Come Out, Come Out, Where Ever You Are
Anyone can buy an expensive purse – we know all the logo’d names of the high end purse designers – Gucci, Coach, Louis Vuitton, those carried by the perfectly coifed women in the grocery store. But to have real style, you need to look past those big C’s and G’s emblazoned on leather and find your true style with a handbag from an independent handbag designer. But where do you look? How do you find the next up and coming handbag designer that’s going to be the next darling of the fashion design world?
They’re out there, waiting to be discovered, and we’ve sniffed them out. We’ve found some major talent in the design world in upscale boutiques, small independently owned shops and there are quite a few waiting-to-hit-the-big-time independent fashion designers lurking online. We’re sharing some of our favorite handbag designers and sites that showcase their talents with you.
“Luxury… with the world in mind” is the motto of Muratori designs and it defines their mission of producing high quality designer handbags that are both beautiful and environmentally conscious. Julie and Todd Berard launched Muratori, named after Julie’s grandmother, to do more than just design beautiful handbags though. Their dream was to produce luxurious high fashion handbags that were sensitive to the environment as well. By design they wanted to satisfy today’s customer who wants it all – style, environmental sensitivity and ethical business practices.
Muratori handbags are carried by the finest boutiques in Seattle, Washington, Muratori’s home base, and range in price from $800 – $1,000. They can also be found online at Endless.com
Brahmin is a family-owned handbag company that operates out of Fairhaven, Massachusetts. The company was started in 1982 and has a reputation for making fashionable handbags that define a timeless style. The classic style of a Brahmin bag is its trademark. And that style will run you about $200 to $500 smackers.
Laura Neadle – Obi-Saks
A handbag doesn’t have to be expensive to be stylish, and Laura Neadle is just the handbag designer to prove it. She makes each bag herself using a variety of fabrics, many in the paisley pattern, and adds a funky touch with recycled belts to decorate the flap and use as a strap. Her designs range from $45 – $100 and she currently sells online via Etsy and plans to branch out with home parties to get her purses out to the public.
Rebecca Minkoff is just 26 years old and started designing clothing at 18. She began with her signature Morning After Bag in 2004. Her bags are handmade of Italian leather in her current hometown of New York City. Her handbags have taken off and she now has six collections with over 20 different styles ranging in price from $200 – $800. Her designs can be found on www.endless.com, as well as boutiques, Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdales
Alice Huang was born in Taiwan and raised in the United States. Her handbag line, MeiVintage, is vintage inspired with a mix of Asian culture with her use of kimono fabric remnants. Her funky styles range in price from $90 – $300 and are currently found on Etsy
TrashDesignManufactury of Austria produces cutting edge designs from the recycled parts of electronics and other consumer goods. Magdelena Holler began TrashDesigns as a social worker with a grant from the government to reintegrate displaced, long-term unemployed workers and the disabled. Their products are offered throughout Europe and the handbags are all individual works of art showcasing the ultimate in recycling, repurposing and reusing that’s all the rage in the fashion and interior design world. Their handbags are uber-modern, ranging in price from $100 – $250.
Elaina Schyb creates limited collections twice per year and her handbags are of leather and fabric, with each bag having a little bonus included – a separate wristlet that can be converted and worn separate from the bag as a bracelet, a matching keychain or an eye-catching design placed on it for a conversation starter. She began selling her self-designed handbags at local fairs in Chicago, and she can be found on Etsy. Her offerings range in price from $25 – $180, and can also be found in select Chicago boutiques.
Sylka – Karie Sylvester
Karie Sylvester had been a fashion designer for over 10 years when she began designing her own bags. Her brand, Sylka fuses modern structural forms, traditional vintage styling details and innovative construction techniques to create a unique look. All pieces are specially handcrafted by herself and a small team in the UK using quality cow hide, lamb leathers, rare vintage fabrics and metal trims. They range in price from $100 – $450 and can be found on www.sylka.co.uk.
Janes Kreations – Jane Staniewicz
Knitting ain’t just for grannies and spinster aunts anymore, it’s become downright stylish. Jane Staniewicz uses hand dyed yarns and is a one person operation. Her way-too-cute clutches and handbags featuring bamboo or felted straps range in price from $50 – $175. The embellishments and personally selected linings bring some bling to the classic arts of felting and knitting. Jane’s offerings are sold through her website, Janes Kreations.
Not Just a Label is a website showcasing the up and coming fashion designers of today and nurturing the upcoming talents of tomorrow. The website prides itself on providing an outlet for talent to blossom; a place where visionaries meet collaborators dedicated to the creative spirit of fashion.
The platform targets recent design school graduates and avant-garde fashion designers, providing a stage where they can showcase their collections online. Several designers have already been discovered by the press and recruited by well known retailers and prestigious fashion houses through their website.