48, funny, and extremely opinionated, Erica De Lima is a luxury fashion vlogger that prides herself in telling it like it is. Although she faces criticism for her unpopular purse opinions and unconventional sense of style, she doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon.
I first discovered her Youtube channel, EricasGirlyWorld, about a year and a half ago while I was searching for online bag reviews. At first glance she seemed to be another vlogger whose primary concern was promoting the pursuit of a glamorous lifestyle; however, the longer I watched her videos, the more I saw a woman with a refreshing approach towards a niche that can too often become bogged down by the strict beliefs of purists and gatekeepers.
I scrolled through her Instagram and I checked out her TikTok. More and more, I appreciated her playful personality and brazen video titles (such as Bags I Would Recommend to People I Hate and The Tackiest Sh!t I Own) and began to wonder what it’s like to talk to someone who seemed to have so much to say about the world of luxury fashion.
Luckily for me, Erica’s friendly nature isn’t fabricated to pull in views and after a short email exchange, she agreed to have a little chit-chat with me.
Here’s what she had to say:
“I have always been interested in luxury fashion,” she began. “I am originally from Brazil and I feel like ﹘culturally speaking﹘ we really like our designer labels. We like the good stuff! We like to live it up and really enjoy being able to fully experience life so even as a teenager, I always dreamed of owning a Louis Vuitton bag.”
Her desire wasn’t unlike many others, but it wasn’t until years later that she experienced the reality of trying to buy something as in-demand as an LV purse.
“After I came to the US I was a very poor college student living off of student loans, but when I graduated I decided to finally treat myself by buying my first Louis Vuitton bag,” she explained. “As a newbie, I didn’t know much about luxury goods so I remember going on eBay and I found a Louis Vuitton Ellipse Monogram bag that I absolutely loved. It was only $300 and the seller guaranteed it was authentic. At the time I was very naive so when I finally got it and realized it was fake, I was devastated!”
“Oof. That’s rough,” I replied with empathy, remembering my own teenage mistakes.
“Unfortunately, that was my first experience trying to buy a designer bag,” she admitted.
“I have actually kept it til this day as a funny memory and because I obviously can’t sell it to anybody else, but I was finally able to to get my first real bag after a year of working as a chemical engineer and receiving a bonus from my job,” she said proudly while holding up a Louis Vuitton Sac Retro with cherry blossom monogram print. “I will never get rid of it. It’s a symbol of my accomplishments.”
Now wiser to the handbag-buying game, Erica did what many of us do after getting our first authentic bag ﹘ she hungered for more.
“Originally I just wanted quantity. I wanted to walk into my closet and see a bunch of bags! However, now that I have been in the luxury community for 15 years I would rather have a few ultra-special bags than dozens of bags that are just okay. Now I just want things that are unique. It is really an evolution. You might start your journey one way but you will change over time.”
“True that,” I said while eyeballing the display of Birkins and Lady Diors behind her. “What about your collection? How long did it take you to get to this point?”
“I would buy one bag per year after I started my career and have built my collection over time as I became more financially stable, “ she explained. ”At the highest point, I had 40 bags, but I have greatly reduced my collection.”
“How many do you own now?“ I asked.
“35,” she chuckled.
So much for greatly reduced. A collection of that size is certainly the dream of many, but it comes with the responsibility of protecting every piece. I could see her efforts to keep everything organized and cared for, so what would happen if there was an emergency situation and she could only grab one? Surely she would go for her favorite but with multiple pieces from heritage brands such as Chanel, Dior, and Hermès, I can’t imagine it would be an easy choice.
“I love my Birkins and want to get more of them but they aren’t my favorite bags because they aren’t that practical for my lifestyle,” she began. “If my house was about to burn down and I could only grab one bag it would be my mini Kelly. It’s Epsom leather in the color Rose Extreme with gold hardware. It’s so special to me and I don’t think I would ever be able to get anything else like it.”
Fair enough. Hermès bags definitely aren’t as easy to come by. But I wondered how someone with such a purchase history could feel that anything from the brand was still out of their reach.
“Sometimes I wish Hermès was a bit more contemporary,” she confessed. “I get that they need to maintain a balance between classics and trends but sometimes it feels like they are a bit slow to come up with new things. If they had more youthful ready-to-wear pieces I wouldn’t have a problem meeting the purchasing quota, but there are only so many Clic H bracelets you can buy…”
Admittedly, it was a problem I will likely never know, but I understood her mild dissatisfaction. Surely someone as creative as Erica would find a way to make things work. After all, she had already publicly committed the ultimate sin of the luxury fashion world: she added a non-standard modification to her custom Birkin 35 by attaching a leather strap she bought from Etsy. Sure, it made the bag easier to carry but didn’t she know that what she had done was sacrilegious?
“If Hermès did finally offer a strap I would get it but since it doesn’t offer something that fits my needs, I am ok with making a change like that. I get that some people are purists and only want the Birkin to be presented in its original state. I respect that opinion but I want my bag to be useful for my everyday life. If I want to embellish it in some way, I am entitled to do that,“ she explained. “As a content creator, it’s my role to show novelty to my followers. To let them know they have options.”
Erica was unashamed and confident in her decisions. She regards her ability to work hard and to always be herself to be what brought her the success and prominence she has today.
“Last year I got to go to the Zuhair Murad couture fashion show in Paris. It was beautiful and like dream. It was an emotional experience for me because unlike many others in this community, I am not super rich or young or the perfect vision of beauty, but I am confident in who I am. It was a surreal experience and I cried at the end of the show because it was everything I had worked for.”
Despite her newfound notoriety, she still wanted me to know that things aren’t always as they seem when you mix luxury fashion with social media.
“Influencers’ lives are not fairy tales 24/7 filled with a million bags and constantly going to Dior and Chanel events. We are all humans. Sure, I have many beautiful bags but behind the scenes, I still scrub my own toilet and clean my cat’s litter box. I came from nothing and I work hard for my money. It didn’t happen overnight,” she said. “We all like nice things but don’t ever let luxury make you feel bad about yourself. Don’t ever sacrifice yourself for it.”
Well said, Erica.