2019 INDEPENDENT HANDBAG AWARDS
The 13th annual Independent Handbag Awards are happening this Wednesday! This year I had the honor of helping to select the finalists.
With over 2000 handbags submissions from around the globe, we had to judge them using vey specific categories:
1- MACY’S Retail Handbag: This bag had to be designed with the Macy's customer in mind. Macy's define their customers as fashionable, fun, and deeply connected to their families and communities.
2-NINE WEST Cult Belt Bag- The Cult Belt Bag Inspired by Nine West’s theme was “a creative way to design a Waist Bag for day to night use”. Designers are required to submit ONLY a sketch that can be done by hand or computer software!
3-The COTERIE Best Handbag in Overall Style and Design- This bag is the best executed handbag overall in style and design meaning it is ready to go to market!
4-The AIMEE KESTENBERG "Self-Love" Inspired Handbag is a Crossbody designed handbag inspired by Personal Empowerment, Effortless Style and the Journey to Self-Love. Designers were required to submit a sketch that can be done by hand or computer software. The Crossbody bog design had to be inspired by Personal Empowerment, Effortless Style and the Journey to Self-Love, had to be as uniquely Functional as it is Fashionable and incorporate the casual yet elevated vibe of the Aimee Kestenberg brand DNA. Lastly, it had to include something unexpected! And they were!
5- BELLA MAGAZINE AUDIENCE FAN Favorite picked by Bella mag readers! This was a chance to vote for YOUR favorite indie bag!
6-The BROTHER Best Handmade Handbag submissions had to be made with any material where the designer is making their bag by sewing machine or by hand. Manufactured or factory made bags were NOT allowed. I thought this was a challenging criteria and was impressed by the creativity of the submissions.
7-The HARRIAN Best Student Made Handbag was the category for students who have successfully started their handbag lines while still in school. See, its never too soon or too late to start. JUST START!
8-The PINATEX Best Green Handbag - Pinatex is a natural leather alternative made from cellulose fibres extracted from pineapple leaves. Bags for this category had to be made of sustainable, recycled or organic materials including: organic cotton, hemp, bamboo, cork, fabric, soda bottles, vinyl, corn based fibers, cotton, linen, ramie, seaweed, silk, or soy.
9-The GLOBAL GOODS PARTNER MAGAZINE Most Socially Responsible Handbag was an inspiring category. As the future of fashion moves more towards sustainability, it was exciting to see all of the manufacturing possibilities.
This category required bags to be made in a country where the proceeds are given back to the country of manufacturing or the people that are employed to manufacture the handbags to better their lives and/or their living conditions. @globalgoods
Prizes ranged from internships, mentorship, strategy sessions, partnerships, a 10x10 booth in 2019 or 2020 in the COTERIE marketplace with full marketing and promotion. Winner will also receive a mentorship with Hilldun, a brand consultancy with the Accessory Think Tank and more!
The beauty of the Independent Handbag Awards is that this kind of access and visibility to and from established industry professionals can radically change a designers professional life.
Non-legacy brands have to consistently create, execute and maintain innovative, creative, and laser-focused marketing strategies to carve out their place on the retail world. This awards helps them get the attention, direction and assistance they need to grow their brand.
If you are a handbag designer or know of one, I would suggest they follow and submit to this awards. Yes, winning the IDHA is phenomenal but it’s not solely about winning. It is also about the valuable access and feedback from experienced, connected fashion industry professionals.
Thank you Emily Blumenthal for creating this necessary platform for young designers and thank you for inviting me to lend my expertise to the judging process!