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Style The Attainable It Bag? A New Generation of Designers Are Crafting Coveted Handbags for All

02:33  12 august  2022
02:33  12 august  2022 Source:   vogue.com

This Duffle Bag Has Multiple Pockets and a Laundry Bag to Make Travel a Breeze, and It's on Sale at Nordstrom

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Anyone who found themselves caught up in the It bag craze of the early 2000s remembers it well: As Chloé Paddingtons, Fendi Spys, and Dior Saddle Bags suddenly eclipsed heels and luxury denim as fashion’s key status symbols, handbags were elevated from mere accessories to iconic emblems of cool—when you could get your hands on one, that is. Brooklyn-based designer Brandon Blackwood, then at Bard College, carted around Balenciaga’s whipstitch-laden Le Dix while taking neuroscience classes and interning at the fashion magazine Nylon.

“I’d come from a strict Jamaican household in New York where you either became a doctor or a lawyer,” Blackwood, now 30, says, “but I was drawn to accessories—and bags were always that one thing you could have, even if you didn’t have a ton of cash—you’d save up for it.”

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Coming of age just as outré pieces like the Paddington were replaced by the stealth-wealth of minimalist totes like those created by Phoebe Philo during her tenure at Céline, Blackwood witnessed the It bag’s first transformation—and has become instrumental in its second wave, along with designers like Telfar Clemens, Raul Lopez of Luar, Desiree Kleinen of Ree Projects, and Brother Vellies’s Aurora James. Issues like social justice, sustainability, and the desire to support local communities are now guiding principles for a new generation of young Black designers across the diaspora seizing their moment—and capturing the industry’s attention—by creating eye-catching and evocative handbags.

The success of Telfar Clemens’s logo-​covered Shopping Bag, the viral hit of 2020, kick-started a movement. Playfully dubbed the “Bushwick Birkin” and smartly priced at just under $300 in a range of limited-edition sizes and materials via online drops, it created a template for success when it debuted on Clemens’s fall 2014 runway: For emerging talents to compete with established names, they needed variety, a competitive price, and a message. The straightforward tote with an embossed TC was familiar; what set it apart was Clemens’s idea that access to great pieces shouldn’t be limited by the boundaries set by gender, race, or class.

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Now designers are taking those ideas a step further, using their brands to hammer home messages about inclusion and sustainability. “One of the reasons I wanted to work in fashion was its powerful platform,” says Amsterdam-based Kleinen, who founded her handcrafted bag line, Ree Projects, in 2016. “Whether you have a small business or a big one, you must build consciously.” For the Karl Lagerfeld and Faith Connexion alum, that meant utilizing a strict production policy to reduce the company’s carbon footprint. “We source locally in Italy, and only work with zero-impact leathers,” says Kleinen.

Of course, there’s more than one way to be mission-driven. Blackwood, who launched his eponymous line in 2015, hit the big leagues with the ESR, a petite, boxy top-handle bearing the phrase end systemic racism in gold-tone hardware. Conceived just as the Black Lives Matter movement was coming into prominence, the ESR bag served as the designer’s mission statement. “How do we support our people?” he asks. “Millennial and Gen Z consumers aren’t interested in an ad on a billboard.” The purse went viral in the summer of 2020—particularly after Kim Kardashian shared snapshots of her pastel version, selling out on Blackwood’s e-commerce site and prompting orders from major retailers. “Now you’re seeing this community spring up around us,” he says.

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Whether they’re building a robust social following or utilizing the talents of local artisans, today’s designers are creating a sense of interconnectedness that’s key to the creative process. “I love that we’re in the community,” says James, whose Brother Vellies line has been crafted by Kenyan artisans since its inception. “Yes, we’re creating the brand’s narrative—but there is also the idea of an unshakable bond that’s reinforced by using these natural materials and honing in on what connects us as individuals.”

A shoe girl at heart, James began brainstorming a bag range after some prodding from Diane von Furstenberg. “I was in the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund in 2015, and Diane said to me, ‘You have to do a handbag,’ ” says James. “She wasn’t asking; she was telling me—but the more I thought about it, the more interesting it became. I’d never considered myself a bag person and hadn’t found anything that resonated with me.” What James didn’t know worked in her favor, as she didn’t feel penned in by familiar shapes or old ideas. Indeed, pieces like the Lijadu—a shoulder bag elevated by the addition of carved wood links—seem wholly original.

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The connection between cultural heritage and design can lead to highly personal work. Raul Lopez launched his cult-favorite Ana bag on the site of his label, Luar, after it debuted on the arm of stars like Dua Lipa and Troye Sivan. A curvaceous mini purse with retro flair, it provided pricey finishes—faux python and ostrich leather—at just $265 while nodding to Lopez’s Dominican roots. “A bag needs a unique shape and a real story behind it,” explains the Hood by Air alum. “The shape of the handle is an homage to my grandmother—it’s from the ’50s and ’60s, a super mod aesthetic—while the body is aesthetically related to the briefcases of the ’80s and ’90s in homage to my mom.”

Similarly, each of Kleinen’s bags is named after a woman who left an impact on her life—including the sculptural, folded-and-tucked Ann tote, which has proven to be a hit on both coasts. “It’s interesting to see how people wear it on the streets—how a bag can communicate so much,” says Kleinen. “I’m a BIPOC designer, and my team is diverse; every campaign we do features models of different backgrounds, but there is so much work that needs to be done—and I want to be a part of this global discussion.”

Much of that conversation has occurred online, where social media users respond to conscious creativity and founders are unabashed about sharing their inner worlds. “People can relate to us,” says Lopez. “We come from the same walks of life.” Blackwood, who has experienced the ups and downs that come with the captive audience of Instagram or TikTok, has learned to make the attention work for him. “I have a very vocal customer base,” he says, “and in the beginning, it hurt when someone would tell me that they didn’t like a color, but I’ve learned to love it—I would be doing myself a huge disservice by not listening to them.” Now Blackwood crowdsources opinions on everything from color stories to capsule collections.

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The internet, of course, has been remaking fashion in its image for years, but it isn’t the sole measure of success—and while scoring a viral hit is nice, it doesn’t ensure long-term relevance. “Unfortunately, you don’t see many Black legacy brands,” says Blackwood. “I want to expand so that we can assert our presence—and not just in bags; I have so much more creativity to explore.”

Amid the focus on working sustainably and amplifying social issues, designers have abandoned one of the It bag’s former hallmarks: exclusivity. In the aughts, the gatekeeper mentality of “investment piece” brands like Hermès trickled down to trendier fare. These days, the idea that only a select few can afford your bags feels downright passé. “We trained women to feel they needed to save up tons of money to spend on logos everyone recognizes,” says James. “In my generation, that was a big part of how women were taught to dress with relevancy, but I’ve always thought of our products as a whistle to like-minded people, like members of a club. They represent our ability as women—especially women of color—to speak and be free, which ultimately is the largest luxury.”

Brother Vellies

  The Attainable It Bag? A New Generation of Designers Are Crafting Coveted Handbags for All © Provided by Vogue

Brother Vellies Lijadu croc-embossed leather shoulder bag

$1295.00, SAKS FIFTH AVENUE

These Furniture Pieces Are Perfect For Dorm Rooms and Small Spaces

  These Furniture Pieces Are Perfect For Dorm Rooms and Small Spaces Moving into your first dorm or apartment can be scary and overwhelming. One easy way you can make it feel more like home is by investing in your own decor and furniture pieces. Sure, it's great to decorate your space with home products that feel true to you and your design style. But what's even cooler is investing in products that are practical, space-saving, and stylish - allowing you to really make the most of your home living space, all while maintaining your own design aesthetic, in the process. As it turns out, there's a huge market for space-saving furniture products. And to help you find the best of the best for moving in - whether that's to a dorm, your first apartment, or even a compact home - we did the hard work and uncovered the top furniture finds the internet has to offer. Not only are these choices great to look at, but they'll also help you to expand the available space in your home. Ahead, you can shop our 14 favorite picks of the year. From futon beds with extra storage to fold-up chairs for guests, no doubt these will upgrade even the tiniest of spaces. So, what are you waiting for? Hurry and snag these finds to create your dream oasis today.

  The Attainable It Bag? A New Generation of Designers Are Crafting Coveted Handbags for All © Provided by Vogue

Brother Vellies Nile metallic leather top-handle bag

$995.00, NORDSTROM

  The Attainable It Bag? A New Generation of Designers Are Crafting Coveted Handbags for All © Provided by Vogue

Brother Vellies Lijadu animal-print genuine calf hair shoulder bag

$1495.00, NORDSTROM

  The Attainable It Bag? A New Generation of Designers Are Crafting Coveted Handbags for All © Provided by Vogue

Brother Vellies Lijadu croc-embossed leather shoulder bag

$1295.00, SAKS FIFTH AVENUE

The "Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" Cast Stepped Out in Style For the London Premiere

  The Prequels are having a moment.

Luar

  The Attainable It Bag? A New Generation of Designers Are Crafting Coveted Handbags for All © Provided by Vogue

Luar Ana mini smooth leather top-handle bag

$265.00, NORDSTROM

  The Attainable It Bag? A New Generation of Designers Are Crafting Coveted Handbags for All © Provided by Vogue

Opening Ceremony x Luar snakeskin embossed Ana mini bag

$265.00, OPENING CEREMONY

  The Attainable It Bag? A New Generation of Designers Are Crafting Coveted Handbags for All © Provided by Vogue

Luar white embossed small Ana bag

$265.00, LUAR

  The Attainable It Bag? A New Generation of Designers Are Crafting Coveted Handbags for All © Provided by Vogue

Luar brown small Ana graphic top-handle bag

$265.00, SSENSE

Ree Projects

  The Attainable It Bag? A New Generation of Designers Are Crafting Coveted Handbags for All © Provided by Vogue

Ree Projects Helene mini leather tote bag

$595.00, NEIMAN MARCUS

  The Attainable It Bag? A New Generation of Designers Are Crafting Coveted Handbags for All © Provided by Vogue

Ree Projects medium Wyn soft twist leather shoulder bag

$750.00, NORDSTROM

  The Attainable It Bag? A New Generation of Designers Are Crafting Coveted Handbags for All © Provided by Vogue

Ree Projects medium Ann leather tote

$725.00, NORDSTROM

  The Attainable It Bag? A New Generation of Designers Are Crafting Coveted Handbags for All © Provided by Vogue

Ree Projects Helene East-West leather mini hobo bag

$495.00, NEIMAN MARCUS

Brandon Blackwood

  The Attainable It Bag? A New Generation of Designers Are Crafting Coveted Handbags for All © Provided by Vogue

Brandon Blackwood Arlen bag in purple

$250.00, BRANDON BLACKWOOD

  The Attainable It Bag? A New Generation of Designers Are Crafting Coveted Handbags for All © Provided by Vogue

Brandon Blackwood Kuei bag in chocolate brown croc

$220.00, BRANDON BLACKWOOD

  The Attainable It Bag? A New Generation of Designers Are Crafting Coveted Handbags for All © Provided by Vogue

Brandon Blackwood Arlen bag

$175.00, SHOPBOP

  The Attainable It Bag? A New Generation of Designers Are Crafting Coveted Handbags for All © Provided by Vogue

Brandon Blackwood Syl bag in light blue sapphire crystal

$350.00, BRANDON BLACKWOOD

Telfar

  The Attainable It Bag? A New Generation of Designers Are Crafting Coveted Handbags for All © Provided by Vogue

Telfar small cobalt shopping bag

$150.00, TELFAR

  The Attainable It Bag? A New Generation of Designers Are Crafting Coveted Handbags for All © Provided by Vogue

Eastpak x Telfar medium shopper nylon bag

$221.00, LUISA VIA ROMA

  The Attainable It Bag? A New Generation of Designers Are Crafting Coveted Handbags for All © Provided by Vogue

Telfar medium duffle

$390.00, TELFAR

  The Attainable It Bag? A New Generation of Designers Are Crafting Coveted Handbags for All © Provided by Vogue

Telfar large highlighter green shopping bag

$275.00, TELFAR

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The "Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" Cast Stepped Out in Style For the London Premiere .
Prequels are having a moment.

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