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Downtown store specializes in 'designer-inspired' handbags

Diva Accessories owner Tami Davidson held two designer-style handbags next to each other in a quick compare-and-contrast experiment.

One had a trademark Coach “C” weaved into the golden brown fabric. The other had an emblem that resembled an omega sign.

“The difference is $855,” she chirped. “This one is equally gorgeous.”

Though Merced is hundreds of miles from major metropolitan boutiques, local residents can buy designer-inspired — not knockoff — purses for a fraction of the cost.

Copycat purses are illegal because they replicate what models carry as they strut down the catwalk. On the other hand, Davidson said her purses, usually about $50 and $75, are legal because they draw their style from leading designers, which hawk the latest bags for up to $8,000.

Davidson, who shoulders a $900 Coach bag as well as the ones she stocks, opened Diva Accessories Jan. 4 on Main Street as a way to bring the latest fashion and styles to Mercedians.

Besides purses, she stocks jewelry, leggings and tops for hitting the town. “Women just go crazy for this stuff,” she said. “It makes you feel good and pretty.”

Before opening this shop, she ran a local bridal shop with her late-father for 16 years, before selling it.The licensed real estate agent decided to open the fashion store after buying houses went out of style, and she needed a plan B to make ends meet.

Read the full story in Wednesday's Merced Sun-Star.