Independent handbag designs propel new fashion trends – WWD


A new wave of independent New York-based designs are helping to drive handbag trends across the United States. Many forward-thinking young shoppers seek to mark their outfits with a niche business card that connects them to a movement, design personality, or larger aesthetic. While in the pre-pandemic years this often meant a shoe or t-shirt, the bag is once again coming into the limelight as a preeminent signifier of taste.

Following the immense success of Telfar handbags, there is a full and fresh range of styles that speak to niche fashion trends and youth culture. Luar’s new Ana top-handle bag; Brandon Blackwood’s wide range of colorful tote bags; The clever Lady Puppets and Puppets bag with a resin cookie; Coming of Age, also known as COA, has functional tote bags made from prim satins; Vaquera’s upcoming launch in musical instrument-inspired handbags and leather tote bags SC103 are among the new styles under $ 500 that shoppers are turning to.

Amanda Lurie, the Brooklyn-based designer behind COA and Williamsburg’s bustling new boutique Tangerine, feels the return to bags has something to do with the way young people dress in the in the wake of the work-from-home culture.

Her line of conveniently shaped, tote silk gingham bags blurs the line between casual and picky – a sort of tension that, stylistically speaking, can be a signature of New York’s more artistic types.

“People buy bags and I personally think it’s because they dress in a more casual and comfortable way. They wear sneakers and Birkenstocks or an easy shoe like flip flops with a tank top and jeans, so a trendy bag is what people are spending the most money on right now. Now when someone is carrying a bag, my eye goes, ”said Lurie, whose models all sell for under $ 350.

COA XL Gingham Silk Tote
Courtesy / COA

Designer Luar Raul Lopez showcased the new Ana bag design during his brand’s Spring 2022 runway show and launched it on his website in October. Within months, it has become something of a calling card for many at the intersection of art and fashion – spotted by the handle at Art Basel Miami in December.

“I think bags are a new way of dressing,” Lopez said of the category. “A lot of men and women took the whole shoe to dress or undress with shoes and carried it in a bag. A bag just replaced that – now I can carry a bag with everything, get dressed and have fun.

Lopez felt it was time to jump into the handbag category, sensing women were about to start reallocating their purchasing budgets from “It” shoes to handbags once the restrictions were cut. pandemics lifted. According to a study released by the NPD Group, this is exactly what is happening, especially with small shoulder strap styles like the new Ana de Luar.

As Brandon Blackwood continues to grow his own business after selling over half a million bags in two years, SC103 struggles to keep its iconic leather tote bags in stock at stores like Tangerine, Stand Up Comedy and Nordstrom. . Vaquera is launching a range of bags inspired by musical instrument cases as part of its spring 2022 line, and Puppets and Puppets is moving forward with its humorous and somewhat surreal approach to handbag design.

Puppet designer Carly Mark launched the brand’s first bag – a squat top-handle style with a resin chocolate chip cookie attached to the front – on Ssense in the midst of the pandemic. They sold out within weeks.

“During the pandemic, I think people felt the pressure to support independent designers and stores. There was this push to support the community, ”she said. “I come from an artistic background so I think [our bag consumers] in general, they are creative people who love humor and aren’t afraid to show it off in their everyday outfits.

While the cookie bag was early in development in the months leading up to the pandemic, the lockdown experience reinforced Mark’s intuition that independent bag designs would become more important in the seasons to come.

“I think I noticed him because of Telfar, he really started it,” she said. “Seeing an independent designer make a bag for a good price and how exciting it is for the community that loves and follows a brand makes so much sense. “


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