There is currently an influx of under-the-radar handbag brands entering the market. So much so that keeping up with the latest and greatest could be considered a full-time job. On social media, our timelines are constantly inundated with new designers. After some reflection, it's clear that of the names currently dominating the category, more than a handful of them are Black owned.
We covered New York–based designer Brandon Blackwood's rapid expansion last October, and in the months following, the brand has continued to skyrocket to popularity. The bags have shown up on the likes of Kristin Davis in the new Sex and the City reboot series, And Just Like That. In the same vein, Telfar is upping the ante of its highly coveted shopping tote (see also: the Bushwick Birkin) by collaborating with brands like UGG to create remixes of the always-sold-out design. In terms of newcomers on the block, Black Fashion Fair darling Homage Year is on track to have this season's next new It bag, offering shoppers a unique new shape.
For those who are ready to welcome a new style into their lineup, just ahead is a complete rundown of the Black-owned handbag brands dominating the space in 2022, plus a well-curated offering of product selects for your perusal.
Fans of BFF alum Only Made's mismatched jewelry designs will appreciate the understated elegance of the brand's debut handbag design. Skillfully crafted from black leather, the Rowe mini features a half-moon shape and a subtle braided detail across the shoulder strap. All you need is one look at the founder's Instagram page to get a feel for the level of craftsmanship and dedication that went into making what's bound to be your next favorite everyday bag.
If you have yet to be introduced to Vavvoune's (pronounced vav-une) sleek handbags, then it's time to get acquainted. The compact styles on offer were created by Brooklyn-based designer Valerie Blaise and are made with hints of nostalgia, functionality, and energy in mind. The brand works closely with local craftsmen and women in New York's Garment District to ensure top-notch quality.
In just a few short years, in the middle of a pandemic, no less, Brandon Blackwood's eponymous label has skyrocketed to notoriety. The handbag designer who went viral for his buzzy, ESR (End Systemic Racism) totes has since expanded his offering to include a little bit of everything. From the signature Kendrick trunk to the '90s-inspired Syl shoulder bag, each new style comes in a range of sizes, colorways, and materials. Celebrities and other A-listers have also taken interest in the brand, with names like Jessica Alba and Winnie Harlow as famous fans.
Anima Iris designs colorful leather handbags that are, as stated in its Instagram bio, #BeyoncéApproved. Instantly recognized by its geometric silhouettes, each one of the brand's designs is hand-made entirely in Africa. However, the brand itself was founded in Philadelphia by Wilglory Tanjong. Some if its most popular silhouettes include the hexagon-shaped Zuri and the braid-detailed Zaya bags.
Those who keep up with the latest brands to go viral on social media have more than likely come across Homage Year's colorful designs. Founded in 2014 by Antoine Manning, the brand is available in a rainbow assortment of colorways, with each ovular silhouette fit with two front bubble pockets and a cutout handle at the top. Each bag also comes with an adjustable shoulder strap for ease of carry. Exclusive colorways can be found at the likes of Saks Fifth Avenue and BlackFashionFair.com.
If you're in the market for new labels to add to your collection, emerging label Land'd should be on your radar. Based in Atlanta, it was founded by Devin Landers (hence the name) and offers a small-batch collection of rectangular leather shoulder bags that are defined by their slouchy '90s vibe and subtle kiss-lock fastening. Also on offer is the Didi tote with long, curly Mongolian shearling. Each style is priced just under $300, making quality a bit more accessible.
In an effort to help the Haitian community long-term, all of Petit Kouraj's totes are produced locally. Founder Nasrin Jean-Baptiste draws inspiration from her family's roots to create a lineup of colorful netted shoppers. Detailed with fringe and beaded shells as accents, each style may have a distinct vibe that's great for vacation, but they all leverage elements of the country's rich culture.
At this point, designer Telfar Clemens's namesake label has become a household name. Its logo-stamped faux leather tote catapulted into popularity after it was so accurately dubbed the Bushwick Birkin. Today, the shopping bag is almost always sold out and has been reworked and reimagined, thanks to the help of brands like UGG and Moose Knuckles. It's also worth signing up for the brand's 24-hour all-access TV channel, which is just one example of its innovative marketing techniques.
CISE first grabbed the attention of the masses with its Protect Black Women bags that were everywhere in 2020. Today, the L.A-based company is expanding its core lineup to include a selection of leather styles, including its Sterlo cross-body that features an obscure take on its logo. Not to mention, the brand has a long list of A-list fans, like singer Tinashe and Black-ish star Marsai Martin, who posted a picture on Instagram wearing one of CISE's designs.
Brooklyn-based Ashya is the brand you look to for function-forward pieces that are also wildly stylish. Between its structured leather passport carriers and multi-compartment belt and body bags, each item is designed with wearability in mind. It was announced earlier this month that the label would be partnering with iconic American designer Michael Kors to create a selection of limited-edition bags for the brand's 40th anniversary.
EDAS designs with the eclectic woman in mind. From leather aprons meant to be worn over your outfit for added dimension to brightly colored shoulder bags with complementary accents, the brand has a lot to offer. Each style is created by founder Sade Mims in Brooklyn, whose focus is creating your new everyday staple. But considering EDAS been picked up by luxury retailers Farfetch and Selfridges, it's only a matter of time before they become the next big It brand.
Every well-dressed woman needs a woven straw tote in their wardrobe and AAKS designs have more than enough options. Handcrafted by artisans in Africa with sustainable elements, the colorful carryalls are available for purchase at Nordstrom, too, for those hoping to snag one of the well-made pieces ahead of their next warm-weather vacation where the sturdy design will come in handy.