dinner, all heads turn as I walk through the restaurant with my illuminated bag. Everybody loves this light-up handbag because it’s a fun conversation starter.”
Cignarella hints that other styles will also be available at kimcig.com by year end. Just for fun, she’s also developed a tube of KIM CIG lip gloss that lights up when it’s opened.