Style The Attainable It Bag? A New Generation of Designers Are Crafting Coveted Handbags for All
This Duffle Bag Has Multiple Pockets and a Laundry Bag to Make Travel a Breeze, and It's on Sale at Nordstrom
Water-resistant fabric and supportive shoulder straps? Yes, pleaseIf your summer vacation is coming up quickly, you'll definitely want to take advantage of all of the recently marked down Dagne Dover travel bags at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale — before they sell out.
Anyone who found themselves caught up in the It bag craze of the early 2000s remembers it well: As, , and 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.”
This Convertible Purse Will Keep Your Smartphone, Credit Cards, and Small Essentials Secure While Traveling
It’s from a brand where Meghan Markle shops.No packing list is complete without a travel purse. But if you're trying to travel light, opting for your rigid tote or your bulky shoulder bag won't necessarily allow for a comfortable, hassle-free journey. And while clutches and wristlets are a more compact option, they often leave you with limited space and unreliable designs that make you vulnerable to pickpockets. When it comes to masterfully carrying just the essentials like your smartphone and wallet, you'll want to go for something sleek and versatile, like the Cuyana Phone Bag, a multipurpose purse that's equal parts stylish and functional.
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. 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 ofClemens’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.
The Longchamp Backpack That's 'Perfect for Travel' Is 34% Off at Nordstrom
The luxe bag can be yours for $93 as part of the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. And if backpacks aren't quite your style, you can also shop a variety of Longchamp bags on sale right now, including an expandable zippered tote, which is on sale for 23 percent off, and a luxe leather version of the classic Le Pliage tote, which is $187 off. Love a great deal? Sign up for our T+L Recommends newsletter and we'll send you our favorite travel products each week.
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.
Metabolic syndrome: Green tea extract improves intestinal health
© ISTOCK Metabolic syndrome: Green tea extract improves intestinal health Green tea is renowned for its many health benefits. A recent study by the University of Ohio claims that it could also decrease the risks linked to metabolic syndrome, such as intestinal inflammation and blood sugar. Metabolic syndrome brings together a set of physiological signs such as abdominal fat, hypertension, intestinal inflammation or too high blood sugar.
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.
Here's How the Béis Mini Weekender Held Up as a Personal-Item Carry-On Bag
I've been traveling domestically more than ever, whether it's visiting family and friends or exploring a city or a beach on my bucket list. I'm a newly minted frequent flyer who's always on the hunt for the cheapest flight options. That usually means flying no-frills options like Spirit Airlines and Frontier or getting basic economy seating. Airlines are charging a pretty penny for carry-on luggage and checked bags, so I became determined to find the best personal-item carry-on bags, since it's the only bag we can carry that's free of extra costs.
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.
The Timeless Leather Tote Bag Meghan Markle Carries Has a New Look, and It's Replacing All My Other Bags
The bag’s name says it all — it’s an easy tote.I'm the kind of person that owns one too many handbags and still doesn't have a favorite. (Anyone else?) I'm guilty of buying more canvas totes than one person could possibly need and stocking up on cute, (maybe) too-tiny bags because, well, I just can't resist them. In-between all these impulse purchases, I still haven't found the bag — you know, the one that just looks good with anything and can hold everything I need — but now that's changed thanks to Cuyana's latest launch.
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.”
The "Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" Cast Stepped Out in Style For the London Premiere .
Prequels are having a moment.