You can never have too many handbags – or at least that’s the motto I’m going for. Over the years, I have collected a multitude of bags of different sizes, shapes, colors and prices. Even the ultra-tiny micro bags that can barely hold my keys.
But as my collector hobby progressed, I started to really think about what it means to intentionally buy when it comes to accessories. Stepping out into the world with a pretty handbag in hand builds confidence, but when it also comes from a black designer whose values match mine, something as mundane as a trip to the grocery store becomes a deeply personal experience.
My dive into finding Black-owned bags started with well-known brands like Telfar and Brandon Blackwood, and expanded as I became more familiar with other designers. These findings were largely due to following Instagram accounts dedicated to sharing black-owned businesses and brands, such as @blackownedeverything, @betonblackowned and @ 15pourcentpledge.
Black representation in fashion remains a area with possibility of improvement for the industry – especially in the handbag realm – but in the meantime there is always room to celebrate and embrace black designers who To do to exist. These designers are experimenting with different textures and silhouettes and making their bags accessible either through their own websites or through big retailers like Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s and Saks Fifth Avenue.
Many black designers also use their platforms to share thoughtful messages, advocate for social justice issues, and give back to their communities, and several are included in the non-exhaustive list below.
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Max + Min
Money and Riley
Year of homage